The Art of Film

A new film series at the Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College encourages people to look at films as more than just entertainment, but to see them as works of art as worthy of being in a museum as a Renoir or a Picasso painting.

The Art of Film is a free monthly series that begins Feb. 10. The museum doors open at 6 p.m. and the galleries will be open to view the current exhibitions prior to show time at 6:30 p.m.

The first film in the series is “The City of Lost Children,” directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro, and starring Ron Perlman.

Released in 1996, this French film was selected to accompany the current “Renoir: Les Études” exhibition, which runs through March 11. “The City of Lost Children” is about a scientist in a surrealist society who kidnaps children to steal their dreams, hoping that they slow his aging process. 

A discussion will be held at the film’s conclusion, and will include the Florida Southern professors who created the film series:

·      Matthew Herbertz, a filmmaker  and film studies professor

·      William Allen, a filmmaker and digital communication professor

·      Alex Rich, an art history professor and the Polk Museum of Art’s curator

Many museums throughout the country offer film series, and Rich was excited to collaborate with Herbertz and Allen to bring a series to the Polk Museum of Art, he said.

The series will expose attendees to films that aren’t likely to be seen elsewhere in the community, and will encourage the viewing of films in a new light. The professors approach the films more from the standpoint of appreciating filmmaking as an art instead of just an entertainment form, Herbertz said.

 “The series creates an opportunity where we’re encouraged to critically think about the medium,” Herbertz said.

Allen looks forward hearing what the audience brings to the conversation. As people have learned about the film series, Allen has heard from those who are excited to have something like this in Polk County.

“There are people who live here and attend similar events in Tampa,” Allen said. “There’s a craving here to have these sorts of discussions within our community.”

The organizers hope to shed light on how art and media infiltrate society and entertain us, and to encourage viewers to look at how films impact them, as well as the broader messages they send.

The goal is to expose the community to film in a new way that includes discussions on content and form.

The museum and film connection makes sense because film comes from still art, Herbertz said.

“I think that it’s really easy to discredit filmmaking in general as just entertainment,” he said. “Every film is a piece of art. Hosting this series in a museum setting allows audiences to approach the viewing more from an appreciation standpoint instead of just escapism.”

The selected films, which will often echo the themes of one of the museum's current exhibitions, will include internationally-renowned independent and arts-related movies.

Visit our events calendar for future dates in the film series.