Published March 12, 2020


NORTH READING — In addition to all he does for the community through his position as Public Access Coordinator at NORCAM, Philip J. Healy has been offering a free monthly film series, called Cinematic Conversations, in the community activity room at the Flint Memorial Library for nearly two years, screening a wide variety of films by directors as diverse as the Coen brothers, Sidney Lumet, David O. Russell and Alfred Hitchcock.

With these films, Healy brings in Boston-area critics and film experts to lead discussions, introducing the films as well as taking questions afterwards. Guests have included Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr, WBUR film critic Sean Burns, academics from local colleges and universities, and other film and cinema professionals.

The next Cinematic Conversation will take place next Monday, March 16 at 7 p.m. This month, Healy will be presenting “The Man I Married,” made in 1940, with Joan Bennett.

“Normally it’s held the third Tuesday of the month, but it got bumped because of crazy scheduling at the library,” Healy explained.

A FREE screening of “The Man I Married” is the featured presentation at the next Cinematic Conversation, hosted by NORCAM’s Phil Healy at the Flint Memorial Library on Monday, March 16. (Courtesy Photo)

Mystery, film and literature author Dr. Sharon Yang will be next week’s presenter.

When asked why she choose this particular film, Yang explained that the movie was produced by Walter Wanger in 1940 to wake up people to the dangers of Fascism in Nazi Germany as well as the rest of the world. She said Wanger wanted everyone to pull their heads out of the sand to see that what happened in Europe was immoral and society had a responsibility to deal with it.

Even more importantly, according to Yang, Wanger “was trying to wake Americans up to the fact that this kind of vicious and oppressive political philosophy is a danger to everyone; we aren’t immune to its dangers, even in America. I see this movie as an important warning to us today – a film to make us think about where we can end up if we’re not careful.”

Yang suggests that we need to be more like Joan Bennett in this film and kick Nazis when they threaten us and our fellow humans.

Although Dr. Yang insists this movie isn’t really a “film noir,” she believes that film noir challenges the complacent acceptance of society’s rules and forces us to face the corruption in not only the social structure but in ourselves.

“I think much of the cynicism of noir reflects our jaded view of society’s rules now. It gives voice to challenges of racism, misogyny, materialism and conformity. Still, I love the smart-talking gals who are so savvy and vital to uncovering the truth,” she said.

Yang said that in noir women aren’t split into only two categories of vapid innocent or femme fatale. The fast-talking heroine shows that women can be gutsy and smart without being “fallen.”

“In many ways, the heroine of ‘The Man I Married’ becomes just this sort of woman who can see clearly and speak the truth,” she said.

“The idea behind this (series) was just to give the people of North Reading a free screening of some interesting movies that they normally wouldn’t see and with a cinematic sherpa, in the form of a Greater-Boston area film critic, to lead them down that path,” Healy said. “We wanted people to watch something interesting and engage in a real discussion. Whatever the movie inspired, we’d talk about it.”

“The biggest pleasure I get from hosting these series of screenings is that someone will see something they normally wouldn’t choose or know about. I want to get cinephiles and closeted cinephiles alike!” Healy added.

Healy is glad to take suggestions for future screenings. Send your suggestions to him by email at: or by phone: 978-664-0501.