Monday, September 14, 2009

Dialogical Film Club: Part 1, Wherein 6 adults spend 4 hours watching "Twilight"

In late April 2009, I was at a local pub surrounded by friends who had just graduated (leaving me behind to complete my 4 year degree sans all my 3rd year degree friends). Three of us started discussing the recent Twilight film: who'd seen it, who hadn't, and why. Within about 20 minutes a spontaneous group of six had formed, deciding that we needed to watch Twilight together so we could talk through it and by doing so, perhaps survive it. Knowing that if we didn't pick a date right then, that it would never happen, we decided on a Monday three weeks in the future.

Setting the date so far ahead brought a certain formality and sense of expectation to the movie watching night. 3 weeks away meant the need for email reminders, confirmation emails, plans about food and drink, and how we would obtain a copy of Twlight. It was in one of these emails that I celebratorily, yet causaully, referred to us as the "Dialogical Film Club". Dialogical, because we would be dialoguing through the movie; pressing pause whenever someone had an observation or question. This is how I always watch movies, but the group setting formalized it. The body of the email read:

"We six shall gather to experience the glory and depravity that is the film 'Twilight" We will lose ourselves, find ourselves, hit the pause button and work out the sado-masochism and erotic violence that is the film Twilight. It will be transcendent. We will giggle and so "oh my gosh" a lot."

And we did. We spent four hours watching a two hour movie. It was incredible In fact, it was because of this friend-movie-gathering, that I arrived at my Integrative Thesis Project topic for the next academic year. One of our main take-aways from the film had to do with the portrayal of male protector and silenced woman. It was also the DFC (as we have now come to know ourselves) who first began referencing similarites of the narrative's ethos to the complementatian values of New Calvinism. Then, during a phone conversation the following Thursday (Stacy had told Kim George about our Twilight night, then Kim called me with some Twilight questions for a course she was teaching on sexual violence in the media) it all coalesced in my brain and I said (outloud to Kim) "I think this is what I'm going to spend the next year working on."

So besides coming up with a thesis topic (which, by the way, is tentatively titled "Why are you apologizing for bleeding?": Twilight, New Calvinism and the Evangelical Embrace of Sadomasochistic Narrative) that Monday spawned a whole summer of marvelous Mondays. This happened because Jeremy said we should do it again, then Holly said "How about in four weeks?" and it was settled. Jeremy also proposed that following our first offering, it would be interesting to choose films that are hugely popular for some reason, and watch them to discuss the cultural trends/values/beliefs being consumed/propagated.

We liked that idea. To be continued...

7 comments:

pedro said...

Looking forward to the reviews that result.

ROBERTA said...

i really like this idea of viewing films dialogically. perhaps i can use it in my classroom - though my students are such die-hard twilighters that i may be putting myself in imminent danger - but then again, edward might show up to save me :)

Kj said...

Roberta, you are delightful.

Maryann said...

Have you seen the latest trailer for New Moon? Speaking as a fangirl, it looks SOOOO good (compared to the first one, that is).

Rebecca said...

I still want to watch this with you...

The Journey Unknown said...

Just thought I'd finally leave a comment on your blog (since I've been stalking you here for about two years now) and thank you for opening up this conversation and inviting us to explore with you the implications of a book/film series that has created a frenzied following of fanatics. So many questions have been stirred within me about the cultural implications of the themes reflected in Twilight.

-Shauna

Kj said...

thanks Shauna- love to have you join the conversation