It’s that time of year. With finals coming around and all the snow clouds inching their way down from the North Pole, it feels like there are only 11 days left in the semester. Every word we write brings us a little bit closer to home. And every word our readers write in brings them one step closer to being crowned victor of the Cinefiles Half-Year Challenge. That’s right, as with every other credit-based class, the Cinefiles are having our own finals: Cinefinals. Luckily for you, you’ve got all break to send in your responses to this take-home test.

We wanted to rev your engines with a taste of the excellent work some readers have consistently been putting in throughout the year. Just look at Luke, or as we call him around Cinefiles HQ, “Fast Fingers” MacDonald. He’s been blazing through our questions, and right now it seems like he’s winning the race toward our end-of-the-year super-fan title. But everyone has their own pace, and it’s not too late to catch up for the half-year. Listen to this: For about a month we thought we’d lost him, but as it turns out, Fast Fingers was only giving his work-worn digits the R&R they needed to pull off one of the most impressive Hail Marys this column’s ever seen. Just last week, Luke took the initiative to respond to a month’s worth of columns in one compact email. We didn’t think it would work, but somehow, Fast Fingers can’t be stopped. Here’s a highlight from one of his emails:

In response to Nov. 8’s question “What’s on your mind?” Fast Fingers had this quick-witted reply: “my hat haha. just kidding . im listing to Howlin’ WOlf right now so im thinking about him. also im thinking about the hat im wearing that it not actually a hat at all, but a long sleeve shirt wrapped around my head.”

While you’re getting your own R&R this winter break, see how your chops stack up against the speedster himself with this semester’s two-part gauntlet. Send your answers to the questions below to to enter, and remember, sometimes fast fingers and an honest outlook or just a unique spin of your own are all it takes to strike gold in our humble corner of The Argus.

  1. In a major oversight, we forgot to announce that everybody’s favorite Big Red Bird (a.k.a. The Cardinal) finally found seven smiling hatchlings in its nest (which everybody knows is located in the final row of the Goldsmith Family Cinema)! As overjoyed as the Cardinal is, they’re also a bit stumped by the prospect of thinking up seven inspired names. What are the most appropriate names for these good-humored hatchlings, given that, by virtue of their nest’s location, each one seems destined for silver screen greatness?
  2. With the semester coming to a close, we want you to tell us about your favorite Film Series experience so far. Paint the scene!


“River of Grass”

  1. USA. Dir: Kelly Reichardt. With Lisa Bowman, Larry Fessenden. 76 min.

Wednesday, Dec. 7. 8 p.m. Free.

After being caught swimming in a stranger’s pool, Cozy and Lee’s botched escape sends them on the run through the Everglades, but Bonnie and Clyde they are not. Reichardt’s stylish debut is less a story of hot pursuit than a cool look at two unlikely partners who can’t seem to make it out of Florida.

“Fire at Sea (Fuocoammare)”

  1. Italy. Dir: Gianfranco Rosi. Documentary. 114 min.

Thursday, Dec. 8. 8 p.m. Free.

Rosi’s striking doc contrasts the perilous sea journeys of African migrants against the ordinary lives of the inhabitants of the Italian islands they land upon. Winner of the Golden Bear at Berlin, the film portrays the oft-tragic struggles of immigrants with lyrical beauty and humanism.

“The Shining”

  1. USA. Dir: Stanley Kubrick. With Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall. 144 min.

Friday, Dec. 9. 8 p.m. $5.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy All work and no play mmakes Jack a dull boy All work and no PLay m kes Jack a dull boy


  1. USA. Dir: Ernst Lubitsch. With Greta Garbo. 110 min.

Saturday, Dec. 10. 8 p.m. Free.

When three Soviet agents on a financing mission to Paris are delayed and swayed by the trappings of capitalism, a no-nonsense special envoy is sent to get the deal back on track. Despite her best efforts, she, too, is sidetracked by an even more insidious Parisian trick: l’amour. Garbo shines in this lighthearted screwball that laughs in the face of totalitarianism.

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