By Ye Yuan
On the sixth floor of the B building, not accessible via the commonly used escalators, lies a mysteriously hidden boutique cinema.
Stepping on to the sixth floor was like walking into another dimension. The usual student clutter of desks and computers is replaced by fibrously painted white studios either filled with rows of easels or strangely beautiful objects.
It’s a perfect fit for Monash Film department’s newly renovated cinema, where Associate Professor Deane Williams plans to hold monthly showcases of alternative films that are hard to find in commercial cinemas.
For its opening screening this week, Associate Prof Williams chose the recent martial arts filmThe Grandmaster, by famed Hong-Kong second-wave filmmaker Wong Kar-wai. “In film studies, Wong Kar-wai’s a big name,” says Prof Williams.
“We use quite a few of his films in our teaching. “Everyone’s talking about this film as a ‘back to form’; My Blueberry Nights, his previous film, was not received so well and did poorly at the box office.”
Mostly known for his portrayal of drama and romance, this is Wong’s first dabbling in the realm of martial arts.
“In recent years, one of the things people have been saying is that martial arts films have become a bit predictable and what Wong’s done … was turned it into a very epic and highly stylized choreographed film, which seems to be less about the fighting then about the way in which they are represented,” Associate Prof Williams said.
“One of the key scenes is … it’s not a fight scene, the Grandmaster Yip Man is trying to knock a cake out of his hand … so it’s more about the choreographing, the shooting and the very complicated special arrangements that he constructs with his camera and editing.”
Critics have found many technical pleasures in the film.
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone magazine said: “You leave this deeply flawed, deeply beautiful film with no doubt that you’ve seen an indisputable cinematic grandmaster in action.”
However, martial arts fans might be sorely disappointed as the film is less about the action and more about the artistic depiction of the action.
The new film venue at Monash was previously used as a video promotions studio. With the arrival of the digital age, the room’s function was rendered obsolete, and it had been out of use for five or six years before being rediscovered and revamped by the film department.
Films to be shown will usually run as supplementary to course content, providing students with further insight on key issues.
Future screenings on the list include the Pussy Riot documentary, Made in America and Sweet Grass.
Tribute to FSS alumnus Adrian Slattery
Film and Screen Studies staff, and the Monash community, are saddened to hear of the death of alumni student, Adrian Slattery, on May 14, 2016.
The Other Paris: Public Seminar with Luc Sante
In his only Melbourne engagement, acclaimed author Luc Sante talks about the why and how of his recent book, The Other Paris (2016), including a reading from a chapter titled “Zone.” Sante will present in Building B at Monash’s Caulfield campus in Room B5.37 on Thursday, May 26 from 6.30pm to 8pm.
Verevis invited to present at Berlin conference
Monash’s School of Media, Film and Journalism academic Associate Professor Constantine Verevis has been invited as a speaker for the Seriality, Seriality, Seriality conference in June.
Monash University launches innovative media lab
A state-of-the-art media lab will be officially launched at Monash University’s Caulfield campus on April 7.
Hitting the target, Hou Hsiao-hsien style
A public lecture, Hitting the Target, Hou Hsiao-hsien Style, will be held on March 15 from 5pm to 7pm at Monash University in the Menzies Building S704.
Masterclass: AV essays as creative research
The Film, Media and Communications Program will conduct a Masterclass on audiovisual essays as creative research on Tuesday, March 1 at 2pm to 4pm in the theatrette, Building B, Room B537 on Caulfield campus.
David Lynch and David Bowie: Outside / Twin Peaks
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Meeting the Rebel Master of the World Cinema
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The Cinema of Sean Penn to launch in St Kilda
Monash University’s Associate Professor Deane Williams, an expert in film and screen studies, will celebrate the launch of his new book, The Cinema of Sean Penn: In and Out of Place at Readings, Acland St, St Kilda on February 25 at 6pm.
PhD Scholarships in Australian Film, Television and Media History
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Public Lecture: Lesley Stern – How Does (the) Cinema Feel About (the) Animal?
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Getting to know … Therese Davis
Monash University film lecturer Associate Professor Therese Davis is co-writing a book about Australian Indigenous filmmaking with Dr Romaine Moreton, who is a philosopher and Indigenous filmmaker.