FLM 200: The MSU Film Collective
We are the professors, students, filmmakers, screenwriters, and cinéphiles at MSU who gather weekly in the course FLM 200 to watch and discuss good films. In the spirit of the Cinémathèque française and the generation of film critics and French New Wave directors it inspired, our collective abides by the principle that good film writing and good filmmaking (and just plain good living) begin with serious film watching.
Spring 2021: Time and/in the Cinema
Since its inception cinema has engaged with replicating and manipulating Time. It can show us beginnings and endings; it can take us deep into the past and far into the future; it can slow time or accelerate it, expand it or compress it, reverse it or freeze it, present it “whole” or fragment it.
Screenings will be asynchronous—all screenings undertaken individually prior to the Thursday discussion. Where noted, films are available on public platforms.
Discussions will take place over Zoom on Thursdays at 7:20pm EST, and are open to any and everyone:
Zoom Link Meeting ID: 918 8105 7846 Password: 817443
1/21 – Short film collection
A Voyage to the Moon, by Georges Méliès
La Jetée, by Chris Marker
first frame from 24 Frames, by Abbas Kiarostami
episode one of Agnès de cí a lá Varda, by Agnès Varda
first half of interview with William Kentridge on “Refusal of Time.”
Presented by Ken Harrow
A series of short films related to time, from the dawn of cinema to the present.
1/28 – The Handmaiden (dir. Park Chan-wook, 2016)
Presented by Amrutha Kunapulli. Available on Amazon.
With help from an orphaned pickpocket (Kim Tae-ri), a Korean con man (Ha Jung-woo) devises an elaborate plot to seduce and bilk a Japanese woman (Kim Min-hee) out of her inheritance.
2/4 – Sleep Dealer (dir. Alex Rivera, 2008)
Presented by Sheila Contreras. Available on YouTube.
Memo (Luis Fernando Peña) is a hacker living an impoverished existence in the degraded Mexico of the future. Upon detecting his hacking activities, the military attacks his home. Memo escapes to Tijuana, where he becomes involved with Luz (Leonor Varela), a journalist who plugs her body into the Internet and sells her memories for others to download. When Luz takes on a mysterious assignment and Memo lands a high-tech factory job, they descend into a cyber-nightmare and discover a deadly truth.
2/11 – Predestination (dir. the Spierig brothers, 2015)
Presented by Michael Stokes. Available on YouTube.
A temporal agent (Ethan Hawke) embarks on a final time-traveling assignment to prevent an elusive criminal from launching an attack that kills thousands of people.
2/18– The Wonders (dir. Alice Rohrwacher, 2014)
Presented by Josh Yumibe. Available on YouTube.
A family of Tuscan beekeepers find their idyll interrupted by the arrival of a troubled teenage boy, after their daughter enters a competition to appear on a television show.
2/25 – Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (dir. Chantal Akerman, 1975)
Jeanne Dielman (Delphine Seyrig), the widowed mother of a teenage son, Sylvain (Jan Decorte), ekes out a drab, repetitive existence in her tiny Brussels apartment. Jeanne’s days are divided between humdrum domestic chores — shopping, cooking, housework — and her job as an occasional prostitute, which keeps her financially afloat. She seems perfectly resigned to her situation until a series of slight interruptions in her routine leads to unexpected and dramatic changes.
3/4 – Ashes and Embers (dir. Haile Gerima, 1982)
Presented by Tama Hamilton Wray. Register for the free virtual screening.
An embittered veteran of the Vietnam War attempts to come to terms with his past and his current place as a Black man in America.
3/11 – Timecode (dir. Mike Figgis, 2000)
Presented by Swarnavel Pillai. Available to rent on Amazon.
A production company begins casting for its next feature, and an up-and-coming actress named Rose (Salma Hayek) tries to manipulate her filmmaker boyfriend, Alex, into giving her a screen test. Alex’s wife, Emma (Saffron Burrows), knows about the affair and is considering divorce, while Rose’s girlfriend secretly spies on her and attempts to sabotage the relationship. The four storylines in the film were each shot in one take and are shown simultaneously, each taking up a quarter of the screen.
3/18 – Calendar (dir. Atom Egoyan, 1993)
Presented by Tamar Boyadjian. Available on The Criterion Channel
A photographer and his wife take photographs of Armenian churches for use in a calendar. Their driver, a local resident, expounds on the history of the churches while the wife translates. The photographer becomes jealous of his wife’s bonding with the driver. In a series of flash-forwards, the photographer stages identical dinners with several women, who pretend to talk on the phone while he writes. His wife, now estranged from him, leaves repeated messages on his answering machine, asking why he never contacts her.
3/25– Tenet (dir. Christopher Nolan, 2020)
Presented by Raffi Avedissian. Available to rent on YouTube
A secret agent is given a single word as his weapon and sent to prevent the onset of World War III. He must travel through time and bend the laws of nature in order to be successful in his mission.
4/1– 2046 (dir. Wong Kar-wai, 2004)
A train in a futuristic landscape takes passengers to a place where they can recapture their memories, a place from which no one has ever returned. This is the premise of a novel by the womanizing sci-fi writer Chow (Tony Leung Chiu Wai), who engages in passionate affairs with a series of intriguing women he meets at the Oriental Hotel in Hong Kong. As Chow’s lovers offer him inspiration for his writing, reality blends with fiction, and the past commingles with the future.
4/8 – 35 Shots of Rum (dir. Claire Denis, 2008)
Lionel (Alex Descas), a widower, has raised his daughter, Josephine (Mati Diop), on his own since she was young. The two are used to living alone, dependent solely on one another. But, now that Josephine is in college, Lionel is beginning to realize they cannot stay isolated forever. Lionel reluctantly accepts the fact that his daughter has grown up and will one day leave him, when their neighbor Noe (Grégoire Colin) makes his long-harbored feelings for Josephine known.
4/15 – Student film showcase
Presented by Pete Johnston. Broadcast live on YouTube.
A collection of student films from across the 2020/2021 school year, followed by virtual Q&A with the filmmakers. Please check back for YouTube premiere link.