INSIDE BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY
New name, theme for annual cinema series
By : Eric Coker
Nine films representing the broad range of cinema.
Introductions from University faculty members.
And a new name.
The coming attractions for Harpur Cinema’s new season represent a desire to bring the annual film series to a wider audience, said Joyce Jesionowski, a Cinema Department lecturer who is serving as series programmer.
“We wanted to refresh the notion of Harpur Cinema,” she said. “We wanted to bring it prominently back into view again.”
Changing the name from Harpur Film Society was just one step in trying to connect more film fans to the series. Another step was taken when the former student programmer moved on.
“One thing we thought might be interesting and useful was to bring it back under the (direction) of the Cinema Department faculty so that it more clearly represents what we think cinema is here as an audience subject and an art form,” Jesionowski said.
Jesionowski’s theme for the season is “Before and After.” The films to be shown suggest precedents that current films have drawn inspiration from. Fans of Quentin Tarantino works such Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill will be interested in seeing Seijun Suzuki’s 1967 gangster film Branded to Kill. Those who enjoyed the Judd Apatow comedy Knocked Up can look for parallels in the 1944 Preston Sturges film The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek.
“We have some things from cinema history, like Metropolis, and we have international cinema and American cinema represented,” Jesionowski said. “We’re trying to reach out to different audiences, maintain the quality of our programming and retain our international and independent scope.”
Jesionowski said she developed the theme while thinking about Twilight, the popular Stephanie Meyer vampire book series that has been made into a box-office hit. The second film in the series, New Moon, hits theaters Nov. 20.
“One of my first thoughts was just the phrase Before Twilight,” she said. “And before Twilight, there was Nosferatu (from 1929) and Shadow of the Vampire (2000), which talks about the making of Nosferatu. So I thought, ‘Boy, there’s the perfect Halloween double bill.’”
Also new this season are the film introductions from faculty members, which showcase the “Harpur” in Harpur Cinema. For example, Dora Polachek, visiting associate professor of romance languages and literatures, will introduce the 2008 French film Les Amours d’Astree & de Celedon on Oct. 9, while Tom McDonough, associate professor of art history, will discuss Les Plages d’Agnes on Nov. 20.
Cinema students are also active in publicizing the season, Jesionowski said. They sold passes during University Fest and will help at the box office and work as projectionists at the shows.
Jesionowski, who came to the University in 2008 and specializes in early cinema, said she is especially pleased to bring a silent classic such as Metropolis (1927) to campus. She hopes someday to show a silent film on campus with live, instrumental accompaniment.
“I’d be very happy to bring Harpur Cinema up on the radar of people who have not noticed it before,” she said. “I want to retain our loyal audience, make this a student event and broaden their interest in cinema, particularly when it comes to international cinema.
“I think anyone who buys a fall season pass will really have an interesting mix of cinematic experiences.”
Sept. 25 and 27: Before Terminator Salvation: Metropolis
Oct. 2 and 4: Before Kill Bill: Branded to Kill
Oct. 9 and 11: After the New Wave: Les Amours d’Astree & de Celedon
Oct. 16 and 18: Special children’s program: Azur et Asmar (Oct. 18 showing at 2 p.m.)
Oct. 30 and Nov. 1: Before Twilight: Nosferatu and Shadow of the Vampire
Nov. 6 and 8: After Hitchcock: La Fille Coupee en Deux
Nov. 13 and 15: Before Knocked Up: The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek
Nov. 20 and 23: After the New Wave: Les Plages d’Agnes
Films are shown at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Sundays in LH-6. Tickets are $4 for single admission. Membership is $22 for a season pass; $20 for students and senior citizens.