Speakers Series: Frederick Marx - Rites of Passage

Frederick Marx
Public Events
Thursday, January 18, 2024 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Event registration ended at Thursday, January 18, 2024 7:00 pm.


The term “rites of passage” is used commonly in everyday speech. But nobody really knows what it means. There is no commonly accepted definition, much less agreed upon application. Marx will define and explain the rites of passage concept and talk about three of these passages using his own life and work as examples.

I’ve been studying, making films, writing books and blogs, and giving speeches about rites of passage now for almost 30 years. It started for me as an attempt to understand what makes for the successful transition for teen boys into mature adults. It grew from there into learning about all the major life transitions. Broadly speaking, there are two structural forms rites of passage can take. There are “social constructions” like the cultural traditions implemented by tightly knit communities between the eight stages of birth, childhood, puberty, adolescence, young adulthood, middle age, eldership, and death. There are also rites of passage that can arise at any age from the normal course of human events: the death of someone close, a terminal illness diagnosis, the challenge of “coming out” as GLBTQ, even moving to a new place or joining a new family. We just have to recognize that what’s typically referred to as rites of passage - like turning 18 or 21, taking a first drink or having first sex, learning to drive, voting for the first time or having a graduation - don’t carry the depth and consequence that community consecrated rites of passage do.

An Academy and Emmy nominated filmmaker, Frederick Marx, most known for HOOP DREAMS - named the Best Documentary of All Time by the International Documentary Association - has worked 45 years in the film and television business. His film JOURNEY FROM ZANSKAR features the Dalai Lama with narration by Richard Gere.

His five film mini-series VETERANS JOURNEY HOME is now complete and in worldwide distribution. Other recent works - the feature film THE UNSPOKEN, starring Harry Lennix and Sergei Shnirev, the documentary mini-series BOYS TO MEN? and RITES OF PASSAGE, all express deep concerns about teen boys realizing mature masculinity.

His books AT DEATH DO US PART, RITES TO A GOOD LIFE, and TURDS OF WISDOM have all recently been published. A Chicago Tribune Artist of the Year, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a recipient of a Robert F. Kennedy Special Achievement Award, you can find him at IMDB, Wikipedia and WarriorFilms.org.

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