All films begin at 7:30 PM on the scheduled day, with discussion to follow.
Films are interesting because they involve creating an alternative “world” modeled off of the real world shared by the filmmaker and his audience. As a result, many films grapple with a variety of questions salient to modern students.
Our ability to analyze a film’s world correlates with the same critical faculties we use to contemplate and understand the everyday activities of the real world. Building on this connection between the created alternative and the real, the Windmoor Film Forum seeks to nurture students’ ability to analyze films and acquire a deeper understanding of the world in which we live.
The heart of the Windmoor Film Forum is its quest to discover what a film is “really about,” helping students to watch films in a more reflective way. Learning to watch films in this way affords students new opportunities for meaningful interactions with their friends and fellow students.
The Windmoor Film Forum discusses and analyzes films on selected evenings throughout the academic year.
The Forum begins with a short introduction of the important historical, cultural, and thematic features of the night’s film as well as some of its general contrasts with previous films discussed in the Forum.
After watching the film, the Forum concludes with an open discussion. Participants are encouraged to discuss the messages and meaning they find in the film’s composition and story, which helps everyone to understand more deeply the film they just saw. These discussions typically last no longer than an hour, but students are free to come and go as they wish.
We will watch the evolution of filmic representations of World War II from Casablanca to Saving Private Ryan, identifying different ways in which the aims of the war as well as the depiction of the Axis and Allies shift over time.
The theme for this year’s Film Forum is “Lost in Space.” We will view four films that revolve around this theme. Much like our previous exploration of the evolution of the “Western” genre, the films will be arranged chronologically so that we can see how the science fiction-space genre evolved over time.
The Great Director Series features a selection of films from some of cinema’s most influential filmmakers. The aim of this series is to introduce participants to the idea of “filmmaking” as a kind of profession, a profession that calls for a unique set of skills and standards of excellence. Over the course of the series, we will discuss the different ways in which each director showed his or her mastery of the skills required for filmmaking while at the same time making especially creative use of those skills in order to tell the kind of story the director wishes to tell. This means that we will discuss the thematic elements of the film as well as the ways in which they are given expression through the primary tools at the filmmaker’s disposal (e.g., camera shots and angles, pace, music, direction of actors, editing etc.). In doing so, participants should come to appreciate better the extent to which a filmmaker’s excellence as a storyteller requires an extraordinary breadth of technical prowess and ingenuity in the more mundane aspects of filmmaking.
The Western Film Forum features twelve films of the ‘Western’ genre. These films will be shown chronologically in order to show how the ‘Western’ genre evolved over time in response to changing cultural and historical circumstances—indeed, how it became a ‘genre’ upon which later ‘Western’ films could build upon and critique.
Focusing on one genre of film (the Western) allows participants to engage each film by being attentive to the way each filmmaker utilizes the cinematic and thematic features specific to that genre. In so doing, participants will be able to see how an analysis of the differences between each filmmaker’s methods of deploying these genre-specific tropes could help to reveal differences in the real story the filmmaker wants to tell his audience.
* Edited for general audiences.