International Cinema Celebrates 50th Anniversary Kick-off

PROVO, Utah (September 7, 2018)–BYU International Cinema (IC) began their 50th-anniversary celebration this Fall Semester with an outdoor double feature. Participants had the opportunity to see both Faces Places (French, Varda and JR, 2017) and Cinema Paradiso (Italian, Tornatore, 1988). The event included a churro stand, popcorn, and plenty of moviegoers eager to see both films. Associate professor of comparative arts & letters Chip Oscarson, one of IC’s current codirectors, announced several changes in the IC schedule for the 2018–19 school year. Films will be screened Wednesday through Saturday evenings weekly, and lectures have been moved to Wednesdays at 5:00 p.m. For the first time in nearly 20 years, IC will also be offering a matinee show Fridays at 3:00 p.m.

In light of the program’s 50th anniversary, we took the time to ask those who attended the kick-off what IC means to them. Each person had a unique perspective, but there were a few common themes among the answers we heard.

IC Brings People Together

Art, and cinema in particular, has the innate ability to bring people together. Going out to see a film is, itself, a group activity where people from different places with different backgrounds all gather to share a few precious hours absorbed in a film’s message. Often, a film can have a great impact on those who are open to hear its ideas, and sharing that experience can create a lasting bond between people. This is what Becca and Blake S. love most about IC. It was, after all, their first date! Blake recalled how he was having a horrible day and decide to go to one of IC’s evening showings of Wild Strawberries (Swedish, Bergman, 1957). Becca decided to go with him, and the two made it a habit. Blake said, “That semester we went probably 20 times, and we got the t-shirts and now we’re back!” The two still enjoy attending IC often—together, of course!

IC Presents Different Perspectives

IC offers a unique selection of films from different countries and in different languages. Many find this to be one of their favorite parts of the program, as it is an opportunity to see things they wouldn’t otherwise. Tim, a linguistics major, had this to say about the opportunities IC gives him: “I just feel like it opens up a different world of understanding. It’s a different way to look at things. You can see into how things are somewhere else in the world or in someone else’s life, so it’s pretty interesting.” Like Tim, many people we talked to loved how IC broadened and sharpened their worldview. 

Though IC means something different for everyone, to many of those we spoke with, it has proven to be one of the best ways to learn outside the classroom and, thus, earned its golden-anniversary status. The films introduce new ideas and cultures, all while connecting viewers to those around them. The best part? IC is free and open to the public. Anyone is welcome to attend, and all are encouraged to explore the wonderful worlds these films offer.

For more information about BYU International Cinema, check out their website:

—Jensyn Eubank, English, 2020