Cinematic Classics Hit the Silver Screen…Again

Monday, October 29, 2007

Stepping into the already dimming movie theater, you scramble to an open seat in the first several rows. Getting comfortable, you dip your hand into your popcorn and look up at the screen to see the murky opening scene of…Jaws?

It's not as absurd as you think. Saint Joseph's has recently partnered with the Bala Theatre to present a film series in conjunction with the University's Major Figures in Cinema film class. Every Tuesday the Bala Theatre, located at 157 Bala Avenue, in Bala Cynwyd, shows a selected film from the works of Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola, concentrating on each director's output from 1974 through 1990. Saint Joseph's students receive free admission with their student ID, and admission for all others is only $5.

Deron Albright, assistant professor of film and video and teacher of the Major Figures in Cinema class, said the partnership adds a new dimension to movie-going experiences at Saint Joseph's.

"The intention is to provide a different experience than watching films at home, in a large classroom or in Campion's Forum Theatre, where we can project DVDs," he said.

Albright said that partnering with a corporate business gives the program an added boost, both in clout and in investment in the project.

"The big advantage with the theater on board is that they are able to order film prints and take care of the logistics that I as a one-person entity on campus just don't have the time to accomplish," said Albright.

Albright was approached by Clearview Cinemas about a possible partnership between the two institutions last spring. He saw the benefits of a relationship for the University, particularly synchronizing it with the Major Figures in Cinema class being offered this fall.

"We thought it would be logical to coordinate the film series with the class, and that it would provide a nice set of films that people probably hadn't seen before at a theater but were familiar with from DVD-viewing so that these films would have a built-in appeal," said Albright.

Plans are already in the works for a new film series next semester, and the possibility of a free film for students during freshman orientation is also being considered.

"The combination of space and facility that Saint Joseph's doesn't have and the accessibility to campus make the partnership worth pursuing," said Albright. "The idea is that this will be ongoing."

In addition to Jaws, students have viewed The Conversation and Taxi Driver at the Bala Theatre. Future films include Raging Bull, The Color Purple and Goodfellas, among others. The Film Club Series continues this Tuesday, Oct. 30, at 7 p.m., with Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now Redux.

--Dan Wisniewski '08

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