Sunday, May 8, 2011

"I knew two things for sure...

I'd love to include things like this from time to time. It's a reaction to the Cinema 100 experience by first time season ticket holder Kelsey Schable:

Throughout the course of this semester, I have searched for an opportunity to immerse myself in a different culture in order to complete my cultural event project. My efforts had been mostly futile, due to the low number of cultural events located in the Bismarck-Mandan area. It occurred to me that perhaps I was being too simplistic in my cultural views and should look beyond race and ethnicity to find a group of people with completely different interests than my own. To my chagrin, I did not even realize that I had been attending a significant cultural event every Thursday afternoon for months in the form Cinema 100, a club that regularly shows new and remarkable films at the Grand Theatres weekly. Cinema 100 is unique because the people who attend the showings of these films not only have their own culture, but they involve themselves in other cultures with the medium of film.

I was first introduced to Cinema 100 through my fiancé, a local director, movie enthusiast, and board member of Cinema 100. It was his first year working with the organization and every Thursday afternoon he would have to disappear to the Grand Theatres to take tickets and view a different film. The members of Cinema 100 took great pains to find the perfect blend of films in order to expose the people of Bismarck to captivating movies that range from foreign films to classics. On the first week of the Spring 2011 Cinema 100 showing, my fiancé halfheartedly asked me to join him, knowing that it was unlikely that I would give up my Thursday afternoon to sit in a crowded movie theatre. I surprised him and myself by accepting his offer.

The first week I attended Cinema 100, I paid six dollars to watch a documentary about Joan Rivers. Although the documentary was provocative and feisty, the electric atmosphere was more stimulating than the film. Veterans who had attended Cinema 100 showings for years lingered with one another before the movie and were the first ones out of the theatre, bursting with critiques. Newbies, like me, were more reserved. I liked the vibe, but I was cautious about giving my opinion about the film with so many vivacious personalities surrounding me. As I drove away from the Grand Theatres, I knew two things for sure: Joan Rivers was a dynamite comedienne and I was purchasing a season pass to Cinema 100.

In the weeks following, I attended four other films presented by Cinema 100. I enjoyed viewing films that were different than the romantic comedies and explosive action films one usually sees in theatres. As the weeks wore on, my misgivings about expressing my opinions gave way to the fun of debating with other Thursday afternoon film critics. I realized that the Cinema 100 culture is built on the idea that everyone has an inner film critic, and that those who attend have inner critics that cannot be satisfied by the regular blockbusters of the week. This culture is exceptional because the members may not be the same race, age, or religion, but they have the same yearn for education through film and spirited debate.

While my cultural event project may have been atypical, that is fine with me. In fact, it may even be preferable. Cultural diversity is something to be celebrated and explored, especially because the fact that all people belong to the same, human culture can sometimes be forgotten. I have found that not only does it pay off to expose oneself to different cultures, but that every once in a while one may find another culture to which one belongs.

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