By Tawny Cataldo
Inspired by the cinematheques held every weekend while she was studying at New York University, Dr. Cynthia A. Lucia began holding cinematheques here at Rider when she was hired, as she felt they were an effective way to show students what she calls “essential films.”
It is no secret that certain films capture the imagination and move people in a way that nothing else can. These films are remembered, revered and watched over and over again, leaving an indelible mark on the world of film and possibly in mainstream popular culture. Rider University’s Cinematheque, which will be held tomorrow, Oct. 18, in Sweigart Auditorium, will show a few of these important films. All are invited to attend to enrich their film and cultural knowledge.
“These are films that I believe are important to see if you want to become ‘film-literate,’” said Lucia, a professor in the English Department in charge of the cinema studies concentration and the head of the film and media studies minor.
Cinematheque will show a variety of films spanning different genres, countries, decades and ideas, all of which have had some effect on cinema.
The first film being shown is Breathless, a movie directed by French director Jean-Luc Godard. Described by Lucia as “the quintessential French New Wave story,” this film tells the tale of Michel Poiccard, a petty criminal who becomes a murderer after stealing a car and killing the police officer who chases him. As the authorities slowly close in on him, he becomes romantically involved with a beautiful American college student.
Killer of Sheep, a movie directed by Charles Burnett, is a harsh and documentary-like depiction of the life of African-Americans in the Los Angeles ghetto of Watts during the mid-1970s. The film revolves around the main character, Stan, and his everyday life in this setting as well as his job at a slaughterhouse. Dubbed by Lucia as a “forgotten film,” it was rereleased earlier this year, which is one of the main reasons why it was picked to be shown at this Cinematheque.
After a lunch of pizza at a small cost, the classic Oscar-nominated Alfred Hitchcock thriller Vertigo will be shown. Jimmy Stewart fills the starring role as a detective who becomes involved in a murder case. As with many of Hitchcock’s films, this is an incredibly important and influential one.
The well-known Oscar-winning and revolutionary Roman Polanski film Rosemary’s Baby, starring Mia Farrow, was, according to Lucia, very important to the horror genre, as it took horror out of “haunted houses and castles” and set it in the ordinary life of a family in New York City. After moving into an apartment with a bad reputation, Rosemary begins noticing strange happenings and mysteriously becomes pregnant.
Finally, Orson Welles’ first film will end the evening. The Hearts of Age, a short film made when Welles was 19, shows the beginnings of the mind that would soon write and direct Citizen Kane, widely regarded as one of the greatest movies of all time.
For those who consider film to be a passion, these are indispensable, and a good way to take them all in is to attend Cinematheque. The program will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., including a lunch break.