More than just a movie
With the loss of UA's Gallagher Theater, students have encountered new problems searching for movie theaters in Tucson.
Concerns with distance, high ticket prices, the lack of amenities and formulaic films beleaguer would-be patrons.
However, when attempting to find quality entertainment, students need not look any further than their own campus.
Every Friday night at 7:30 the Modern Languages Auditorium comes to life with the best in both international and domestic film. All shows are free and open to the public.
The series began in 1953 and ran continuously until the spring of 1990. However, last fall, English professor Charles Scruggs, brought back the festival to the University of Arizona and the Tucson community at large.
"Getting it off the ground was the important thing," Scruggs said. "Students are hungry for films, and the Gallagher does a good job at offering American movies. We are the alternative."
"Alternative" is certainly the operative word. Everything from French orphans to Brazilian schoolteachers to 19th century Siberian hunters are featured in the 15 movies of the Spring 2000 series.
"We tried to mix the old and new, the comedies and tragedies, various sources of foreign film," said Scruggs. "What we put together is a potpourri of different filmic experiences."
Among the films being screened are Akira Kurosawa's Academy Award winning "Dersu Uzala," and the 1947, British film noir classic, "Odd Man Out."
"The program is a way of reintroducing how good these movies really are," said Scruggs.
Mary Beth Haralovich, Ph.D., head of the Media Arts Department, noted the quality of the screening location.
"These films are being shown at the fabulous Modern Languages Auditorium," she said. "It's the best it has ever been, and a high quality way to welcome the community to UA."
While some students might find subtitles frustrating, Media Arts Graduate Student Bea Ruiz recalled the significance of international film.
"It's always refreshing to see something different from your typical 'Die Hard,'" she said. "International films give a twist to our world where movies are ubiquitous."
One of the major highlights of this semester's IAS program takes place this Friday with the screening of "War of the Roses." While many students might not know Michael Leeson, they do know his work. Leeson, Scruggs' former student and 1969 UA graduate, wrote teleplays for 'Taxi,' one of which won an Emmy.
During his time on the show, he met star Danny DeVito. The two collaborated again on "War of the Roses." Immediately following this week's screening, Leeson will talk to the audience about his experiences in the entertainment industry
Another special guest will also be making an appearance with Leeson, but his identity, which Scruggs called a "happy accident," remains a mystery.
"My daughter was one of the reasons I wanted to revive the festival," said Scruggs, who remained hopeful about the on-going existence of the program.
With its continuing success this semester, the festival will still be around when she comes to UA.