Filmmaker Julia Haslett Presents ‘An Encounter with Simone Weil’

Georgian Court University will screen An Encounter with Simone Weil Thursday, November 7 at 7:00 p.m. in the Little Theatre, located on the ground floor of the A&S building on GCU’s Lakewood campus. There is no cost to attend this event, but reservations are required. Filmmaker Julia Haslett will lead a discussion of the film following the screening.

Trailer: An Encounter With Simone Weil

An Encounter with Simone Weil tells the story of the French philosopher, activist, and mystic who lived from 1909 to 1943. Although she was raised a secular Jew, she was attracted to Catholicism as an adult and felt that she had divine, direct encounters with Christ. Weil, whose brief life is often the focus of research by theologians, philosophers, women’s studies experts and sociologists, identified so strongly with the poor and suffering that she died prematurely at age 34. The official cause—heart failure triggered by starvation and tuberculosis because Weil refused to eat any more food than that given to those suffering under the 1940s German occupation.

On her quest to understand Simone Weil, filmmaker Julia Haslett examines issues of moral responsibility in her own family and in society at large. Ultimately, the film, released in 2010, forces two questions: “What does it mean to be a compassionate human being?” and “How can each of us stand in solidarity with those who suffer?” (See the official synopsis at

In the decades since her death, Weil has been held up as a moral example—albeit extreme—of someone who could not sit idly by and witness the effects of violence, injustice and poverty. The GCU film screening is intended to provoke a reflection on how modern society faces and addresses struggle—from earthquake victims on the other side of the world to local neighbors still grappling with problems in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy.

Sponsored by the GCU Year of Faith, the screening is one of several reflective experiences that examine purpose and meaning in academic, career, vocation, and life choices—all in connection GCU’s Mercy core values. To make reservations, contact the GCU Office of Conferences & Special Events or call 732.987.2263 for details.

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