Section: Features

CineArts spotlight: Kenyon’s film club takes center stage

The sun had set over the Hill, and the crickets were chirping. Above, the yellow patio lights wavered as a moth fluttered by. Fifteen students sat outside Old Kenyon, enjoying the cool autumn evening. The atmosphere was ideal for discussing a horror movie, and Kenyon’s film club CineArts was ready for another meeting.

CineArts is dedicated to providing a community for film-loving students. The club hosts a movie night open to the whole school every Wednesday at 7:45 p.m. in the Gund Gallery Community Foundation Theater, followed by a weekly Sunday meeting at 8 p.m. to discuss the most recent viewing.

The club is laid-back and casual. “It’s a place for all movie lovers to come together and watch, chat and bond over movies – the good and the bad,” co-President Jill Noorily ’24 wrote in an email to the Collegian. She emphasized the club’s emphasis on fun and friendship. “All are welcome always.” She also explained the schedule of each Sunday meeting: first are names and introductions, followed by a discussion of the recent viewing and finally, the process of selecting what film to watch next. 

The meeting this Sunday was no different. In lieu of simple “hellos,” every attendee said their name and favorite horror movie. Tastes varied widely, from modern hits (“Hereditary”) to classics (“Rosemary’s Baby”), psychothrillers (“Silence of the Lambs”) to satire (“Scream”). Students also bonded over a love of found footage horror, excitedly professing their love for “The Blair Witch Project” and “Creep.”

With the introductions complete, the club discussed what they’d watched on the previous Wednesday: the 1960 French horror flick “Eyes Without A Face.” The film received mixed reviews. Many students gushed about its eerie atmosphere and ambiguous ending. “The tone was really creepy and poetic,” member Mordy Brown ’26 said. The conversation turned to special effects, and another student praised the film’s restraint: “The gore had a purpose, which is something a lot of horror movies can’t say.”

But “Eyes Without A Face” also had its detractors. Common criticisms included the film’s slow pacing and a difficulty getting attached to the characters. “There wasn’t much I could grab onto,” said Noorily. Many heads nodded in agreement.

When the discussion came to a close, the club followed its standard protocol of assigning the film a rating. Members went around in a circle, each individually assessing “Eyes Without a Face” on a scale of one to ten. Answers varied widely, with the lowest rating being a three and the highest a perfect 10. Co-President Zelda Saltzman ’24 calculated the average, and the final score came out to an even six. While this number might seem high, it is relatively low for CineArts standards: The club’s two previous film viewings, “Rushmore” and “But I’m a Cheerleader,” received ratings of 7.31 and 8.33, respectively. In this respect, “Eyes Without a Face” supported the cliché of horror as the most divisive film genre.

With the rating process complete, CineArts moved on to the third and final stage of the meeting: choosing what to watch next. Each week, a different member takes a turn nominating a selection of films for the rest of the club to select from. Ella Demak ’25 presented her four options: “The Princess Bride,” “When Harry Met Sally,” “Good Will Hunting,” and “Jojo Rabbit.” (This wide range of genres is indicative of the CineArts ethos; eclectica is the name of the game.) After she provided a brief description of each film, the club took an anonymous vote. The winner? “Jojo Rabbit,” Taika Waititi’s Oscar-winning Nazi satire.

With the next film selected and the viewing date set (7:45 p.m. on Wednesday, as usual), the meeting was adjourned. Members said goodbye and trickled off to their dorms. If the meeting were a film, the final shot would be the empty Old Kenyon patio, flickering lights struggling to keep the encroaching shadows at bay.

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