As part of the run up to the holiday period, the School of Media and Performing Arts staff usually put on a screening of a film or films, as voted for by the undergraduate students. This tradition has extended from my own Level Five unit Critical Hollywood unit to now being made available to the entire SMPA (and actually CCI) cohort across graduate and undergraduate levels.
This last Christmas we showed the Joe Dante film: Gremlins (1984) and, (as in previous years, we included a relevant (surprise) supporting programme complemented the main choice of film.
These free events signal a chance to unwind and draw the term to a close in an informal fashion. And this also gives us a chance to use our purpose-built cinema, here in Eldon Building, taking full advantage of the excellent picture quality and sound system therein.
This year we extended this custom to signing off both semester two and marking the end of our consolidation period. Firstly, by showing the excellent Bobcat Goldthwaite documentary about the celebrated American satirical comedian Barry Crimmins, Call Me Lucky (2015), on March 31st.
And then secondly by chairing an evening of Star Wars-themed material to tie in with ‘May the Fourth Be With You’ Day, which was introduced by our own Dr. Lincoln Geraghty. Lincoln joined us straight from a raft of press interviews discussing with journalists across the country about the prominence of the highly-successful films in today’s contemporary culture.
In this well-supported event, Lincoln reinforced a very important point about looking past the generic aspects of the franchise and discussing how ‘hope’ is the theme that underpins the entire saga. A timeless concern, admittedly, but one that has deep resonance within today’s troubled global climate.
These screenings are all-important to us, as a reminder that studying at University isn’t just a pragmatic transaction or a set of scheduled obstacles to overcome. To the SMPA staff it is valuable to us to just be able to sit down with students, informally, and watch something without a specific ‘aim’ or an ‘outcome’. An event that can be an enjoyable way to present something that might appeal to students here at SMPA and one that can be set away from the pressures of studying.
Long may they continue!