“What! Satyajit Ray in Dunedin!” was my reaction when Prof. Radner, my thesis advisor, told me about a film society that was screening three restored versions of Ray’s films. I was new to Dunedin and the first couple of months in the city, on a philosophical level, offered me a great deal of solitude leading to some degree of self- awareness. I mostly spent my time researching in the department or cooking Indian meals at home, trying to find the warmth of “home” in whatever I could. Since I had just submitted an article on the Poster Art of Satyajit Ray to an art history journal, Prof. Radner asked me if I would be interested in introducing Ray’s films to the Dunedin Film Society’s members. I saw it as an opportunity to watch these gems on a big screen, and said, “Why not!”
My film introductions were well received, and many people appreciated the information on cultural background that helped them comprehend the films even more. As a new international student from India, it felt like a warm welcome. After I had joined the society, I realized that it was just the right dose of my weekly socialising to fight the thesis blues. At the Dunedin Film Society (DFS) I met so many amazing people from all walks of life and from so many countries that share a love for cinema. The wide-ranging selection of the rare films screened at the society has something for everyone who enjoys any kind of visual art. Our friendships made me realize that the apparent boundaries of disparate disciplines like sciences, humanities, commerce, become permeable when a medium such as cinema plays its part.
This is now my third year of being a returning member of the DFS and I still wait with great excitement for Wednesday evenings and the film screenings at the Red Lecture Theatre. The 2017 season is starting now, and I’m really looking forward to Kurosawa’s films. But the film I’m most excited about is Ida Lupino’s The Hitch-Hiker. Lupino was an Anglo-American actress and singer and became a pioneering film director— the only woman to do so in 1950s Hollywood. As a member, we get to choose at the end of every year films for the following year. I voted for Ida Lupino!