Past Meetup

February Film Discussion: Enjoyment/Artistry/­Importance; Picnic at Hanging Rock

This Meetup is past

9 people went

Location image of event venue


Main discussion:

At the last discussion, comments such as "it was a lot of fun, but not really a great film," or "it's really uncomfortable to watch, but it was really good," were thrown around quite a bit. Playing off of that, I'd like to examine the relationship between how much enjoyment we get from watching a film vs. form and artistry vs. the importance of a film's subject or message. Some points to consider to prepare for the discussion:

• What films are your "guilty pleasures"? Which ones are your "one-timers" (ie., the films you're glad you saw, but never need to see again)?

• What makes a film enjoyable/entertaining? Well-crafted? Important? Can, or how does a film hit all of these?

• Does the ambition of a film affect this relationship? Can a film that just seeks to entertain be important? Can an enjoyable experience on its own be considered great in its own right?

• What are the traits of a film that's great on an artistic level but not fun to watch? What makes us want to watch these films regardless?

Anyway, I think that should be good enough to get us started. Please let me know (either a direct message, or in the comments) if you have any related questions you think I could add to the run-down.

Feature Film Discussion (optional):

For those who can stay a little longer, and have time to watch a film before the discussion, we'll set aside some time to discuss a specific film at the end of this Meetup.

Picnic at Hanging Rock has been selected for the feature film discussion. This film is available on Hulu Plus (, Netflix disk, and our local libraries. If you'd like to stay for the discussion of this film, please take the time to watch this to prepare. Or, if you've seen it before, but it's been a while, re-watching it couldn't hurt.

The following section is now outdated, but I'm leaving it here in the event description for reference.

A poll is now open to decide which of these films we'll watch/discuss. Rather than a straight poll, this time we'll try using 1-10 scale ratings to gauge interest levels. The poll will run for one week, until Feb 11th, at which point the one with the highest interest level will be selected as the movie to watch.

Since Valentine's Day is this month, I figured I'd throw in a couple films that are ostensibly romances (but definitely not your typical rom-com fare), and one set on Valentine's day. Rather than provide a plot synopsis of these (I trust you can look these up yourself if you're interested), I'm just going to give a short description for why I chose to include these in this poll.

Days of Being Wild (Hong Kong, 1990): The first collaboration of director Wong Kar-Wai (a personal favorite of mine), and cinematographer Christopher Doyle on. Their other collaborations include Chungking Express (in my personal 10 top of all time) and In the Mood for Love (one of only two films from the 2000s to crack the top 50 in the 2012 Sight & Sound Best Films of all time list).

Available on Netflix ( streaming or disk and our local library system via interlibrary loan (only looks like one copy though)

Picnic At Hanging Rock (Australia, 1975): Directed by Peter Weir, this is one of the pivotal films of the Australian New Wave. According to Roger Ebert, this is a "film of haunting mystery and buried sexual hysteria. It also employs two of the hallmarks of modern Australian films: beautiful cinematography and stories about the chasm between settlers from Europe and the mysteries of their ancient new home."

Available on Hulu Plus (, Netflix disk, and our local libraries

Talk to Her (Spain 2002): Directed by Pedro Almodóvar, I saw this years ago and loved it then. This film re-entered my radar when I learned that the dance sequences it features are choreographed by the late Pina Bausch (who I discovered through the excellent documentary Pina ( Beyond that though, I remember finding this to be a beautifully shot film with fascinating and complex emotions and themes, hence, wanting to see it again.

Available on Amazon Prime (, Netflix disk, and our local libraries



Running Start Inc.

95 Prescott St., Worcester, MA (near WPI Gateway Park)

We'll use their conference room on the second floor, we'll be the only ones around at the time. Feel free to bring whatever to eat/drink. Whether it's your dinner for the night, or a snack to share.

They have a small parking lot on the north end of the building, near the entrance, however it can be tough to maneuver in. There is ample street parking next to the building, and there's a large parking lot to the south of the building. The large lot is technically for the building(s) at 85 Prescott only, but I doubt anyone will care during evening hours (I'm not liable if something happens though).

I'll send my cell number to attendees before the event in case anyone's having trouble finding the place.