Class offerings help inform Cornell Cinema’s lineup

When Mary Fessenden, Cornell Cinema director, considers which films to show each semester, part of the process includes consulting with professors to find ties to the classes they’re offering.

This semester, one of those professors was Andrew Campana, assistant professor of Asian studies, who is sending students from his Japanese Pop Culture class (ASIAN 2260) to see three movies.

“In my course, one of the big questions is why and how Japanese pop culture – comics, games and especially anime – grew into such a worldwide phenomenon,” Campana said. “Showing massively popular and influential animated films like ‘Castle in the Sky,’ ‘Ghost in the Shell’ and ‘Your Name’ in the theater, the way most people would have seen them, is by far the best way to re-create that initial impact felt by their audiences across the globe.”

Fessenden receives requests from faculty all across campus – from history to development sociology to plant pathology – in addition to letting instructors know about upcoming films they may want to use for their courses. She then begins the process of putting together the semester’s schedule.

Students in Thinking about History with the Manson Murders (HIST 1850), taught by Claudia Verhoeven, associate professor of history, will see three films at Cornell Cinema this semester, including an April 29 screening of Quentin Tarantino’s 2019 “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” which won Academy Awards for best supporting actor (Brad Pitt) and for production design.

Students saw “Easy Rider” on Feb. 10, and will see “Charlie Says” – with an appearance by screenwriter Guinevere Turner to discuss the film – on March 9.

Students in horticulture and plant pathology classes also have the opportunity to earn credit by going to the movies. Screenings of “Fantastic Fungi,” as well as three films from a gardening series – “The Biggest Little Farm,” “Five Seasons” and “The Garden” – are tied to courses in those fields. The Garden Cinema series, which includes seven films, is co-sponsored by the Cornell Botanic Gardens.

Sending students to attend screenings is even easier for faculty this year, with the addition of the cinema’s All-Access Pass, which offers admission to all regularly priced movies for the academic year for one fee: $10 for Cornell graduate and professional students; $20 for all other students and children; and $30 for general admission.

The passes have been a hit this year, with more than 2,000 sold so far, Fessenden said.

Other highlights at Cornell Cinema:

Steamboat Bill Jr.”, Feb. 15, 2 p.m. and “The Wheels of Chance,” Feb. 15, 4:30 p.m.: These silent films will be accompanied by Philip Carli, who has toured extensively as a film accompanist throughout North America and Europe.

The Golem,” March 4, 7:15 p.m.: The film will be shown in a new digital restoration, with live accompaniment by guitarist Gary Lucas, reprising the score he wrote for the film more than 30 years ago.

Your Eyes Are Spectral Machines: Live Projector Performance,” March 20, 7 p.m.: This program consists of three projection performances by artist Luis Macías, co-founder of Crater Lab, an independent film development laboratory in Barcelona.

Kathy Hovis is a writer for the College of Arts and Sciences.

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