What we're about

"Every great film should seem new every time you see it." - Roger Ebert

"Movies touch our hearts and awaken our vision, and change the way we see things. They take us to other places, they open doors and minds. Movies are the memories of our life time. We need to keep them alive." - Martin Scorsese

"Filmmaking is a collective assemblage of desires." - Isabelle Huppert

"Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls." - Ingmar Bergman

"What no human eye is capable of catching, no pencil, brush, pen of pinning down, your camera catches without knowing what it is, and pins it down with a machine's scrupulous indifference." - Robert Bresson

"What I mean by realism goes beyond reality" - Maurice Pialat

This group has been around for almost three years, and it's evolved a lot since I started it. While it's primarily a place for people that share a passion for film to come together and share their perspectives, I also feel it's really important to provide an entry point for anyone that doesn't have a lot of knowledge or experience with films to come and share and explore. The only requirement is curiosity, as well as a few broad ground rules to help things go smoothly.

1. The goal isn't to reach a consensus or convince anyone of anything. That doesn't mean we don't passionately express our experiences with a film, or have the occasional disagreement. It just means that it's a space where multiple opinions and perspectives can coexist and nothing should ever become combative in a way that makes things personal. There are as many lenses to look through as there are individuals on this planet, and no particular lens is the correct one. Whether it's social, political, critical, philosophical, aesthetical, historical, spiritual, technical, or purely personal -- it's all fair game. We encourage a broad and eclectic discussion of whatever comes up for anyone participating in the discussion.

2. It's OK to like things, and it's OK to not like things! No one should ever feel they have to justify their experience with a film, but I do encourage everyone to explore why they like or don't like specific things (within their comfort zone). No one is a bad person because they like a controversial director or film, and no one is obliged to like a film just because it's well regarded. This is a group where we can all explore a film together without feeling like we'll be judged for it, one way or the other.

3. Art can be entertaining, but it's also extremely valuable to explore subjects or themes that can be challenging or difficult. We don't shy away from films that explore taboo or controversial subjects in this group. That might mean that not every film or meetup is going to be for everyone, and that's OK! If something is offensive to someone, my hope is that we can discuss that in this group in a way that's non-confrontational and respectful towards everyone that chooses to participate. If something is not sitting well with you, feel free to bring it up in our conversation, but we ask that you do so in a way that's respectful and considerate that not everyone will share your perspective.

4. Piggybacking on rule number 3, the aim of the hosts in this group is to help the flow of the discussion and make sure we can cover multiple topics within the limited time we have available. Our group is introvert friendly, and we try to make sure everyone feels included in the discussion and has an opportunity to share their impressions of a film. If a host decides to move on from a topic of discussion to explore another facet of a film or subject, it's nothing personal. Our primary goal is to respect everyone's time and make sure a single topic doesn't dominate the discussion.

I've learned so much from hearing others talk about the films we've discussed, and I've found it useful to practice sharing my own impressions, both clarifying and gaining a deeper understanding of what motivates me to be a cinephile. Everyone has something unique to contribute, and there's always more to learn and discover, no matter how many films you've seen. Whether you're an avid cinephile with a deep knowledge you want to share, or just someone curious about films you haven't seen before, I hope you'll join us!

Upcoming events (4+)

Take Out (Baker and Tsou, 2004) and Man Push Cart (Bahrani, 2005)

Link visible for attendees

I've been meaning to schedule Man Push Cart for awhile now, and Take Out popping up on the Channel this month gives me a good excuse to do so!

Descriptions below are from the Criterion Channel, where you may watch both films in advance of our discussion.

