“Seeing (the films) with an eye on the way the colors and light can tell a story is something that will add to the experience of seeing the film, and then to the experience of seeing the exhibition at the Ackland,” Lathrop said.
Warner said beyond the theme of light in connection to the Ackland exhibit, the movies were selected for being multifaceted and deeply thoughtful.
“Because it’s kind of political and deals with race and sexuality, people might think, ‘Well, it’s an important film, but it’s not a good film, necessarily.’ The truth is it’s an awesome film,” Warner said in regard to "Moonlight," the first in the series. “This is a film that expresses its humanism and political consciousness not through verbal content so much as through an intensely cinematic orchestration of atmosphere. The result is a pensive, radiant, quietly militant affirmation of black queer masculinity... a film that’s stunningly beautiful and harrowing in equal measure.”
This type of profound, physical connection to a piece of cinema, where the viewer can truly feel “the pulse and vibe of an atmosphere,” as Warner described it.
Film as an almost physical, visceral experience, is something of clear importance to Professor Warner, and it speaks to the power of art in general, as well as the real value events that those at the Varsity and Ackland can provide.
“If these are all films that showcase cinema as this medium of light that offers spectators this radiant experience that we become immersed in, that happens most strongly in a theatrical viewing situation. Nobody feels that kind of enveloping atmospheric radiance watching a film on their laptop,” Warner said.
Warner’s colleague, Gregory Flaxman, also a professor in the Global Cinema Studies program, agrees wholeheartedly.
“The number of people going to the movies in the U.S. has steadily decreased over the past seventy years, and in in the age of streaming video, the experience of cinema is an increasingly private one. In part, that's why the Ackland's film series is so vital," Flaxman said.
The Ackland series provides this crucial, communal viewing experience, Flaxman said.
"Not only is the experience shared: for the roughly two hours we spend in the theater, the film has the effect of synchronizing the perceptions and emotions of the collective audience,” he said.
The current film forum series at the Varsity certainly aims for this very immersive, communal experience. There, for only a few hours in a the mad rush of the day-to-day, people can forget about their problems and lose themselves in film, in art.