Students should take advantage of MFAH films

Students at the University should look to the MFAH for film culture by watching its discounted movies. | File Photo

There is a severe lack of film culture at the University of Houston and the city at large. At the University, there should be an opportunity to become a part of the growing arts scene for film appreciation and making, but such movements have yet to establish a presence on a broader scale. If there were a greater film culture at the University, perhaps students would also be better acquainted with the humanities and arts in the city of Houston.

Although there is a need for a more robust film culture in Houston generally, one overlooked gem exists in the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.

 The MFAH offers discounted screenings of films from several different genres, countries and directors. These discounts are available to UH students upon presentations of their IDs. This is an awesome deal that many students do not know about.

Those at MFAH invest significant time and effort in putting together the yearly slot of film screenings. The selection includes foreign films such as “Beoning,” a Korean mystery film about memories and connections between people, and “Hausu,” a quintessential film in the canon of Japanese horror.

MFAH also offers classic underrated or hardly-seen documentaries such as “Black Rodeo,” the story of an annual rodeo show in the heart of Harlem, and “The Memphis Belle,” a look at one of the earliest bombers and the astronomical effort it took to make the whole thing work. The collection also consists of newly released independent films such as “Waves” and “A Hidden Life.”  

In May, MFAH was advertising its annual Latin Wave screenings in which it showcases new films from Latin America. These screenings also create exciting opportunities for film fans to possibly meet critically acclaimed filmmakers from Latin America.

Thus, MFAH does not just provide a way for movie buffs to watch some new films but actually provides them a meaningful way to engage in their interests. The next Latin Wave will be April 30 to May 3 of 2020, and students should engage in this event to promote the diversity we see on campus.

In that spirit of education and growth, MFAH started a club called Film Buffs in 1996. Since its inception, the club has been a community that fosters film appreciation. Many members pick some of the films screened in the theater and have organized events to meet many directors native to Houston, such as Richard Linklater and Wes Anderson.

Art organizations on campus would do well to engage with these well-connected branches at MFAH to co-organize events on campus where students could possibly meet their favorite directors.

Despite the incredible offerings of MFAH in this regard, I still maintain the Houston film scene is not as established as those in other major cities that also claim to have a strong emphasis in the arts. The University still only offers disjointed film classes without a cohesive message to entice more students to experiment or participate in film-making.

The administration should therefore foster organizations, communities and students seeking this level of interest and concentration on film as a whole. A good start would be encouraging as many students as possible to attend MFAH’s film screenings. 

Opinion writer AK ALMoumen is a media production junior and can be reached at [email protected]

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