By Christopher Graham
In years past, BYU?s International Cinema stood as the ultimate dating local. It was a place that attracted couples because they could share a unique cultural experience for free. The BYU International Cinema has continued in that tradition for more than 30 years now, and will kick off its fall 2005 show schedule this week.
Though the format remains the same, the venue has changed. After showing foreign films in the Varsity Theater for four years, this semester, the International Cinema will be returning to its home in the Spencer W. Kimball Tower. The program will begin the semester by showing ?Lord of the Rings? trilogy, which began yesterday in Room 250 SWKT.
This movie event, spanning the entire week, will show all three films on separate days. For those people whose attention span is as durable as their bladder, all three films will be shown together on Saturday.
Showing these films fulfills part of International Cinema?s mission. The official website (ic.byu.edu) the films were shown initially as a study aid for English majors and foreign language students. The program has now gone beyond only helping students in the select majors and is now available to anyone interested in seeing stories told from a different cultural standpoint. In this way, International Cinema has had a significant presence at BYU for more than 30 years, and has been introducing students to unique foreign films that they would otherwise not experience.
?You can see films here that you wouldn?t be able to see unless you lived in New York or L.A., and in some cases you will see films that you would never get to see anywhere else,? said Travis Anderson, associate professor of philosophy and current director of International Cinema. ?A lot of the premieres that we show are not only new to BYU but have never been seen in Utah and in some cases have never been shown anywhere in the western states.?
In order to present such a wide variety of foreign films, International Cinema pays close to $600 per film for a print of the movie as well as for the permission to distribute it. The ?Lord of the Rings? series cost $800 to rent and show to students for just this week. When the show ends on Saturday, the film prints must be sent back to the distributor. At such a high cost, students might expect to pay at least a matinee price to watch these films but as always the cost of admission is free. The College of Humanities sponsors and pays for every film.
International Cinema shows a variety of films each semester that appeal to a variety of tastes. The shows are all in their original languages with subtitles and several films are shown each semester in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Mandarin and occasionally Portuguese and Russian. This semester will showcase several new films in Hebrew, Bhutanese, Korean and Kurdish.
Along with the foreign films, many English adaptations from literature will be show this year including ?The Phantom of the Opera? and ?Finding Neverland.?
Some of the students have expressed concern that since many foreign films are not rated, there could be a problem with inappropriate content in the movies. Each of the films presented by International Cinema is thoroughly screened for content and will not be shown if it has R-rated content.