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Weekend planner: Film

“Physical abuse, insults and threats, school bus rides that resemble scenes from ‘Lord of the Flies’ — it’s painful viewing, but necessary. Catharsis often involves going to dark places.”

So writes the Minneapolis Star Tribune about “Bully,” the 2011 film by Lee Hirsch, who, himself a victim of bullying as a child, decided to make a documentary to bring the hidden lives of bullied children into the open. The film follows five kids and families over the course of a school year — including two families who lost children to suicide — peering into homes, classrooms, cafeterias and principals’ offices and offering insights into a form of brutality that often goes unchecked by administrators, law enforcement, parents or other adults in authority.

The Weinstein Company originally released the film unrated (in order to avoid an R rating ordered by MPAA for a couple of F bombs), making it difficult to find in theaters. Helping to remedy the situation, Pothole Pictures and Mohawk Trail Regional High School are co-sponsoring screenings Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 in Shelburne Falls’ Memorial Hall. A community discussion about bullying in the schools will follow the Saturday screening and will include comments by the film’s producer, Cynthia Lowen, an Amherst native, who will also be signing copies of her new book “The Essential Guide to Bullying.”

Admission is $6 adults, $4 students. Memorial Hall at 51 Bridge St. in Shelburne Falls. 625-2896.

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