Film Society Plans a “Thrilling” Year

By Alexa Schmidt, Staff Writer

The Film Society is back for its seventh year at Manhattan College. The club is led by advisor Margaret Toth, Ph.D, and co-presidents Marisha Washington and Max Whitwell. Washington, a junior, and Whitwell, a senior, both joined the club their sophomore year and both are English majors.

Every year, the club is guided by a theme that determines what movies will be shown throughout the year. This process has varied in the past, but student opinion has recently been taken into consideration.

Toth said, “We’ve taken two paths on this. For the first few years of the Society’s existence, faculty selected the theme. But for the past few years, students have generated a list of potential themes and then voted upon them. I like the latter method because students get more invested when they’ve determined the types of films we will watch. Students also generate and vote upon a slate of films that fall within the theme. Some previous themes have included alienation, coming of age and memory and identity. This year the Society decided to explore a genre instead of a theme: the Suspense Thriller.”

The club has multiple screenings throughout the year. So far, the club met for their first movie, “The Silence of the Lambs” on Thursday, Oct. 12. Toth listed some other films that will be shown later on.

“We plan to screen the following: ‘Murder on the Orient Express’, ‘Psycho’, ‘Strangers on a Train’, ‘Oldboy’, ‘Rosemary’s Baby’, and ‘Clue’. Marisa and Max are also hosting a double feature on Halloween of ‘Halloween’ (the original version) and ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’,” Toth said.

The main premise of the club is to attend the movie screenings and stay for the discussion afterwards. Whitwell and Washington are often the leaders of the discussions (other members of the club step in as leaders as well) and facilitate the conversation to make sure everyone gets involved. The subject matters depend on the movie and what the attendees think about it.

Whitwell said, “I led a discussion on ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ a couple weeks ago and I went over a couple of points beforehand and I was like okay, these are the things I thought were interesting, so that I’d actually have something to say. Some of it was part of the discussion but mostly what I did was sort of catalyze what other people said. And then you find that your role kind of shifts from giving people things to talk about and more like helping the other ideas that individuals have bounce off each other so that people keep having ideas.”

Washington added, “When we screened ‘The Silence of the Lambs’, it was my first time seeing it so I had no clue what to expect, but we asked, ‘what are some of the mystery/thriller aspects of the film?’ Like what made it such a popular movie and media in society right now, and why you think it won the major awards. We talk about little things that are important. So like the LGBT issues and matters in the film; how was that considered controversial back in the past when it first came out, and it were to be remade today, what difference would it make.”

Besides screening movies, the club has other activities in store. In the past, they’ve gone out to theaters and museums, but this year, they have something different in mind.

Washington said, “We’re planning to have script reading of some sort. We don’t know what script yet, but we’ll just have a bunch of people come in, assign roles, and just go through the whole thing and see how it works. We are planning a “bad movie” night, and we were thinking of another double feature. We’ll have an Oscar night party, and possible a director chat, with a filmmaker that Dr. Toth knows. Along the way we might have some other mini activities.”

The Film Society is not limited to just film students; anyone can become involved. Toth said, “It’s a great way for students to both learn and express their passion for cinema beyond the walls of the classroom.”

Their next meeting is on Halloween, Oct. 31.