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 2023: Hyperlink Cinema

“Hyperlink cinema is a style of filmmaking characterised by complex or multilinear narrative structures with multiple characters under one unifying theme.”  In place of standard linear narratives in which a character or group of characters move from then to now according to their own choices, hyperlink (or Global Network) narratives contain stories that, though seemingly unrelated, run parallel to one another, intersect, and inter-react—the “butterfly effect.”  Hyperlink films—and novels, television series (Game of Thrones), and video games—reflect the global interconnectedness of modern life, produced by such factors as the Internet and economic globalization.  Are we in control of our own lives or is that pesky butterfly flapping its wings in some unknown corner of the universe?

All screenings will take place in B122 Wells Hall at 7pm. The series is free and open to all.

1/19 – Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels (dir. Guy Ritchie, 1998)

Presented by Bill Vincent

Eddie persuades his pals to back him in a high-stakes poker game and he ends up owing 500,000 pounds.  As the lads seek to find the money, their paths cross with those of a bevy the denizens of London’s underworld in one of the earliest and funniest examples of hyperlink cinema. 

1/26– Gummo (dir. Harmony Korine, 1997)

Presented by Braxton Hay

Content Description: Contains depictions of abusive and discriminatory behavior, sexually explicit imagery and drug use

Gummo tells the disturbing and often melancholic story of two young boys living in the aftermath of a deadly tornado that destroyed their small Ohio town. The film, often uncomfortable and a masterclass in shock, utilizes unconventional hyperlinked narratives to reassess the idea of a “beginning, middle, and end” and bring fiction to the brink of reality.

2/2 – The Bad and the Beautiful (dir. Vincente Minelli, 1952)

Presented by Dan Smith

A director, a performer, and a writer reluctantly gather to hear a pitch from ruthless movie producer Jonathan Shields (Kirk Douglas), who has betrayed each of them in the past. Their stories offer three distinct perspectives on Shields and the Hollywood studio system.

2/9 – Amores Perros (dir. Alejandro Iñárritu, 2000)

Presented by Bill VIncent

Three intersecting stories set in Mexico City demonstrating that you never know how your life may be affected by the actions of strangers. 

2/16– Before the Rain (dir. Milcho Manchevski, 1994)

Presented by Alena Aniskiewicz

When acclaimed photojournalist Aleksander Kirkov returns to his native Macedonia, he finds the community he left behind decades ago now rife with tension. All fear an outbreak of violence that seems as inevitable as the coming rain. Moving between London and the Macedonian countryside, the interconnected stories in Before the Rain offer a reflection on the cyclical nature of violence, the responsibilities of those who document such pain, and the need to “take sides” for peace.    

2/23 – LSD: Love Sex Aur Dhokha (dir. Dibakar Banerjee, 2010)

Presented by Kuhu Tanvir

A video camcorder, a store security camera, and concealed cameras expose the actions and hidden lives of people in three loosely linked tales.

3/2 – Short Cuts (dir. Robert Altman, 1993)

Presented by Kaveh Askari

Many loosely connected characters cross paths in this film, based on the stories of Raymond Carver. Waitress Doreen Piggot (Lily Tomlin) accidentally runs into a boy with her car. Soon after walking away, the child lapses into a coma. While at the hospital, the boy’s grandfather (Jack Lemmon) tells his son, Howard (Bruce Davison), about his past affairs. Meanwhile, a baker (Lyle Lovett) starts harassing the family when they fail to pick up the boy’s birthday cake.

3/16 – How Long Will I Love U 超时空同居 (dir. Lun Su, 2018)

Presented by Sheng-mei Ma

A rom com “with Chinese characteristics,” Su Lun’s How Long Will I Love U (超时空同居Chaoshikong tongju 2018) deploys the millennial rage of chuanyuewen (穿越文literature of temporal and spatial crossing) in Chinese web novels, films, and TV series. The original Chinese title means “Cohabitating Across Time and Space” and encapsulates the crossover chic, while evoking the 2009 TV series Dwelling Narrowness (蝸居 woju, literally, “Snail/Paltry Shelter”). Su’s film follows a thirty-something shengnü (leftover, i.e., unmarried, woman) Gu Xiaojiao, who tries desperately to marry rich in 2018, only to find her apartment merged one night with that of a failed engineer Lu Ming who happened to have rented the same apartment in 1999. The two losers-lovers and the two Chinas nearly two decades apart fuse into one, for a short while, to diagnose the twenty-first century Social Darwinism whereby Lu (and the PRC itself?) could only become a billionaire by abetting a murder and, subconsciously, killing his (its?) younger innocent self.

3/23– Dazed and Confused (dir. Richard Linklater, 1993)

Presented by Justus Nieland

This coming-of-age film follows the mayhem of group of rowdy teenagers in Austin, Texas, celebrating the last day of high school in 1976. The graduating class heads for a popular pool hall and joins an impromptu keg party, however star football player Randall “Pink” Floyd (Jason London) has promised to focus on the championship game and abstain from partying. Meanwhile, the incoming freshmen try to avoid being hazed by the seniors, most notably the sadistic bully Fred O’Bannion (Ben Affleck).

City of God

3/30 – City of God (dir. Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund, 2002)

Presented by McKayla Sluga

The “City of God” is one of many favelas (neighborhoods) built to house Rio de Janeiro’s poorest.  Some try to dominate; some try to escape; all their lives are inextricably intertwined. 

4/6 – Soodhu Kavvum/Evil Engulfs(dir. Nalan Kumarasamy, 2013)

Presented by Swarnavel Pillai and B. Geetha

Soodhu Kavvum (Evil Engulfs) revolves around small-time con man/kidnapper Das and his equally dysfunctional friends, Pagalavan, Keseavan, and Sekhar, who dream of a more considerable ransom when serendipitously they meet Arumai Prakasam, the crazy son of a rare honest politician, who fakes his own abduction to suck the wealth of his father, money given by the party for the election. This leads to the minister hiring a psychotic cop who wants to decimate Das’s ensemble of friends. Nonetheless, the absurd people surrounding Das, like his brother and the ethereal girlfriend, and his friends see to it that they are more than a match for the bizarre challenges, and things are resolved. 

4/13– In the Earth (dir. Ben Wheatley, 2020)

Presented by Lily Woodruff

As the world searches for a cure to a devastating virus, a scientist and a park scout venture deep into the woods. As night falls, their journey becomes a terrifying voyage through the heart of darkness as the forest comes to life around them.

4/20 – Student Short Showcase

Presented by Pete Johnston

A celebration of the best and brightest of our student work.

4/27 – Everything Everywhere All at Once (dir. Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, 2022)

Presented by David Schwartz

Hyperlink cinema meets the sci-fi multiverse, as many alternate realities meet in the person of one ordinary middle-aged Chinese immigrant.