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Low attendance at film series shows missed opportunity, poor priorities

Chris McLemore | Tuesday, April 3, 2007

This past weekend, Notre Dame was host to a truly wonderful cinematic event. The Decalogue, a series of 10 one-hour films by Krzysztof Kieslowski exploring each of the Ten Commandments, was shown at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. Sadly, the theater was nearly empty for every showing; only a handful of students bothered to show up.

The films, shown in groups of two over four days, are masterpieces. The contents of the Ten Commandments – adultery, murder, bearing false witness, taking the Lord’s name in vain – were explored and questioned brilliantly. It should come as no surprise to the Notre Dame community that the Browning Family Cinema was the site of such a unique and rewarding movie-going experience. The cinema manager, Jon Vickers, has a knack for putting together opportunities to experience important cinematic works in this intimate setting. If you are a fan of cinema, you should be grateful for the work that Vickers does to provide our community with a schedule that would rival the film offerings of most major U.S. cities.

Before one of this weekend’s screenings, Vickers expressed sorrow that Kieslowski’s masterpiece drew a meager crowd of around 20 audience members. I expect that he wasn’t saddened by thoughts of lost revenue, but by the fact that a remarkable cinematic and religious experience played to an audience of empty seats. I am not of the mistaken belief that there is an obligation to attend campus events merely because they exist. But this weekend’s starkly empty theater was a missed opportunity and a sad commentary on the priorities of this community.

Chris McLemore

graduate student

off campus

April 2