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College of Arts and Letters | Michigan State University


THE MSU Film Collective

We are the professors, students, filmmakers, screenwriters, and cinephiles at MSU who gather weekly to watch and discuss good films. In the spirit of the Cinématèque 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.

All are welcome, screenings are free. Thursdays, B122 Wells Hall at 8PM.

In addition to attending the Film Collective screenings, students may enroll in a one-credit independent study, ENG 490, which requires regular attendance and participation throughout the semester. For details and enrollment requests, contact Professor Ellen McCallum (

Spring 2014 Series | The Unfilmable

(Click image to download the poster)

This series focuses on films that push the limits of representability in some way, striving for the impossible in form, narrative, or subject matter. From experimental films that toy with the limits of medium to horror films that hinge on not showing, from films about what cannot be made into a film, to films made from an impossible vantage point--of dreams, hallucinations, or drug trips. What do we show when we show the unfilmable?

1/16 - Reassemblage | 1/23 - Lost in La Mancha | 1/30 - Teorema | 2/6 - Incendies

2/13 - Possession | 2/20 - Jackie Brown | 2/27 - Grizzly Man

3/13 - Gently Down the Stream; But No One; Rules of the Road | 3/20 - Wadjda

3/27 - The Phantom of Liberty | 4/3 - Pumzi and From a Whisper | 4/10 - Three Colors: Blue

4/17 - Party | 4/24 - Student Short Film Showcase



1/16 - Reassemblage (1983)

Dir: Trinh T. Minh-ha

Presented by Professor Ken Harrow

Women are the focus but not the object of Trinh T. Minh-ha’s influential first film, a complex visual study of the women of rural Senegal. Through a complicity of interaction between film and spectator, REASSEMBLAGE reflects on documentary filmmaking and the ethnographic representation of cultures.

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1/23 - Lost in La Mancha (2002)

Dirs: Keith Fulton, Louis Pepe

Presented by Professor Pat O'Donnell

There's no shortage of disaster stories in the history of film production, but none have been recorded with such frankness, immediacy and aching sense of disappointment as in Lost in La Mancha… entertaining and instructive... a tantalizing memorial.

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1/30 - Teorema (1968)

Dir: Pier Pasolini

Presented by Professor David Bering-Porter

Terence Stamp is known only as "The Visitor" in Pier Paolo Pasolini's Teorema. The mysterious stranger insinuates himself into the home of a wealthy Italian family, where he exerts a curious, sensual spirituality over everyone in the household. Director Pasolini adapted the screenplay of Teorema from his own novel.

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2/6 - Incendies (2010)

Dir: Denis Villeneuve

Presented by Professor Salah Hassan

Part of the Muslim Studies Program's Lebanese Civil Wars Conference

Director Denis Villeneuve adapts Wajdi Mouawad's play concerning a pair of twins who make a life-altering discovery following the death of their mother. Upon learning that their absentee father is still very much alive and they also have a brother they have never met, the pair travels to the Middle East on a mission to uncover the truth about their mystery-shrouded past.

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2/13 - Possession (1981)

Dir: Andrezej Zulawski

Presented by Professor Joshua Yumibe

Usually misattributed to the horror genre, this challenging and highly unusual drama stars Isabelle Adjani as a young woman who forsakes her husband (Sam Neill) and her lover (Heinz Bennent) for a bizarre, tentacled creature that she keeps in a run-down Berlin apartment.

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2/20 - Jackie Brown (1997)

Dir: Quentin Tarantino

Presented by Dan Kneece (A-cam and Steadicam operator on the film)

Part of the College of Arts & Letters Global Film Series

A flight attendant becomes a key figure in a plot between the police and an arms dealer in Quentine Tarantino's follow up to Pulp Fiction

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2/27 - Grizzly Man (2005)

Dir: Werner Herzog

Presented by Professor Matthew Handelman

A devastating and heartrending take on grizzly bear activists Timothy Treadwell and Amie Huguenard, who were killed in October of 2003 while living among grizzlies in Alaska.

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3/13 - Gently Down the Stream (1981); But No One (1982); Rules of the Road (1993)

Dir: Su Friedrich

Presented by Graduate Student Sarah Panuska

Su Friedrich has directed twenty-three films and videos since 1978, which have been featured in eighteen retrospectives at major museums and film festivals, including one at the Museum of Modern Art in 2007. The films have been widely screened at film festivals, universities and art centers, have been extensively written about, and have won numerous awards.

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3/20 - Wadjda (2012)

Dir: Haifaa Al-Mansour

Presented by Professor Terrion Williamson

An enterprising Saudi girl signs on for her school's Koran recitation competition as a way to raise the remaining funds she needs in order to buy the green bicycle that has captured her interest.

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3/27 - The Phantom of Liberty (1974)

Dir: Luis Buñuel

Presented by Professor Justus Nieland

Bourgeois convention is demolished in Luis Buñuel’s surrealist gem The Phantom of Liberty. Featuring an elegant soiree with guests seated at toilet bowls, poker-playing monks using religious medals as chips, and police officers looking for a missing girl who is right under their noses, this perverse, playfully absurd comedy of non sequiturs deftly compiles many of the themes that preoccupied Buñuel throughout his career—from the hypocrisy of conventional morality to the arbitrariness of social arrangements.

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4/3 - Pumzi and From a Whisper (2009)

Dir: Wanuri Kahiu

Part of the Global South Symposium

Director Wanuri Kahiu will be in attendance, visiting from Kenya

Pumzi: A sci-fi film about Africa in the future, 35 years after World War III, the water war.

From a Whisper: When an intelligence officer and a young, rebellious artist discover that they both lost somebody in the US Embassy bombing 10 years ago, they learn how to confront their fears and forgive.

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4/10 - Three Colors: Blue (1993)

Dir: Krysztof Kieślowski

Presented by Professor Bill Vincent

In the devastating first film of the Three Colors trilogy, Juliette Binoche gives a tour de force performance as Julie, a woman reeling from the tragic deaths of her husband and young daughter.

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4/17 - Party (1984)

Dir: Govind Nihalani

Presented by Professor Swarnavel Pillai

A rich middle-aged widow hosts a party in honour of a celebrated playwright and novelist, who has received a prestigious literary award. The party attracts the literary and cultural elite of the town. One name keeps cropping up in the course of the conversation: Amrit, a writer of immense talent and potential, once very much patronized by this set. He is the invisible thread binding the tapestry of the film together, his enigmatic presence finally becoming more meaningful and poignant than all the rest.

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4/24 - Student Short Films Showcase

Dirs: Our Students!

Presented by Pete Johnston

Join us in celebrating the accomplishments of our students with this showcase of the best of their films throughout the year, including fiction, documentary and experimental shorts.

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