Sonoma Film Institute brings light to films of redeeming value

The Sonoma Film Institute is the oldest film stockroom organization throughout the entire North Bay Area. The screenings that the Sonoma Film Institute provides help students enhance their educational opportunities with the expansive range of films it offers. The Institute as a whole also shares a beneficial influence on the campus and the community that surrounds it. 

The Sonoma State Film Institute has a history of offering some of the best present day cinema to its local audiences alike. Among the assemblage of upcoming films it showcases is one titled “Buddy,” which involves service dogs and the people they serve in an unwavering manner. The film follows six people in the Netherlands who rely on the professionalism and loyalty of their service dogs. The animals assist each person within the group to help them cope with mood swings and depression, as well as blindness and the challenges of post traumatic stress. 

The film “Buddy” brings about a good example of a film for students at Sonoma State who may be dealing with the same, or similar issues in their lives. 

“The Sonoma Film Institute gives students the opportunity to see films outside the realm of what they would be able to see in their local multiplex,” says the director of the Sonoma Film Institute, Eleanor Nichols. Equally, Nichols’ praise for the uniqueness of the films also encourages any student at SSU to take the worthwhile step in checking out the new slate of those lined up for the Fall semester.

Nichols adds that, this semester alone, “SFI is presenting films from Japan, Vietnam, and France, as well as American classics and first-run documentaries. Among the featured attractions on the current schedule are three films from the French director Agnes Varda,” she continues, “who died in March at the age of 90 and worked in both documentaries ‘Mur Murs’ and ‘Black Panther.’”

Eleanor mentions special screenings of the films “The River” and “Black Narcissus” as well, which are adapted from earlier novels by Rumer Godden. In brief, “The River” is a 1951 film about a teenager’s development and her first love, as well as her broken heart when the man she falls in love with is infatuated with her best friend, instead. 

As the screening of Godden’s other film, “Black Narcissus,” is also anticipated for the Film Institute’s upcoming schedule, viewers are able to gain a glimpse into the politics surrounding Britain during 1947. Particularly, the film captures Britain’s view of India and Pakistan, who were fighting for independence at the time. The film additionally highlights a group of nuns that bring about effective change to a culture and people that have been unchanged for centuries. 

While the Sonoma Film Institute strives to maintain more of the same this year in its reputation for delivering under-the-radar, worthwhile films, the reviews of “Black Narcissus” equip intrigued students with a sample of the film aspects that the Film Institute seeks to resurface to its audience. 

The film withholds raging reviews on “Rotten Tomatoes,” namely, as its photography is especially well praised, with one review noting, “production has gained much through being in color. The production and camerawork atone for minor lapses in the story, Jack Cardiff’s photography being outstanding,” says a top critic of the Variety Staff, a well renowned review site. 

Additional critic review, such as the analysis provided by MFB Critics, reveals, “the natural colour is beautiful; but more, the rhythm of camera movement is recurrently used in combination with an overtinting of the whole scene, at significant dramatic moments, to produce an emphasis we have not seen before.”

The repertoire of ways through which these films not only provide opportune moments for viewers to experience films that bring extra educational opportunity, but also an enriched avenue of entertainment to the campus community, are perfectly accessible for SSU students to immerse themselves in, as the Film Institute is only one short campus walk away.