CLC diversifies their entertainment consumption

Ciara White

The College of Lake County has been hosting a film screening series for over a decade. The series is an opportunity for students and faculty to meet, watch a range of movies, discuss, and emphasize community importance.

Chris Cooling, a film studies professor at the college, has been running the series since 2009. When he first heard about it, he knew that he wanted to be involved.

“It seemed like a good use of my talents: finding interesting movies and enthusiastically sharing them with people,” Cooling said.

The meetings start with Cooling giving a brief introduction of the movie, some questions to think about, and even a couple of hints.

Typically, Cooling and other members would meet in person, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve had to switch over to Zoom.

While the change has brought its difficulties, Cooling is grateful that the limitations prompted him to choose movies and pieces he would have not otherwise considered.

The most recent meeting was a screening of the movie Atlantics, an African film set in Dakar, mixing a love story, a ghost story, and a detective story. The film follows the mystery of a vanishing boat and its crew, a series of fires, and star-crossed lovers.

The movie discusses migration, capitalism, poverty, youth exploitation, forced marriages, and class in postcolonial Senegal on a deeper level.

Atlantics received a multitude of awards and recognitions– including the Cannes Grand Prix award and an Oscar nomination– for its realistic and jarring coverage of Senegal’s reality of life.

Mati Diop, the film’s director, became the first black director to be nominated and contested for such awards.

Additionally, the cast is an ensemble of Dakar residents– builders and workers rather than professional actors– to maintain authenticity and give a well-deserved opportunity for the people Diop was representing in her movie.

Cooling, passionate about this movie and those like it, is continuously trying to inspire people to be more involved in culture and current events. Screenings and the discussions afterward are an effective way to do that.

“I like to emphasize wherever possible that we should see ourselves as active participants in our culture, rather than merely passive viewers,” Cooling said.

He hopes that, with films like these, people can begin to move outside the mainly white-dominated movie culture and begin to enjoy inclusive and important stories. Watching foreign films can be a great way to learn about a variety of cultures and lifestyles.

“We haven’t viewed as much African film-making as we should, and particularly now this is an important thing to correct,” Cooling said.

Atlantics is available for all those interested on Netflix.