Today is kind of a sad day for me. This column marks not only the end our time writing Cinefiles, but the end of our time as members of the prestigious Wesleyan Film Board. Participating in the programming of the always-stellar Film Series calendar has been the most humbling and enjoyable activity I have done here. Nothing has brought me as great a thrill as the elated audience participation at “Jurassic Park” or “Purple Rain” last semester. And then there was “2001.” We actually broke the seal on that print in our fine projection booth. Seeing a restored print—fresh off the optical printer—of a film of that caliber with an engaged, packed audience, ranks among my top moments at Wesleyan. That is what the Film Series has always been about to me – those awesome moments, with a responsive crowd of fellow students, when a film print being projected in our fine theater becomes something more, an event of sorts. It’s amazing, unique and totally reflective of what Wesleyan is all about. “Stop Making Sense?” I know many of you attend screenings regularly, so please continue to do that, bring your friends, and keep it alive. I mean, where else can you watch fucking “El Topo” on a Wednesday night? Seriously. We actually put on the best Film Series in the country, and let’s keep it that way! It’s truly been an honor.
It occurs to me, as I leave Wesleyan and as the new Film Board takes over this week, that the Film Series is something that not all students fully understand. The Film Series is a completely student-run organization, which – funded by the SBC, and with the kind assistance of Joan Miller and the Film Studies Department – programs four films on 35mm a week. The fact that it exists, that students are given the opportunity to program a cinema as fine as the one we have here, with prints on 35mm, seems almost too good to be true. It is one of the most amazing things that Wesleyan has to offer, and unfortunately, is so easy to take for granted. I want to take this opportunity to thank all the members of the Film Board (past and present), Joan, Marc, David, and the Film Studies Dept. for all of the hard work and thought they put into the calendar every year, every semester, every week.
I beg you, if you’re interested in movies, or if you just like them, go to the Film Series! If you love movies, join the Film Board! Keep this alive. Of all of my experiences at Wesleyan, being a part of the Film Board is the one that I will treasure most highly. The pleasure and the honor have been mine.
2008. USA. Dir: Gus Van Sant. With Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin. 128min.
Friday, March 27, 8 p.m. $5
One of the best films of 2008, it features Sean Penn’s Best Actor performance, Josh Brolin as a reserved psychopath, and Emile Hirsch actually engaging the audience. Definitely see this film. The blend of archival media with the dramatic is unparalleled. Van Sant has long been a revered modern filmmaker, and this film takes it to the next level. It’s a true and honest American portrait as well as a wrenching dramatic tale. If you missed this film, you have to see it.
THE GREAT DICTATOR
1940. USA. Dir: Charles Chaplin. With Chaplin, Paulette Goddard. 124 min.
Saturday, March 28, 8 p.m. Free
Known for his brilliant silent comedy, Chaplin made the transition to sound films with great success—not an easy task (think Keaton). A satire of Nazi Germany made before the USA entered the war, “The Great Dictator” was one of the most controversial films of its day when it was released. It remains one of Chaplin’s most revered and comedic films. His monologue toward the end of the film is absolutely incredible, and remains totally relevant to the state of world relations today. YouTube: “Chaplin speaks.”
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
2008. Sweden. Dir: Thomas Alfredson. With Kare Hedebrant, Lina Leanderson. 114 min.
Wednesday, April 1, 8 p.m. $5
This film could be described as a combined romance and horror film. The plot: a kid falls in love with a vampire chick who lives next door, but she’s crazy as shit. This is an art-house version of “Twilight” that’s actually a very good and visually beautiful film. Definitely don’t miss this one; all the hip kids in New York have seen it and they will make fun of you if you haven’t.
2006. China. Dir: Zhang Ke Jia. With Tao Zhoa, Zhou Lan. 111 min.
Thursday, April 2, 8 p.m. Free
This event is co-sponsored by the Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies and the Dean’s Office. In the aftermath of a terrible flood at Three Gorges Damn in China, “Still Life” follows a group of people trying to literally piece their lives back together. A stunning combination of detached realism and unexpected surrealism.