Professors talk about their favorite films

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Professors teach and care for their students and genuinely wish them the best. Not only are they a source of knowledge and wisdom, they also have good taste and good advice about everyday life.

Most people like movies, but sometimes it is hard to find a good movie to watch. And that is where BYU faculty can recommend something that students don’t have to know for the finals but that can greatly increase the quality of their free time. Three BYU professors in particular share their passion about the movies and some movie tips.

Robert Hudson, an assistant professor of French and Italian cinema, uses movies in his everyday work. BYU International Cinema, a foreign film program run on campus, occasionally invites Hudson to give Tuesday guest lectures about French or Italian movies.

BYU’s international cinema offers free foreign movie showings daily

Hudson recommends adding European movies to the usual all-American diet because they give a different perspective.

“One of the reasons International Cinema even exists is so that we can get a different world view,” Hudson said. “You can really learn how people live and what drives them by watching films made by people who live in those countries.”

Hudson recommends the Criterion Collection, a video distribution company, as a reliable source of good movies. For those who want to know about upcoming movies first and enjoy movie festivals, there is Colcoa, a French movie festival in Los Angeles that happens at the end of April.

Among Hudson’s favorite film directors are Jean Renoir (Grand Illusion, 1937, The Rules of the Game, 1939), Robert Bresson (Diary of a Country Priest, 1951, Mouchette,1967), and Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amélie Poulain, 2001, A Very Long Engagement, 2004). These are names you won’t hear often from the students because not only are they French, but the first two had their peak in the middle of the last century.

“They take cinematography differently,” Hudson said. “They take different directions than other filmmakers; they see mise-en-scene and then the actual act of filming, like Bresson says, almost as a religious act; it’s a sacrament of filmmaking.”

Brent Gilchrist, assistant professor of political philosophy, prefers movies that create a story that people can escape to, rather than movies that follow a familiar pattern. He recommends the movies based on the message they convey. One of his latest favorites is “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” (2011).

“(The movie) shows that impossible is possible,” Gilchrist said. “At one level it says you have to think big, it doesn’t matter if people say it can never be done, but at the other level there is this practical realism — even if you can make your big dream happen there is still a world around that you have to deal with; you are not insulated from everybody else.”

Another movie Gilchrist recommends is “Regarding Henry” (1991) for its Atonement-type message. “It’s a really neat simple story of how you have to lose your life to find it, and how if you wipe away all the busy stuff and focus on the important things your life will be totally different.”

Robert Walz, an associate communications professor, loves movies that have meaning behind them and can change people’s thinking. Walz said students shouldn’t be afraid of classics, even if that means that movies are really old.

“(They) really have a lot of good meaning in them, and they are good, solid entertainment,” Walz says. Walz’s favorite movie is the one that helped him decide his future career — “All the President’s Men,” a movie about the Watergate scandal.

“I followed the Watergate all through high school,” Walz said. “But when that film came out and I saw it all put together and I realized the role that journalism plays in our democracy — that’s what made me decide that I wanted to go into journalism as a career.”

For BYU’s international cinema movie schedule go to: ic.byu.edu/PDF_Schedules/CurrentPoster.pdf

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