New fall DFS series ‘The Return’ highlights the theme of reunions
By Anisha Mohin, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Monday, September 10, 2012
The Dartmouth Film Society’s fall series, titled “The Return,” features 20 films that highlight the themes of homecoming and reunions, according to Alex Gerstein ’15, who collaborated with Abbie Kouzmanoff ’15 to create the series.
“With the Hopkins Center celebrating its 50th anniversary, it’s interesting to look at how the past meets the present,” Gerstein said.
The films that will be screened this fall all cover the topic of revisiting the past.
“I thought the timing was appropriate, what with everyone returning from the summer break,” he said. “I also thought it would tie in well with last winter’s series, ‘The End of Time’ series, which was all about apocalypses and downfalls.”
The series will feature a wide range of films, from Hollywood blockbusters like “The Dark Night Rises” (2012; screening Sept. 29) and “Prometheus” (2012; Sept. 22) to older classics like “Shadow of a Doubt” (1943; Oct. 5) and “The Godfather, Part II” (1974; Sept. 23).
“We very deliberately strive to include as many genres and foreign films as possible in a series,” Tien-Tien Jong ’10, director of the Dartmouth Film Society, said. “We try to present as diverse of a perspective on the series as possible, so we look for different ways of how returns and reunions and homecoming are represented in films.”
One of the films in the series, for instance, “Safety Not Guaranteed” (2012; Sept. 28), is a lighthearted comedy starring Aubrey Plaza from the hit series “Parks and Recreation.” It was inspired by a 1997 Backwoods Home magazine classified advertisement by a person asking for someone to accompany him in time travel.
In contrast, “Rififi” (1955; Sept. 30) is a French crime thriller about four con men who reunite one final time to execute the perfect heist. Jong recommended the movie be added to the series, Gerstein said.
Also playing in this series is “The Day He Arrives” (2012; Oct. 28), a Korean film directed by Hong-Sang Soo. The film has been described as a Korean “Groundhog Day” (1993; Sept. 21), according to Jong.
“It’s a dramatic comedy about a director who ends up in this very small town and finds out that he’s having a lot of deja vu over the course of three days,” she said. “For anyone who hasn’t seen Hong-Sang Soo’s work before, I really recommend checking out his stuff.”
Another highly anticipated foreign film is “Oslo, August 31st” (2012; Nov. 9), which features Anders Danielsen Lie as a recovering drug addict who is allowed to leave rehab for a day to go to the city. Reconnecting with his old friends and old haunts, however, presents a new challenge: continuing to stay clean when confronted with the past.
“‘Oslo, August 31st’ has been getting a ton of rave reviews from critics,” Gerstein said. “I’m really looking forward to watching it.”
The Dartmouth Film Society strives to also include recent documentary releases that fit the series’ theme. Jonathan Demme’s “Neil Young Journeys” (2012; Oct. 19), an acclaimed film that documents Young’s journey as he returns to his childhood home of Omemee, Ontario to prepare for a concert at Toronto’s Massey Hall, will also be screened. This is the final installment of Demme’s trilogy of Neil Young documentaries, according to Jong.
Many individuals collaborate to select the films that will be screened each term, according to Jong. The creator of the series brainstorms the initial idea and generates a list of films that fit the theme, she said. Members of the Dartmouth Film Society directorate then vote on which films to screen during the final meetings of the term.
“The Dartmouth Film Society is one of the only film societies on a college campus that allows so much student input,” Jong said.
The Dartmouth Film Society then works in conjunction with Bill Pence, the director of the Hopkins Center. Pence is the main booker for the Dartmouth Film Society, working with distributors to procure the rights, order the prints and bring the films to campus.
Sydney Stowe, the manager of the Hopkins Center film program, is also instrumental in ensuring that the films chosen by the Dartmouth Film Society can actually be screened, Jong said.
With the completion of the Black Family Visual Arts Center, many of the films will now be screened in the new Loew Auditorium. Although the auditorium holds fewer people than Spaulding Auditorium in the Hopkins Center, the new theater will be “a fun space to watch the movies in,” Gerstein said.
“I think we have a really great range of movies, especially the lesser known films that you don’t always get a chance to see in the theater because they’re on a smaller budget,” Gerstein said.
The Dartmouth Film Society’s main goal is to serve the students on campus, and in doing so they only allow the same film to be screened once every four years. In theory, this rule ensures that undergraduates will not see the same film twice during their Dartmouth career, Jong said.
Gerstein and Kouzmanoff are members of The Dartmouth Staff.