TALKIES: Film series bridges gap between intellectual discussion and social life

  • A screening of Johnny Guitar: A talk and Q&A with Nikolas Kompridis (PDF)

    “Toxic masculinity” is a term that’s used a lot these days – on TV, in university lectures, and on social media. But what does it mean? What does it look like? How is toxic masculinity reflected in our culture, and the media we consume?

    These are the kinds of questions that a series called TALKIES seeks to explore. Curated by York University Associate Professor Mark Cauchi and filmmaker, cinephile and York University alumnus Azed Majeed – along with a group of their friends –TALKIES aims to use cinema to prompt a public intellectual discussion in a lively and sociable space.

    Every month, the organizers will screen a film, listen to an informal talk by an engaging and informed speaker, and then have an open Q&A and discussion. The films range from Hollywood classics and obscure oldies, through arthouse and foreign films, to documentaries and blockbusters.  Events are licensed, so attendees can have a drink, linger, and be merry.

    TALKIES’ conceptual roots lay in the realm of public humanities. Akin to the European salons of the 16-18th centuries, TALKIES seeks to demonstrate that social life and intellectual conversations do not have to exist in silos, but rather, can and should be integrated.

    Originally started in 2009, TALKIES is making a comeback in 2019, with the series launch taking place this Friday, May 3, 2019. The event will feature a screening of Johnny Guitar (1954), and will be accompanied by a discussion and Q&A with philosopher Nikolas Kompridis, Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Ethics at the University of Toronto. Using Johnny Guitar as a catalyst, Kompridis and the attendees will explore the concept of “refiguring masculinity in an age of toxic masculinity.” Given Johnny Guitar’s gender-bending and genre-blurring qualities, the film is sure to spark a healthy debate.

    It should be noted, however, that attendees need not be film students or even movie buffs to attend TALKIES. "This is not film school,” Cauchi says. “We're not analyzing films through technical film studies language." Quite the opposite. Cauchi says that film is actually a great way to provide an accessible entry point to big ideas. “When an audience watches a film, you've all seen the same stuff,” Cauchi says. “This means everybody can participate in the discussion.”  And hosting the event in a public, non-academic space, he adds, changes the dynamics and tone among speakers and audience members, making for a more open, less regimented dialogue.

    TALKIES will be held at The Commons, 401 Richmond Street West, on Friday, May 3, 2019. Doors will open at 7pm, and the film screening begins at 7:30pm. PWYC. There will be a cash bar. For more information about the event, please visit the links below.