Last night my wife and I went to our first Columbia College Cinema Slap Down. The film chosen for this event was Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins. How the event unfolds is the audience watches the film and then afterword, two film/video faculty come out to discuss it. One faculty member loves it and the other one hates it. In the beginning both are given three minutes to state why they feel the way they do about the film. Then the referee (oh yes, there is a referee) will ask them questions to challenge them both on their opinions. Then the discussion is opened up to the audience. We give our questions, support, and criticism to the faculty members of our view on the film. The event was exhilarating even though I stayed silent!
After watching Batman Begins, Referee Ron Falzone introduced the film's supporter Michael Caplan and the film's condemner Jeff Smith. Michael won first opening statement and dragged on, first by welcoming the audience and by talking too much about his love for batman the legend (the embodiment of all things batman). He spoke of Batman's creator, Bob Kane, and how Batman was unique in the superhero world. Before he could really touch on the aspects of the film itself, his time was up. Then Jeff is given his three minutes. He opens up with the fact The he believes bruce wayne is a whiney brat with a daddy complex. He further explains how a mentally unstable person is able to be given such power and reign over Gotham. Jeff also takes a stab at the president by comparing Bruce Wayne to George W.
Overall, Michael kept to the fact that this movie was the best representation of the original idea of Batman, and that it did something no other Batman movie had done, and that was explore Batman's beginning. Jeff stood annoyingly firm on his view that Bruce was just whining over the death of his father and looked for father figures in the other characters of the film including the villians. It was a heated night of debate and discussion, and yes, some people took it too far by calling Jeff a prick under their breath and saying the event was stupid. Then why did you come? Why do you continue to talk about it after we are finished?
The point of the Slap Down is to get us to look at the possibilities and ideas that are out there that are not our own. We are encouraged to discuss how we view the film and consider new ways of interpreting. I believe attending the Cinema Slapdown sessions excersizes your thoughts and knowledge of film/video and story.
I look forward to the next Slap Down. Maybe this next time I'll speak up about something!