North Park Film Club: Why Should We Discuss Film?
This is an article submitted by Emmanuel Carrillo.
We have a problem. I know we do because I’ve done it and you’ve done it too. Maybe while you were studying, maybe while you had company over, maybe while you were home alone and kept hearing noises upstairs. You needed an extra voice in the room, a non-present presence to fill the silence, so you put on a movie, preferably something not too serious. Sure, it was a good movie, at least the parts you paid attention to. But that’s all it was -- a movie. A screen reading you a story like your first-grade teacher used to. You listened, but only to stave off boredom. It ended, and you checked your phone, forgetting everything you just saw. For better or worse, you -- like me and many others -- are a passive movie watcher, a spoon-fed consumer who doesn’t bother to chew. Of course, this isn’t always the case, but we’re in this slothful camp far too often. Maybe you don’t care, but here’s the thing: it’s really easy to fix this problem. The remedy is actively engaging with the movie you’re watching. Discuss the film, the meaning of the plot, the personalities of the characters, the aesthetics of the scenes, and you’ll be better in no time.
Why am I telling you this? Well, because I want to practice what I preach. I want this mindset to be at the core of the newly established North Park Film Club. The vision of this club is for it to be a place where film buffs and the cinematographically emaciated can come together to think about what they’re watching in a low-stakes environment. Don’t worry if you can’t tell Aronofsky apart from Jodorowsky, we won’t care. We’re not necessarily here for film history or theory. We’re a symposium for the curious to discuss thoughts and ideas about what they watched. No wrong answers. Sure, we legally have to discuss the movies or run the risk of being slapped with a fine, but we discuss first and foremost because it’s an important part of the filmgoing experience. It takes film from passive entertainment to a conscious exploration of what this strange medium can be. Through discussion, we elevate film to the cultural canon that defines our human experience.
All this said, please don’t feel intimidated. The atmosphere in film club is nowhere near as academic as it may sound here. It’s a chill place where anyone curious enough to wander in is welcomed with open arms, “Gooble gobble, we accept you, we accept you, one of us!” If you get that reference, we expect to see you there. If you don’t, we hope you take the dive into the world of cinema with us.