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Randolph professor hosting new Virtual Movie Club

Jennifer Gauthier

Media and culture professor Jennifer Gauthier

Like many people across the country, Randolph professor Jennifer Gauthier has been feeling the disconnect that comes from being home over the last few months—and she hopes the newly created Randolph College Virtual Movie Club can help.

“I decided I wanted to do something to maintain connections over the summer and give folks something to look forward to,” said Gauthier, a professor of media and culture. “I’ve really been missing having events on my calendar—things to do, places to go, and people to see. I decided to draw upon my own expertise and bring people together in the way I know best—talking about movies.”

The club’s first event kicks off this week with the 1912 film Falling Leaves. Participants are asked to watch the movie on their own, then tune into a Zoom discussion at 7 p.m. Thursday to share their thoughts.

Gauthier chose to focus on the work of female filmmakers for the series.

“I was browsing new and interesting films online and came up with a list, then I realized that many of the films I wanted to watch and talk about were made by women,” she said. “Also, although changes have been implemented in Hollywood to include more diverse voices, representation of women and non-white folks is still dismal, both in front of and behind the camera.”

“I love the idea of highlighting women pioneers who folks may not have heard of before,” she added, “and also more contemporary women filmmakers, who are following in the footsteps of these pioneers.”

The second discussion will be held at the same time next week and will focus on Ida Lupino’s 1953 film The Hitch-Hiker. After that, they will be held every other week through Aug. 20. Each discussion has its own registration link (the full schedule, with links, is below).

“The series is a way for me to connect with other people around something I love during an isolating time,” Gauthier said. “Now, more than ever it is crucial for folks to see different life experiences and different perspectives on the screen. I strongly believe that cinema is a medium that can help develop empathy and understanding and promote social change.”

The schedule

Thursday, June 18: Falling Leaves, directed by Alice Guy Blaché (1912)
Why Gauthier chose it: “When I studied film history in college 30 years ago, I was not introduced to Alice Guy Blaché—the first woman to direct a narrative film and to own her own studio. Women like her (and like Ida Lupino, who directed The Hitch-Hiker) were written out of film history (as they were many other histories). As scholars recover/uncover these marginalized pioneers, I want to introduce them to students, to paint a richer, more complete and diverse picture of American culture. Blaché wrote scripts that featured women in lead roles before this was acceptable in Hollywood; she called attention to women’s concerns, women’s desires, and women’s challenges in a patriarchal society. These issues are still not fully explored in Hollywood films.”
Register here:

Thursday, June 25: The Hitch-Hiker, directed by Ida Lupino (1953)
Why Gauthier chose it: “Ida Lupino worked her way up to director in Hollywood in the 1940s and 50s, which in itself is an amazing feat. At this time, the studio system was completely patriarchal – Louis B. Mayer (MGM), David O. Selznick (Selznick International Pictures), Carl Laemmle (Universal), Jack Warner (Warner Bros.), and Daryl Zaunck (20th c. Fox) each ran their own fiefdom like dictators. Lupino challenged this power and made a name for herself writing and directing her own films and not many people know her name.”
Register here:

Thursday, July 9: Night Moves, directed by Kelly Reichardt (2013)
Why Gauthier chose it: “Kelly Reichardt is an independent director whose previous work I have admired. She has a distinctive style that is different from what we see in mainstream films. I wanted to introduce her work to people. Plus, this film has a timely premise regarding environmental activism.”
Register here:

Thursday, July 23: Faces Places, directed by Agnès Varda (2017)
Why Gauthier chose it: “Varda holds a very important place in global film history, not only as a pioneer of the French New Wave, but as a filmmaker who worked into her nineties. Her documentary films are a unique and highly personal take on the genre.
Register here:

Thursday, Aug. 6: Atlantics, directed by Mati Diop (2019) and Thursday, Aug. 20: The Farewell, directed by Lulu Wang (2019)
Why Gauthier chose them: “These last two films each offer a distinct perspective on life in a global context. Both women filmmakers were highly praised when these films came out. I wanted to watch them! Also, they both deal with cultural hybridity, which is a rich and complex topic.”
Register here:

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