Oh, Falling In Love Again (With Movies)

The camera pans out on an achromatic professor Rath, played by Emil Jannings, as he rests his head on an old desk. Before him, are the empty desks of the class he used to teach. His face is caked in egg, faded clown make-up and a loosened rubber nose. The screen blackens, “The End,” appears and the audience is left witness to the depth of human degradation and suffering.Last Tuesday, Dr. Ralph Pease resumed the weekly Foreign Film Festival he began last semester. He kicked off the semester with Josef von Sternberg’s, The Blue Angel; its conclusion described in the previous paragraph. I invite every interested student or faculty member of Sam Houston State University to attend in the coming weeks.The Film Festival will be showing every Tuesday this semester with showings at 3:30 p.m. and an encore at 7 p.m. It is being held within the Evans (English) building, room 105. All films are shown in their original language with English subtitles. Admission is free to all students and faculty of SHSU. This semester will feature such films as Rashomon by Akira Kurosawa and The Bicycle Thief by Vittorio de Sica. The line-up includes movies filmed in Germany, Spain, Sweden, Japan, Italy, France and Mexico. All of the films to be shown were influential to the development of cinema and as Dr. Pease put it, “On virtually every film critic’s top movie lists.”Last semester, I was an avid fan of the film series, and look forward to returning. The Blue Angel, as well as many of the other films shown last semester, beautifully conveys something of the human experience without anything lost in their translation. Conversely, I find that modern cinema is rarely able to inspire anything other than cheap laughter and cheaper gore for shock value. Even if your eventual field of work will not directly require extensive knowledge of foreign films, this is an invaluable experience. Few of these films will be available at your hometown’s Blockbuster, and even fewer in Huntsville. More importantly, they are shown on a theatre-sized screen, the medium they were intended for.The influences that shaped these films and impacts they had are important to any English, History, Theatre or Visual Arts major. Those in other studies might have entirely different reasons for appreciating them. One of the movies shown might be the esoteric topic brought up at your future interviews, business meetings or client lunches. If you can’t make time or are uninterested, tell your friends about it, or invite them to go with you. It is not an opportunity worth wasting.

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