For the student that loves films, spends their days constantly spewing off movie quotes and whose daily vocabulary includes “Have you seen…?” or “I don’t want to spoil it for you but…” there is a new club on campus to fulfill their cinematic obsession.
Cinematheque is a club based on film viewings and discussions. Sam Brunclik ’19, Sarah Freyermuth ’19 and Elijah Viola ’19 founded the club. The three students brought the idea to Assistant Professor of English and Film Studies Linda Mokdad. The three told her about their desire for a club where they could sit around and talk about movies. They wanted a club dedicated to the film studies aspect. Mokdad was all for it.
“I’m very excited for it,” Mokdad said. “I think this is a major step to produce a greater film culture at St. Olaf. The club will augment students’ thinking about films beyond entertainment.”
Cinematheque will have film viewings every other Thursday. To accommodate for a wide variety of film tastes, Cinematheque will be showing a many different film genres. Their movie list includes both modern and old movies, black-and-white films and color films. They will show Oscar-nominated movies and experimental films spanning from foreign to domestic.
The goal of the organization is to screen films that appeal to everyone – from adventure to horror to romance to documentary. The club is also open to viewing suggestions from the audience.
A group discussion will follow each film viewing. The discussion won’t simply include opinions, it will also touch on the critical elements of film. Group members will exchange ideas about camerawork, narrative, plot and mise-en-scene. One does not have to know what any of those words mean to enjoy the discussion. Part of Cinematheque’s mission statement is to spread awareness to the student body about films, so the post-movie discussions will inform students and push film knowledge to a new level. Many of the films on the list are classics, appearing in daily conversations. Others offer social commentary and spark conversations that need to be had. There’s a benefit to being able to be a part of those conversations.
For example, this past week Cinematheque watched “Hunger,” a serious film about an Irish Republican Army inmate’s hunger strike. It criticizes the government and its treatment of civil policy and basic human rights. Movies such as “Hunger” bring criticisms like these to the foreground. Eventually Cinematheque will start an online film journal and continue the conversation with the public.
This conversation is meant for anyone and everyone. Brunclik is a chemistry major who found his passion in film. Film concentrators and non-film concentrators alike can enjoy the film viewings together. Watching with peers gives an immersive experience.
“Films were meant to be watched with groups of people – that’s why they put them in movie theaters. Just having the experience of watching them on the big screen gives you a different experience than watching it on a laptop,” Brunclik said.
Students can expect to get out of the experience what they want to put into it. For those who desire to engross themselves in a cinematic experience or just want to get some more checks on their movie bucket list, Cinematheque is the perfect club.
Cinematheque will be showing films in Dittmann, Tomson or Viking Theater every other Thursday.