The Springfield Free Public Library has found a way to continue its annual foreign film series, even as the COVID-19 pandemic keeps us from meeting in person inside the library. In a slight departure from its usual format, the library has scheduled virtual lectures by Gerard Amsellem, an artist, educator and filmmaker who has made the study of international films his passion. Scheduled for 7:00 PM one Thursday evening a month from September through December, the series will cover the following topics:
September 24: French Cinema, with a specific focus on the 2007 film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
October 8: Italian Cinema, with a specific focus on the 1988 film Cinema Paradiso
November 12: German Cinema, with a specific focus on the 2005 film Sophie Scholl
December 10: New Zealand Cinema, with a specific focus on the 2002 film Whale Rider
The Zoom link for September 24: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89515113472?pwd=STJqNDlKZHo3YkxwM2RnRlliUjFrUT09
The links for the subsequent programs in the series will be publicized during the week before each session.
Although the library will not be able to provide in-house screenings of these movies due to the current pandemic, Springfield Library patrons have free access to all four of these films through the library’s participation in Hoopla. People interested in viewing these films are encouraged to watch them in advance of each of the scheduled programs and there are no limits on the number of library patrons who are able to view the film through the library’s Hoopla account at any one time.
For library patrons who already have a library card but are not yet registered with Hoopla, registration can be accomplished within about thirty seconds by going to https://www.hoopladigital.com/ and then clicking on the link to get started. If you are not already registered as a patron at the Springfield Free Public Library, you must first go to www.springfieldpubliclibrary.com where you will see a link on the picture stream that will get you started with a temporary library card.
These films are accessible through Hoopla to residents of other communities that belong to the Libraries of Middlesex Automation Consortium (LMxAC). In addition to Springfield, other libraries in Union County that are members of LMxAC include Elizabeth, Kenilworth, Plainfield, Roselle and Roselle Park. Residents of other communities may check with their libraries to see if these films are available for viewing through digital or streaming services or in DVD format.
Each of the four sessions that Mr. Amsellem will present will cover the history of cinema in the country being spotlighted, followed by a discussion of the film itself, including the background of the director. This will be followed by a question and answer session with those in attendance.
Raised in France, Gerard Amsellem moved to the United States in 1982 after having studied painting at the University of Paris and after having earned Master’s Degrees in both French Literature and Art History. He then studied film at the Tisch School at New York University. He is passionate about getting people to understand film as an art form and teaching them how to “read” a film. His non-profit organization, New Wave Productions (www.NewWaveProductions.org ), focuses on art history and film.
This program is made possible by funding from the Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs, a partner of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Funding is also provided by a generous donation from the Friends of the Springfield Free Public Library.