New film minor goes hand in hand with classic series

Movie lovers alike can follow their interest with the recent addition of an interdisciplinary film studies minor.
The minor was organized in part by Associate Professor of History John Olszowka, Ph.D., but includes many more disciplines to make up the coursework. It includes history, English and communication classes, with a small sampling of psychology.

Olszowka describes it as a “broad, interdisciplinary study.”

The minor was first conceived because many Mercyhurst professors teach film-based classes. This group realized that the benefits of film in education far outweigh how the medium is being used on campus currently. It should not be a passive experience.

“We live in an age where people are more visual than ever,” said Olszowka. “We can utilize film for every major and subject, and we can teach people to be critical about what they are seeing. We need to be critical and learn. I look at film as a primary source.”

The film series that runs this year celebrates the Golden Age of Cinema. Olszowka prefers this time period of movies the most.

“I love film, and I love watching old movies,” he said.

The film series is made possible because of an Academic Enrichment Grant from the university for this academic year. The Academic Enrichment Grant program allows professors to apply for grants that will enhance the academic environment in some way.

Films that have been shown this year include “The Philadelphia Story’”(1940), “Ninotchka” (1939) and “Casablanca” (1943).

Many of these movies have strong female leads, which coincides with this year’s academic theme: exploring gender and relationships. Actresses such as Greta Garbo in “Ninotchka” defied the social norm of gender and relationships in their movies.

Olszowka also pointed out that this year marks the 70th anniversary of “Casablanca,” making it the high point of the series for many movie buffs.

He hopes that a similar film series can continue. He loves the weekly film series, but argues that a classic series of films adds just a little something different to the campus.