Bethlehem, Pennsylvania residents star in film about their own history


For “Starstruck”, Hriniak does not play any specific historical character. She said Attie asked her to wear period attire and try to look as neutral as possible: “not smiling, not having any particular expression or emotion.”

Hriniak kept a straight face, but in her head she let her imagination run wild.

“What would a woman of the time think if she could come to Bethlehem today and see this? she thought. “How would she react?” Would she be proud? Would she be surprised at what she sees?

We’ll never know if a Moravian woman would approve of how the city she helped found through religious faith nearly three centuries ago evolved like Bethlehem, but, for Hriniak, being part of the film project was ” fantastic”.

“Shimon’s idea of ​​having the steel worker standing in the church, or having the nurse practitioner standing in front of the piles of steel, having these people in places where you don’t think that they would be… even if it doesn’t quite sound right to you, it’s all Bethlehem,” she said. “We’re all Bethlehem, and that’s our whole story.

This history of the city is in the interpreter’s DNA. The man who plays the steelworker, Vincent Doddy, comes from a long line of Bethlehem Steel workers: his two grandparents, his father, his uncles and his brother worked in the now closed factory .

Doddy himself never worked steel.

“My parents said, ‘Either you work for Bethlehem Steel or you work for Mack Trucks,” he said. “I studied international marketing in college, so I went to work for Mack Trucks.”

The rusty carcass of the old steelworks in Bethlehem recalls its industrial past. Its largest employers today include a hospital and a casino. (Emma Lee/WHY)

Doddy worked for Mack Truck for 38 years before retiring. He is now in the field of medical training.

In the film, Doddy appears in a chunky silver suit that makes him look like a bewildered alien investigating Bethlehem, but in fact the fireproof suit was said to have been worn by men working in the blast furnace, protecting the workers from sparks and heat. intense heat from casting. steel.

As with Hriniak, Attie told Doddy not to move for the camera. But the suit made that impossible.

“If you look at my face, it looks like I was in pain. Maybe because of the costume I was wearing. It was really cumbersome,” Doddy said.

Doddy couldn’t help but think of his family. His grandfather, also named Vincent, would likely have worn a similar costume.

“I channeled my grandfather,” he added. “I could imagine him working with these beams after they came out of the blast furnace. I imagined the job he had.

Doddy said the guest filmmaker “got it right”.

“What impressed me was how Shimon could visualize an artistic concept in his mind and initiate and direct normal people like me who identify with that concept,” he said. “It really was an amazing movie.”

“Starstruck: An American Tale” will remain on view at Lehigh University Art Galleries until December 3.


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