What the heck was happening when we were kids?
The 20th century was coming to an end and there was a revolution in cinema. No matter what film we would be watching at that time, most of them would be visually attractive and full of topics that are still important nowadays. An ordinary AEGEE member could come with this question: “How can I introduce these films in a “cinefórum?”
So, what is “cinefórum”? Well, it is a social meeting in which participants discuss a film, its plot and dramatic arc of the characters, the way it was filmed, what topics are tackled on it… but also about the political and social atmosphere during its filming, as it was seen before in the first part of the series about the links between cinema, Europe and AEGEE.
As in the 80s, the 90s were an important time for AEGEE, Europe and the cinema: the collapse of communism, the war in the former Yugoslavia came to the end, the beginning of the integration of Eastern Europe into the European Union in a few years and the reunification of Germany. AEGEE experienced its huge expansion by the foundation of new locals all across Europe. It was also restructured, being established the CD headquarters in Brussels (Belgium) and made its appearance the Network Commission to improve practices in antennae. In other words: Europe was a party, integration and a borderless continent seemed to be possible and we were all connected easier than before by the Internet and GPS technologies developments.
So, being an AEGEE member in the 90s was a real job in which members had to do lots of things to accomplish missions, means and goals, even by using cinema in those social meetings. Anyway, it was 20 years ago…Now we are facing a considerable challenge: how to make it interesting for participants nowadays? How can a film be used to talk about the general objectives of AEGEE or about the issues that are worked within any Working Group, Interest Group or other European Bodies? And what should be the dynamics in one of these cinema sessions?
First pitch! Will it be successful?
Let’s go first with a real fact. A member could propose a cinefórum to his/her local board. In 90% of possibilities the board members will say: “Ok, we will take your proposal in account with the others. Thank you”. And then it could not be put into practice. Why? There are lots of factors.
The main one is that every day a local board can receive an overwhelming amount of ideas of projects, deciding on working with some particular topics, but rejecting others. With that, some members have to adapt to the reality of the local antenna life. Maybe there are other reasons behind, like individual tastes of young people or is not the right moment to put it in practice.
Advice 1! How to make a real buy-in?
Members that come up with organizing cinefórums should not be sad or disappointed. One of the advantages of being into this small world of AEGEE is that there are always second chances and everybody can improve themselves about how to make real projects from rawcinefórum more attractive. Normally, they think generally about how to organize it and what kinds of dynamics to introduce to make it more enjoyable and non-formal. But it is just a mandatory thing. What else members need to know are the following:
- better knowledge of tastes, sensibility, way of working, hobbies etc. of their mates and their local board;
- what the crucial topics the local board would like to promote and discuss, looking for the most suitable film.
Don’t forget that information is power. But it is truly powerful when you know how to use it.
Advice 2! How do you enjoy what you are doing?
The next step is making a good promotion of your activity between your mates by using social media (local boards will help in the process) and making a budget necessities (meals, posters to promote the activity etc.) to hold a movie session. It could be a situation that in a first film session, there will not be so many members as organizers expect or all things will run smoothly.
Just remember one special and universal rule: do not have expectancies about how would it be and enjoy the session as it goes. If organizers adopt this mindset, they will be more relaxed and everything will work alone, improving each session during a year. The most important rule is to keep the rhythm and other members will help you from the shape of their heart.
Advice 3! Where to find an appropriate movie?
Ok, what films should be used? There is a small list of 1990s films that could be used in cinefórumsit and watch them, say goodbye to some prejudices and… say hello to a borderless taste in a cinema! Lights, camera and…
- Total Recall (Paul Verhoeven, 1990): the film expresses the idea of that period and even of the 21st Century: reality is not what we think about and everything we see with our eyes is false. According to that sentence, and because the knowledge of reality is modified by external elements (media and the Internet) it makes possible debates about topics that could be tackled in the programmes of some Interest Groups.
- Social topics in 90s cinema: from Boyz N The Hood (John Singleton, 1991) to Ken Loach’s Raining Stones (1993), The Full Monty (Peter Cattaneo, 1997) and La Haine (Mathieu Kassovitz, 1995). Social problems were a constant in the three last decades of the 20th Century and victims of economic crises, social and racial inequality and other problems got together in all these films, from the depressed outskirts of big towns to rural and industrial areas.
- Topics linked with AEGEE WG and IG:
- gender equality – Thelma & Louise (Ridley Scott, 1991);
- sexual orientation – Philadelphia (Johnathan Demme, 1993);
- psychological problems of contemporary society – Falling Down (Joel Schumacher, 1993);
- harassment and family problems – The Celebration (Thomas Vinterberg, 1998)
- impact of TV and media in the human mind – Natural Born Killers (Oliver Stone, 1994).
- Critical thinking exposing the effects of the opposite side:
- climate change and overpopulation – Delicatessen (Jean Pierre Genet and Marc Caro, 1991);
- drug problems and disaffection of the youth – Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting (1996);
- human rights – La Vita e Bella (Roberto Begnini, 1997);
- a mix of racism, religious fanaticism and occultist madness – El día de la Bestia (Alex de la Iglesia, 1995).
- Sci-fi and horror movies about “the Terrors of the year 2000”:
- the decline of Western countries – Seven (David Fincher, 1995) and Fight Club (David Fincher, 1999);
- a distorted vision of reality – Abre los Ojos (Alejandro Amenábar, 1997);
- technophobia –Ghost in the Shell (Mamoru Oshii, 1995);
- The Ring (Hideo Nakata, 1998);
- virtual harassment – Perfect Blue (Satoshi Kon, 1997).
Mixed with other previous films and other elements of different nations from all around the world the Wachowski Brothers (then sisters) made The Matrix (1999) as the final sum-up of an era and a century: a digital reality has replaced the real one and Neo (Keanu Reeves) has been chosen to fight against those that want to keep it working.
There are more films in decade that were thought-provoking, is it the current AEGEE ready to use them during events? Could it be mixed with TV series and other films of other periods? All of them could give some tips to act for better than before in this world? Few people ask themselves those questions because the beginning of the new millennium was taken as a party during New Year’s Eve. Many AEGEE members, and other people, could not imagine what was on the other side of the corner…