Enter Danforth Hall on a Monday night and risk a chance meeting with Betty Davis or Meryl Streep. Slip into the stadium seating with a hand full of warm buttered popcorn and travel to worlds where women go mad, fall in and out of love and vie for success. This experience is brought to you by the members of the newly formed Mills Film and Video Society (MFVS).
As the first club of its kind on the Mills campus, the MFVS is following in a long college tradition of promoting film as a means of entertainment, intellectual exercise and appreciation for the cinematic world’s myriad creations.
Although four women who share a passion for cinema formed the club, one need not be a film buff to join MFVS, but merely show up to one of the weekly screenings. The club is intended to bring together people who either share a love for film or who just want to take the night off and socialize while enjoying some obscure but not forgotten movies.
“We all love film,” said MFVS vice president, Sarah Lambie. “We wanted to have a venue for films that are not so popular and get them out to the Mills community.”
Finding it odd that that Mills did not have a similar version of traditional college life, MFVS president, Corinne Sklar, decided to get some friends together and start a film club of her own. For her, the club is a way to get together and explore themes within film genres.
For its first semester, the members of MFVS decided to focus on films in which women are re-defining themselves. The resulting theme, Rebel, Rebel, You’ve Torn Your Dress showcased Bette Davis’ famed role as an aging, 40-year-old Broadway actress in the 1950s classic, “All About Eve,” Meryl Streep’s unforgettable performance as the survivor of Nazi concentration camps in “Sophie’s Choice,” and John Cassavetes 1974 realistic portrayal of a housewife’s encroaching madness in “A Woman Under the Influence.”
“We were hoping to get films about strong women,” said Lambie. “We all had ideas about what that meant, so we all came to the table with films that we loved.” MFVS members want to reemphasize the casual feel of the club’s screenings and hope to appeal to the Mills community by the pleasure of movie watching. “Hopefully we can get video students integrated and [eventually] the community,” said Sarah McCoy, a member of the MFVS, who cultivated her interest in film during a four-year stint working in a video store.
The club plans to host an opening celebration in the fall in a “coming out party” which will kickoff the new season with a DJ and cocktails.
For next year, MFVS is looking into new categories and want to take advantage of the venue by showcasing anything from marathon B-horror, to students’ video shorts. “One idea I had [for a theme] was Twisted Sister, which would be movies about weird sibling relationships,” said McCoy. Other ideas being tossed around include rock musicals, French cinema, and adapted films-even media treatment of the war in Iraq. The club is always looking for student’s suggestions. “We want [to show] a good cross-section,” said Lambie. They may also invite Mills professors to introduce and hold discussions about certain films. This coming Monday marks the club’s final screening of the semester. “Watermelon Women” directed by Cheryl Dunye, is about a young black woman working in a video store, while making a documentary about an obscure black actress (known as “The Watermelon Woman”) who had a white lesbian lover. Meanwhile the video store clerk is having a love affair similar to the one she studies.
MFVS meets this Monday at 7 p.m. for a reception and will start the movie at 7:30 p.m. Although the MFVS plans to have a calendar of films prearranged before the start of next semester, they are looking for suggestions and new members. If interested, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.