After 50 strong years, Harpur Cinema deserves a massive round of applause. Started during the 1965-1966 school year as the Harpur Film Society, the group’s annual screenings have brought a variety of international, independent and historical films to Binghamton University’s campus.
Originally run by a group of faculty members from various romance language departments, the initial hope for the Society was to appeal to an audience from the Binghamton community, as well as to serve campus’ students and faculty. In 1983, the cinema department took the project over and, in 2009, its name was changed to Harpur Cinema.
Cinema professor Joyce Jesionowski, programmer of Harpur Cinema, has high hopes for the 50th anniversary lineup.
“I’ve tried to program films of special merit for the fall 2015 part of the 50th anniversary,” Jesionowski said.
Students, faculty members and Binghamton community members all came out to support the start of Harpur Cinema’s season. The series kicked off on September 25 with a screening of Jean Renoir’s 1952 film, “The Golden Coach.”
“’The Golden Coach’ is one of my favorite films, and I’ve been waiting for a while to find the right season to show it,” Jesionowski said. “The golden anniversary of the series seemed like the right time at last.”
Chantal Rodais, a professor in the cinema department, spoke briefly about the history of Harpur Cinema. Following this, romance language and literature professor Dora Polachek discussed the film and its director.
For those who didn’t begin the evening with extensive knowledge of the film, Polachek’s words proved useful. She mentioned that the only award that the film won was for its costume design, an aspect of the film that may have been overlooked if it had not been brought to the audience’s attention.
One of the most exciting events that Harpur Cinema is putting on this semester will be Philip Carli’s live musical performance for the screening of King Vidor’s silent masterpiece, “The Crowd.” Dr. Carli will be Harpur Cinema’s first-ever live musician.
Jesionowski, who has been choosing the film lineups since 2008, is proud of Harpur Cinema for having a wide variety of films at the screenings.
“I’ve tried to program films that would appeal to and reflect the rich cultural, racial and gender diversity of Binghamton community patrons,” she explained.
In addition to the array of films offered, the series allows viewers to experience these motion pictures in a true cinematic setting. Harpur Cinema works to maintain a large-screen theater format so that viewers have the opportunity to watch the film as it was meant to be seen.
Harpur Cinema tickets cost $4, and the screenings will take place in Lecture Hall 6 every Friday and Sunday night until November 13. The full schedule is posted on the cinema department’s website.