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Taking a cinematic risk

Posted at 9:39 AM on December 13, 2005 by Euan Kerr

A few weeks ago I attended "Talk Cinema" for the first time, and frankly I am intrigued. It's a bit of fun, and a bit of a gamble. The idea is that for a subscription of $99 you get to attend seven screenings of independent and foreign films which will be released in coming months. The screenings are irregular, one or two a month, and the next season runs from late January to early June. (If you aren't interested in a subscription you can pay $15 at the door for adults, $5 for students.)

"Talk Cinema" participants are often seeing the films long before the critics. This year Talk Cinema presented "Pride and Prejudice," "The Squid and the Whale," "Mrs Henderson Presents," and "The World's Fastest Indian," amongst others.

After the screening there is a discussion led by a guest presenter. In the Twin Cities Kevin Murphy, author of "A Year at the Movies" and one-time voice of the robot Tom Servo on Mystery Science Theater 3000, serves as master of ceremonies, and the day I attended WCCO film guy Bill Carlson led the discussion. Everyone is also asked to fill in a reaction card for the film. The results are compiled and shared at the next show, as are the comments from other screenings of the same film across the country.

Now there are a couple of what some people might see as drawbacks: the screenings are at 10 am on Saturday mornings at the Edina Theater in Edina, a time which might sort the hardcore movie fans from the goats.

Perhaps more of a challenge is you don't know what movie is going to be screened until you walk in the lobby. The week I attended we watched "The Fastest Indian in the World" starring Anthony Hopkins as 68-year old Burt Munro, an eccentric New Zealander who broke the world speed record for a streamlined motorcycle. The crowd loved it. But some of them complained about the previous week's movie "Keane," a story about a man searching for his abducted daughter, as being horribly bleak and depressing.

So, it's a chance to be one-up on your movie-going pals, and a chance to meet with other film freaks, if you are up for the risk of spending your Saturday with a movie you may well hate. More information at www.talkcinema.com.

December 2005
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