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.

Supported by the Mechanic Family Film Studies Endowment Fund

Spring 2024: COPS & ROBBERS

From the shorts and serials of Robert W. Paul and Louis Feuillade to the narrative feature length films of Martin Scorsese and Kathryn Bigelow, crime continues to capture our attention. More than a form of entertainment often accused of condoning violence, the subject material and thematic concerns of films provide nuance, mount institutional critiques, and advocate for change. The theme for this semester’s Film Collective is ‘Cops and Robbers’, abstractly defined and including but not limited to films about heists and armed robberies; gangsters and prison breaks; robber barons and land theft; restoration and abolition; espionage and secret agents; whistleblowers and vigilantes; detectives and unsolved mysteries. Crime films are an international phenomenon, but ‘Cops and Robbers’ asks us to consider different national contexts in production as well as waves of popularity and cinematographic techniques in filming violence. What else can these films tell us about cultural obsessions with crime, reception, and the medium itself?

All screenings will take place in B122 Wells Hall at 7pm. The series is free and open to all. West doors to Wells Hall, nearest Spartan Stadium, stay open until 7pm.

1/11 – Distinto Amenacer (dir. Roberto Galvadón, 1952)

Presented by Cristóbal Martinez

An arrogant man seduces and discards women at will until his victims plot revenge.

1/18– The Maltese Falcon (dir. John Huston, 1941)

Presented by Bill Vincent

San Francisco private detective Sam Spade takes on a case that involves him with three eccentric criminals, a gorgeous liar and their quest for a priceless statuette, with the stakes rising after his partner is murdered.

1/25 – Raising Arizona (dir. Ethan Coen, 1987)

Presented by Joshua Yumibe

When a childless couple–an ex-con and an ex-cop–decide to help themselves to one of another family’s quintuplets, their lives become more complicated than they anticipated.

2/1 – Point Break (dir. Kathryn Bigelow, 1991)

Presented by Kaveh Askari

An F.B.I. Agent goes undercover to catch a gang of surfers who may be bank robbers.

2/8– Cotton Comes to Harlem (dir. Ossie Davis, 1970)

Presented by Justus Nieland

Two Harlem cops investigate a robbery, believing that a reverend has staged it in order to steal the money he’s collected for a local fundraiser.

2/15 – This Stolen Country of Mine (dir. Marc Wiese, 2022)

Presented by MSU Latinx Film Festival

When Rafael Correa becomes president of Ecuador in 2007, the West will no longer lend money to the country. Instead, the president turns to China and starts making a flurry of deals and contracts with the Chinese, giving the big Asian country mining, oil and influence over infrastructure in the small South American country, among other things. But not all Ecuadorians are happy. In the lush mountains, villages are setting up guerrilla armies led by eco-activist Paúl Jarrín Mosquera, who, on horseback, wearing a red hat and carrying guns, is trying to sabotage Chinese mining and ensure Ecuador is not re-colonised. And in the capital, Quito, journalist Fernando Villavicencio exposes government corruption to such an extent that he has to flee for his life. ‘This Stolen Country of Mine’ is an intensely dramatic blockbuster about the consequences of globalisation, and the earthbound nationalism of an outraged population.

2/22 – Just 6.5 aka Law of Tehran (dir.  Saeed Roustayi, 2019)

Presented by Farzaneh Ebrahimzadeh Holasu

The police are after a drug lord named Naser Khakzad, but when they finally manage to catch him, he tries whatever he can think of to escape and save his family.

3/7 – Jackie Brown (dir. Quentin Tarantino, 1997)

Presented by Sarah Panuska

A flight attendant with a criminal past gets nabbed by the ATF for smuggling. Under pressure to become an informant against the drug dealer she works for, she must find a way to secure her future without getting killed.

3/14 – This is Not a Burial, it’s a Resurrection (dir. Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, 2019)

Presented by David Schwartz

When her village is threatened with forced resettlement due to reservoir construction, an 80-year-old widow finds a new will to live and ignites the spirit of resilience within her community.

3/21 – How to Blow Up a Pipeline (dir. Daniel Goldhaber, 2022)

Presented by Kyle Sittig

A crew of environmental activists plot a daring plan to disrupt an oil pipeline.

3/28 – The Parallax View (dir. Alan J. Pakula, 1974)

Presented by Eric Baylis

An ambitious reporter gets in way-over-his-head trouble while investigating a senator’s assassination which leads to a vast conspiracy involving a multinational corporation behind every event in the world’s headlines.

4/4 – Drishyam (dir. Jeethu Joseph, 2013)

Presented by Rutuja Deshmukh and Swarnavel Eswaran Pillai

Desperate measures are taken by a man who tries to save his family from the dark side of the law, after they commit an unexpected crime.

4/11 – Underworld (dir. Josef von Sternberg, 1927)

Presented by Kate Hext

Boisterous gangster kingpin Bull Weed rehabilitates his former lawyer from his alcoholic haze, but complications arise when he falls for Weed’s girlfriend.

4/18 – Sin City (dir. Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller, 2005)

Presented by Ritesh Khandelwal

An exploration of the dark and miserable Basin City and three of its residents, all of whom are caught up in violent corruption.