CINEMA FORUM IN SPANISH ON AMERICAN FILM, NEW ACTIVITY AT THE LIBRARY
Cinema is one of the passions of the users of the library of the International Institute. Its collection of more than 3000 films on DVD, specializing in Spanish-language and American films and including fiction, documentaries and television series, is one of its best claims. For this reason, it makes sense and is especially relevant that we at the library have considered carrying out an activity linked to cinema, resuming similar initiatives carried out successfully in the past.
Different options were evaluated before launching it in this 2015-2016 academic year and finally it was decided to launch a cinema forum on American cinema in which, for the first time at the Institute, the film would be screened in its entirety (in the original version with subtitles) with a subsequent colloquium in Spanish (to broaden the spectrum of interested public). It has been proposed as a different way of learning more about the classics of North American cinema and, indirectly, features of the life and history of the country.
We are fortunate that the activity has been included in the cultural program of American Space Madrid, which, in addition to subsidizing the colloquium, is in charge of the screening licenses for the chosen films. For this reason, it is a free activity that only requires registration through the website of the International Institute.
From the beginning of the planning of the activity, it seemed to us that the ideal moderator would be Professor Anita Haas, who has been teaching the “American Cinema” course for years within the American Cultural Studies (ACS) program of the Institute. Anita has lived in Madrid since the nineties and combines teaching English with writing and her love of cinema. She has published the book “Eli Wallach. Vitality and mischief” and in collaboration with her husband Carlos Aguilar the books “John Phillip Law: Diabolik Angel” and “Eugenio Martín: an author for all genres”.
The selection of titles was made by Anita based on the work “History through cinema. United States: a look at her collective imagination” by Coro Rubio Pobes (editor) that was proposed to her from the library. For this reason the films have been organized in chronological order and indirectly deal with different moments in the country's history.
The cinema forum, like the reading club in the field of literature, creates a very powerful dynamic to discover and learn in groups: they complete the individual viewing experience through shared analysis and dialogue that arises in the subsequent colloquium, allowing to contrast different points of view and discover new perspectives.
Like the rest of the library's activities, it is organized once a month from September to June and usually takes place on a Tuesday from 18:21 p.m. to 21:30 p.m. The duration of the colloquium is one hour and begins at 20:30 p.m.
The following films have been chosen for this cycle: "The conquest of the West" (How the West was won / 1962), "Centaurs of the desert" (The Searchers / 1956), "The grapes of wrath" (The Grapes of Wrath / 1940), “Citizen Kane” (Citizen Kan / 1941), “Ultimatum to the Earth” (The Day the Earth still/ 1951), “The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming” (The Russians Are Coming! / 1951 ), “Taxi Driver” (Taxi Driver / 1976), “The smoke screen” (Wag the Dog / 1997) and “Gran Torino” (Gran Torino / 2008).
We hope that this activity can be consolidated within the program of the Institute and the American Space Madrid and that thanks to it we can better understand why cinema is the seventh art.