Lights, Camera, Action: JCW Film Club is March's Senior Program of the Month

Greenwich House’s Judith C. White Senior Center has set out to help its members rediscover the art of movie making. With recent hits at the box office dominated by action packed, computer animated sequels like Mission Impossible, Star Wars and Jurassic Park, the Greenwich House Film Club strives to make quality, unconventional and artistic films, new and old accessible to a larger audience.

The twice weekly film series is curated by Center Director Anthony Cilione with introductions and discussions facilitated by Center Member Gary Friedman.

Friedman, a graphic designer by trade, is an avid movie buff - had filmography been an option when he was enrolling in college he would have been the first to sign up, he noted.  Friedman spends two weeks preparing his introduction and discussion for each film.

“I research the film’s background and its context: how it relates to the director’s other work; to other movements in film; to world events at the time,” said Friedman. During a recent screening of  2001: A Space Odyssey, Friedman recalled the coincidences of timing and the special-effects used in the movie; the film was released just weeks before the first moon landing.   Conspiracy theorists later claimed that the film’s director, Stanley Kubrick was involved in faking the landing. “That film really defined the space age, on and off screen, for decades to come,” he noted.

For the Maltese Falcon, Friedman’s post film discussion focused on the changing response to film noir over time. Friedman collected reviews from different publications at different times so people could see how attitudes towards the film and the film noire style have changed. Once considered cheap entertainment, film noir and the Maltese Falcon are considered classic art house works today.

“I want to help the other members develop a film vocabulary,” Friedman continued.  His discussions also focus on how the film was edited, camera movement, lighting and frame design.

The Film Club doesn’t just screen classics either. What are sure to be modern classics are also played, including Spotlight, Brooklyn, The Marian and Inside Llewyn Davis – which led to an interesting conversation on how Greenwich Village is portrayed in film, with many members being Village residents, some since the 1960s.

The Film Club meets every Monday and Wednesday. Films are shown in HD on one of two five feet or eight feet flat screens. For a complete schedule and list of show times, visit greenwichhouse.org/seniors.

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