Cinematic appetizer, discursive entrée

As I’ve mentioned countless times on here, I think very highly of UW’s Cinematheque; after all, it consistently offers us students the invaluable opportunity to experience a variety of films that most of us will likely never again be able to see projected on a big ol’ screen in a room full of relative strangers.

But, and this may or may not be implicit in my somewhat anal criticisms of WUD Film, the Cinematheque is not a replacement for a true student film society. Such an institution would consist of students interested in cinema working together to obtain a film, screen it for their peers and then hold some sort of post-screening reception, ideally with a substantial supply of locally produced refreshments; this would allow students to discuss the film they’ve just seen and collaboratively attempt to tease out some answers to the various questions posed by the film. There’s plenty of precedent for this type of organization, such as the influential and pervasive cine-club scene in Paris during the 1950s and 1960s.

I addressed the subject of post-film discussions in a few of my columns for the Badger Herald back in the day, and while I’m not as keen on my arguments now as I was then, I still think that my general thesis rings true: Most folks my age, even those who are fairly intellectually engaged (whatever that may entail), aren’t all that comfortable talking about a film immediately after seeing it, if ever. The cine-club model, in effect, teaches people less about how to think of cinema (because there simply isn’t an optimal method for doing so) and instead encourages people to talk about cinema in the first place, not to be afraid to take a position for or against a film, to articulate what they thought of a certain element of a film, etc.

Moreover, a student film society structured in this manner would give us yet another excuse to congregate, drink good beer and talk about stuff we all seem to like quite a bit. This sounds like a win-win-win, does it not?

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