Film Society: “Taxi Driver”

by HALEY BURNSIDE, Staff Writer

There is only one club on campus that promises vampires, gangsters, and appearances by Scarlett Johansson. Thanks to the Manhattan College Film Society, a range of characters and scenes are projected in Hayden 100 for the viewing pleasure of any students who wish to join.

Already this semester the Film Society has brought two award-winning films to the screen. Both productions fit the society’s theme of the semester.

“The theme is alienation,” Margaret Toth, Ph.D., a professor of English and film studies at the college, said. “The student officers for Film Society choose the theme. Something that came up in the meeting is a lot of students are feeling disaffected and alienated because of things going on in society.” She went on to add, “If you look at the world right now in politics I think many students feel unable to connect with what’s going on which makes the theme so relevant.”

On Thursday evening the Film Society held its second screening, this one for the Martin Scorsese classic, “Taxi Driver.” The film, which stars Academy Award winner Robert De Niro, portrays alienation through the life of a young cab driver in New York City during the 1970’s. The brilliant and meticulous directing of Scorsese made this a landmark film.

Rocco Marinaccio, Ph.D., a professor in the English department at Manhattan College, led Thursday night’s screening. He introduced the film with his analysis of the themes and key points brought up by the story.

“I think that this film is perfect for the alienation theme, but it’s also important because it can be incredibly provocative” Marinaccio said. “I have my own interpretation of this film and I’m here to talk with you students to see what you notice and take away from this classic.”

Due to the lasting quality of the movie, many students in attendance of the screening had already seen it. Though some were new to “Taxi Driver,” and some were returning watchers, all students had contributions to a deep conversation following the screening.

In accordance with the Film Society’s established pattern, the conversation was led by the presenter, but open for all in attendance to join. Freshman to seniors, engineering majors and English majors alike shared thoughts and asked questions about topics ranging from the director’s intentions, the continuity of hairstyles and the significance of particular sound effects. This format allows for an interactive way of understanding and analyzing film.

For those searching for a place to revisit old cinematic classics, discover less widely-known films or to just listen to passionate discourse on the importance of film in the world today, the Film Society is where to go.

The next screening will take place in a week, where a student will present “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night,” a modern horror film. Later in the semester the Film Society plans to screen Wes Anderson’s “The Royal Tenenbaums.”