The American dream has rarely seemed so far away as in Sean Baker and Shih-Ching Tsou’s raw, vérité TAKE OUT, an immersion in the life of an undocumented Chinese immigrant struggling to get by on the margins of post-9/11 New York City. Facing violent retaliation from a loan shark, restaurant deliveryman Ming Ding has until nightfall to pay back the money he owes, and he encounters both crushing setbacks and moments of unexpected humanity as he races against time to earn enough in tips over the course of a frantic day. From this simple setup, Baker and Tsou fashion a kind of neorealist survival thriller of the everyday, shedding compassionate light on the too often overlooked lives and labor that keep New York running.
https://www.criterionchannel.com/take-out

A modest miracle of twenty-first-century neorealism, the acclaimed debut feature by Ramin Bahrani speaks quietly but profoundly to the experiences of those living on the margins of the American dream. Back in his home country of Pakistan, Ahmad (Ahmad Razvi, elements of whose own life story were woven into the script) was a famous rock star. Now a widower separated from his son and adrift in New York, he works long hours selling coffee and bagels from a Midtown Manhattan food cart, engaged in a Sisyphean search for human connection and a sense of purpose that seems perpetually just out of reach. A rare immigrant’s-eye view of a post-9/11 city suffused with subtle paranoia and xenophobia, MAN PUSH CART gives at once empathetic and clear-eyed expression to the everyday drama of human endurance.
https://www.criterionchannel.com/man-push-cart

1
Querelle (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1982)

Link visible for attendees

You're telling me that Rainer Werner Fassbinder did a film adaptation of a Jean Genet novel? And I haven't watched it yet? It's time to correct this error and discuss what I'm sure will be a surreal and provocative study of desire.

Please watch the film ahead of time using the link below.

Director Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s final film is a deliriously stylized tale of hothouse lust and simmering violence. Set amid an expressionistic soundstage vision of a French sea port, this daring adaptation of a novel by Jean Genet recounts the tragedy of a handsome sailor (Brad Davis) as he is drawn into a vortex of sibling rivalry, murder, and explosive sexuality. Completed just before Fassbinder’s sudden death at age thirty-seven, QUERELLE finds the director pushing his embrace of artifice and taboo-shattering depiction of queer desire to new extremes.

https://www.criterionchannel.com/querelle

2
Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi, 2007)

Link visible for attendees

Persepolis! It's been on the channel before and I promised myself I'd schedule it as soon as it appeared again. And here it is! It's a delightful film, I hope you can join us to discuss it!

Please watch the film ahead of time using the link below.

Marjane Satrapi adapts her graphic memoir to the screen for this acclaimed animated wonder about growing up in 1970s Iran.

I'll add the link as soon as it appears on the Criterion Channel November 30th!

Kiss of Death (Henry Hathaway, 1947) & Thieves’ Highway (Jules Dassin, 1949)

Link visible for attendees

Another noir collection has appeared on the Criterion Channel! Feast on the sugary delights of Richard Widmark and Jules Dassin with me! It'll be a nice palate cleanser after the nutritional Godardian diet we all shared in November.

Both films are available on the Criterion Channel (www.criterionchannel.com), please watch the films before the meetup.

Richard Widmark made a sensational screen debut, scoring an Academy Award nomination for his unforgettable turn as menacingly grinning, giggling psychopath Tommy Udo (don’t let him near your grandmother) in this hard-edged thriller. Caught red-handed on Christmas Eve, convicted jewel thief Nick Bianco (Victor Mature) agrees to inform on his accomplices in exchange for a lighter sentence. But when one of the criminals he betrayed—the laughing, loose-cannon killer Udo—is unexpectedly released, Nick and his family find themselves in sudden danger.

https://www.criterionchannel.com/fox-noir-2/season:1/videos/kiss-of-death

THIEVES’ HIGHWAY vividly depicts the perilous world of “long-haul boys,” who drive by night to bring their goods to the markets of America’s cities. Richard Conte stars as ex-GI Nick Garcos, a tyro trucker bent on satisfaction from the man responsible for crippling his father—ruthless market operator Mike Figlia (Lee J. Cobb). But when Figlia gets wise to his plan, Nick finds himself in a web of treachery and heartbreak.

https://www.criterionchannel.com/fox-noir-2/season:1/videos/thieves-highway

Past events (220)

Pub Night! After Life (1998) and Persona (1966)

The Clocktower Brew Pub

Photos (278)