Published January 21, 2021
The show must go on, and despite the hurdles posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Buffalo Film Seminars returns next month for its 42nd season with a lineup of stellar films.
Hosted by UB faculty members Bruce Jackson and Diane Christian, the series’ weekly discussions take place via Zoom at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays from Feb. 2 through May 4.
An email notification about each film will be sent out on the Sunday before the Zoom discussion date to students registered for Christian and Jackson’s “Film Directors” class (ENG 381), as well as to the Department of English’s Discussion List and to the Buffalo Film Seminars’ listserv (email Jackson or Christian to get on the BFS listserv). That notice will include a URL for the pair’s Vimeo introduction to the film and a PDF of that week’s Goldenrod Handout. The notice will also include an invitation to the Zoom discussion.
Most of the films are available to students and other UB email account holders through the UB Libraries’ Kanopy and Swank portals. Log in to the UB Libraries Databases page and type “Kanopy” or “Swank” into the “Find Databases by Keyword” field.
And all of the films except “Floating Weeds,” “My Night at Maud’s” and “The Ruling Class” are available on Amazon Prime (12.99/month; $119/annual). A single month’s membership on the Criterion Channel ($10.99/month; $99.99 annual) will provide streaming access to the three films not available on Amazon Prime.
Participants can stream the films whenever it is convenient, but Jackson suggests watching the Vimeo introductions before viewing the films.
The semester usually begins with a classic film from the pre-sound era, and the series opener on Feb. 2 is no exception, offering the 1926 comedy “The General,” written, directed by and starring Buster Keaton. The film tells the story of an engineer whose beloved locomotive is stolen by Union spies, and his single-handed pursuit of the engine through enemy lines. Although the film was not well-received by critics and audiences at the time of its initial release, it is now considered by many to be one of the greatest American films ever made.
The remainder of the schedule, with descriptions culled from IMDb and other sources: