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7 p.m. Friday, September 8, 2023

Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus, Albany NY 12203

 See map.

(United States, 1997, 114 minutes, color, Rated R) Directed by Paul Schrader.

Starring Nick Nolte, Sissy Spacek, James Coburn, and Willem Dafoe.

Based on the novel by Russell Banks, "Affliction" is a sobering, absorbing psychological study of the precarious relationship between an abusive father and his two sons. Wade Whitehouse (Nick Nolte) is a middle-aged ineffectual sheriff in a small New Hampshire town, where he and his brother, Rolfe (Willem Dafoe), were raised. When events shatter the quiet of his small town, Wade is forced to confront the past and reexamine his life, attempting a reconciliation with his abusive, alcoholic dad, Glen (James Coburn), by moving back home to look after him.


This quietly intense, haunting, and beautifully filmed story unfolds against the harsh snow-white backdrop of a town where everyone knows each other. But more than anything, it is the brilliant performances of its cast that mark this film.

Join us on Saturday, Sept. 23 at the 6th Annual Albany Book Festival for a tribute to the late Russell Banks, major American novelist, who died January 7, 2023.

A dear friend of the New York State Writers Institute, Russell was a beloved member of the American literary community. The tribute will feature William Kennedy, Annie Proulx, Nell Irvin Painter, Dan Halpern, Paul Auster, Siri Hustvedt, Andre Dubus III, Jennifer Haigh, and more.

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From the critics

"... [Nick Nolte] gives the performance of his career in Paul Schrader's quietly stunning new film [...] Like "The Sweet Hereafter, a more meditative and elegant but less immediate, volcanic film, Affliction finds the deeper meaning in an all too believable tragedy." 

Janet Maslin in The New York Times

"Nolte, who won the New York Film Critics and National Society of Film Critics awards for "Affliction," has never been better. He has played angry blue-collar men like Wade before, but never so heartbreakingly and never in material as deeply felt... There's something in Banks' cautionary tale, though, with its tragedy, its atavistic emotion and its urge for healing, that releases a new passion and urgency in the director's work. Schrader seems to understand these characters implicitly, and the result is probably the best film he has directed. Edward Guthmann in The San Francisco Chronicle

"Schrader’s self-effacing direction allows ample room for his performers to stretch (and they repay him with a half-dozen superb ensemble scenes). This raw, troubling movie isn’t anyone’s idea of a Christmas tree but it illuminates the darkness anyway—Affliction radiates with humility." J. Hoberman in The Village Voice

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