By Film Society’22
A hundred years ago movies were silent, and black-and-white, and people called them pictures. And when they filed into cinema halls and were moved to tears or laughter by the silver screen, they desired also to think and to talk about what they had seen. From this desire emerged the first film societies: in Paris, then London, then New York. They became bastions of critical appreciation and creative collaboration; meanwhile the burgeoning form of cinema was swiftly recognised and established as the seventh art — le septième art.
Today, our CCA carries modestly the weight of this cultural legacy, this enduring yearning to understand and create. Still, as it always has been, the unique power of cinema is in its ability to transcend boundaries, real and imagined: temporal, national, social, economic. We learn not only of the work of classically-acclaimed directors, but of contemporary Singaporean artists breaking new cultural ground in our country. In this we are guided by a rotation of industry hands (unravelling the enigma of end-credits terms like “key grip” and “gaffer”!) as well as our teachers, Ms Joanna Ng and Ms Audrey Tan.
Segue! CCA Sessions are from 8-11am on Wednesday mornings. One way of starting off gap day, of course, is being defeated by editing software and External Instructor-Director Mr Ivan Tan’s existential questions. However, to assume that this is all that we do during CCA would be naive. It’s difficult to arrive at a static definition of what our CCA looks like in session, because what we do changes week to week: from the technical and practical aspects — sound, lighting, editing — to analytical, appreciative film screenings and discussions. Whatever you’re interested in, we’ll probably touch on.
Traditionally, we also undertake a number of film-adjacent projects for practical experience: video essays, short documentaries, school event videos, you know. In some cases you may even have the opportunity of showing your work to the school population at large, which is definitely an experience.
And then of course, the great Uncut Gem of our two-year sojourn is the Thesis Film, a truly daunting prospect to be approached as Howard Ratner would:
Here we will labour with all our acquired skills and knowledge of filmmaking to create something — perhaps it will be good; quite likely it won’t. In any case, it is the experience behind the camera that counts, the hands-on trying and failing and learning.
Not one person can fail to be moved by cinema. To have the unique opportunity to join a film society means to begin to understand why and how film harnesses all these different elements to give rise to works of unparalleled wonder. In the words of Tarkovsky: “The sky, a sky is always just that, but all it takes is a different hour of the day, the wind, a change in climate, for it to speak to you in a different way, with love, with violence, with longing, with fear.”
Ultimately, what this CCA affords is community. Film is at heart a collaborative medium. Literally, of course, there is the practical need for a production Crew; but just as important is learning from others and their perspectives. Cinema seeks, after all, to connect.
Much has been said, but really it is very simple. Should the mysticism and beauty of film enthrall you, try for Film Society. You want to watch movies for fun as your CCA, try for Film Society. You think being hurled headlong into film projects will help you learn, try! Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.