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Michigan State University
Film Studies Program
Film Collective
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We are the professors, students, filmmakers, screenwriters, and cinéphiles at MSU who gather weekly in the course FLM 200 to watch and discuss good films. In the spirit of the Cinémathèque française and the generation of film critics and French New Wave directors it inspired, our collective abides by the principle that good film writing and good filmmaking (and just plain good living) begin with serious film watching.




“The human race has only one effective weapon and that is laughter.”- Mark Twain

Since its beginnings cinema has not only afforded us the “surprising glory of laughter,” it has used laughter to poke fun at pretense, prick inflated egos, and expose the flaws in our social and political fabric.  Parody, satire,observational comedy, black comedy, blue comedy, surreal comedy, mockumentary, cringe comedy, spoof, heritage comedy—so many ways to make us laugh at the world, or ourselves.  The Film Studies Program’s Spring 2018 Film Collective is dedicated to comedy.

Please note that the screenings will be at 7 p.m. on Thursdays at B122 Wells Hall.


1/18 Aristotle's Plot (Jean-Pierre Bekolo, 1996)

Presented by Ken Harrow

Aristotle’s Plot was the African entry in the British Film Institute’s series of films commemorating the centenary of cinema. Part meditation on the trials of African filmmaking, part action movie, and parody of Aristotelian and African preoccupations, it shows his skill as an “increasingly fearless trickster”.


1/25 Roger and Me (Michael Moore, 1989) 

Presented by John Valadez

Michigan native Michael Moore's début film Roger and Me not only broke new ground in its presentation of the documentary essay, but was also a commercial and critical success.  Released in 1989 the film is filled with caustic humor, and nearly 30 years later - in a post industrial age - remains relevant today. And with Michigan ingenuity - like so many of our students today - the film was made with little more than a camera, thoughtfulness, and audacity.


2/1 Carga Sellada/Sealed Cargo (Julia Vargas-Weise, 2015)

Presented in conjunction with the MSU LatinX Film Festival

Post Panel discussion led by Osvaldo Sandoval

With a promotion in the offing and his beautiful wife Nena at his side, things couldn't be better for ambitious policeman Hector Mariscal. Before he can enjoy the good life, though, a final, top-secret assignment must be carried out: to transport-by rail-a highly toxic cargo across Bolivia's high desert backcountry and "dispose" of it in a remote indigenous village. With kindly engineer Klinger guiding his beloved steam locomotive Federica, and presented with a crew of hapless cops and an unexpected young stowaway, Mariscal finds that there's much more on the line than he imagined in this sharp, energetic satire.


2/8 Without You I'm Nothing (John Boskovich, 1990)

Presented by Ellen McCallum

Sandra Bernhard stars in a studio version of her off-Broadway show, blending re-enactments of the original show's pieces with concept vignettes and 'testimonials' to underscore the relationship between a performer and an audience.


2/15 Waiting For Guffman (Christopher Guest, 1996)

Presented by Dan Smith

This mockumentary follows the irrepressible Corky St. Clair as he writes and directs a musical extravaganza for the sesquicentennial of Blaine, Missouri. When he invites a New York agent to scout the show for a potential Broadway run, will the community rise to the occasion? Quirky characters tread on the edge of success and failure in a film at the edge of comedy and documentary, combining scripted and improvisational techniques.


2/22 The Big Lebowski (Joel and Ethan Coen, 1998)

Presented by Justus Nieland

Jeff Bridges plays Jeff Lebowski who insists on being called "the Dude," a laid-back, easygoing burnout who happens to have the same name as a millionaire whose wife owes a lot of dangerous people a whole bunch of money -- resulting in the Dude having his rug soiled, sending him spiraling into the Los Angeles underworld.


3/1 The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Luis Buñuel, 1972)

Presented by Lily Woodruff

The ambassador of the Latin American republic of Miranda, M. Thevenot, his wife Simone and her sister Florence arrive for a dinner party at the house of Alice Sénéchal and her husband Henri, only to learn that they were mistaken about the date. In director Luis Buñuel's surreal fantasy, the six bourgeois friends repeatedly gather for a dinner that never quite arrives.


3/15 Soodhu Kavvum/Evil Engulfs (Nalan Kumarasamy, 2013)

Presented by Amrutha Kunapulli

Two unemployed young men meet a rather fringe character called Das. Das is essentially a courteous kidnapper. If he had any wealth, he could be called a gentleman kidnapper. And it's the three trying to pull a high profile kidnapping, but other characters come in to mess it up. All the while, they're being chased by a mute cop who's very good at what he does. The movie features several great character actors from the industry and insane music.


3/22 Divine Intervention (Elia Suleiman, 2002)

Presented by Kaveh Askari

Elia Suleiman’s most perverse film. Between Nazareth, Jerusalem and Ramallah, ES (Suleiman) and his lover (Manal Khader), unable to escape the long hours spent waiting at Israeli checkpoints, encounter an increasingly bizarre series of events with deadpan resolve. This absurdist take on the experience of occupation, drawing from a tradition that runs from Buster Keaton through Jacques Tati, unfolds like a slow-motion silent film comedy.


3/29 Buzzard (Joel Potrykus, 2014)

Presented by Joel Potrykus

Paranoia forces small-time scam artist Marty to hide-out in his co-worker's basement while his latest con cools off. With nothing but a pocket full of bogus checks, a bladed Nintendo Power Glove, and a bad temper, he eventually splits for Detroit.


4/5 Bamboozled (Spike Lee, 2000)

Presented by Josh Lam

A blistering satire of network television's pitfalls and prejudices, a humorous look at how race, ratings and the pursuit of power lead to a television writer's stunning rise and tragic downfall. Pierre Delacroix, a young, Harvard-educated man, who is the sole person of color, writing for an upstart network with floundering ratings. Despite several attempts, Delacroix has yet to see any of his concepts go into production.


4/12 Tilsammens/Together (Lucas Moodysson, 2000)

Presented by Bill Vincent

In 1970s Sweden, the commune “Together” discovers that it definitely is not together.  Gradually, the group reforms and rediscovers what they were looking for in the first place.

4/19 Student Film Showcase

Presented by Pete Johnston


4/26 Who Framed Roger Rabbit (Robert Zemeckis, 1988)

Presented by Mihaela Mihailova

Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a live-action/animated film based on Gary K. Wolf's 1981 novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit? In this movie's version of 1940s Hollywood, the cartoon inhabitants of the animated Toontown regularly work and interact with human characters. After Roger Rabbit, a toon, becomes the prime suspect in the murder of human businessman Marvin Acme, it is up to private eye Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) to unravel the truth. The film, which celebrates its thirtieth anniversary this year, remains a landmark in both animation filmmaking and the history of American entertainment more broadly. Despite not being the first live-action/animation hybrid, Who Framed Roger Rabbit elevated the fusion between these two cinematic modes aesthetically and technologically, resulting in a visually stunning and hilarious love letter to classical animation and film noir.