Belmont hosts R-rated film series

A far cry from the animated offerings of the past, Belmont will be hosting a film series featuring four movies rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America followed by an academic discussion on each.

This semester they proudly present “1999: The Year that Changed Movies.”

The film series includes four films from the year 1999. Starting on Feb. 4 and continuing the following Tuesdays, they will screen “Fight Club,” “The Matrix,” “American Beauty” and “Being John Malkovich.”

Following each movie, Dr. Devon Boan, a professor in the Honors Program, will lead a discussion on the general impact of the film and its impact on the film industry, or “how that film represents a new generation of ‘interesting and intelligent’ filmmaking.”

Attendance brings with it convocation credit, categorized as Culture and Arts credit.

Hosting a film series of this sort was originally the idea of Belmont freshman Stephen Sesso, developed with Boan his first semester in the Honors Program.

The selected movies are significantly darker with “adult themes, adult activity, hard language, intense or persistent violence, sexually-oriented nudity, drug abuse or other elements” leading to every film to earn a R rating.

Despite the ratings, Dr. Boan did not experience any conflict getting the film series approved by the school administration.

“Getting the film series on the calendar was done through the convocation approval process, which required that I submit an application with the details of the event,” said Boan. “I didn’t receive any objections about the content from anyone at Belmont, and wouldn’t really have expected to for films of such critical acclaim as the four in this year’s series.”

All four were nominated for Academy Awards.  “American Beauty” took away more Oscars that year than any other film, winning five categories including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director.  “The Matrix” followed closely with four wins, including Visual Effects and Film Editing.

Other than the fact that all four films were released in the year 1999, all are very different.

They take place in settings as diverse as suburban America, a futuristic dystopia, and John Malkovich’s psyche.  Boan explains that the differences between these movies add to their collective strength.

“The diversity among these films is a big reason why 1999 was such an interesting year.  Each of them bent reality in such an innovative and idiosyncratic way that it was clear to anyone paying attention, and certainly to a generation who cut their teeth on these movies, that movies in the 21st century would be a different experience than those in the 20th century,” said Boan.  “These four are only a taste of how rich that year’s film experience was, but they should inspire some engaging discussion during our conversation after each film.”

More details and information on the series can be found on the BIC calendar.

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