Films That Matter to Me

Now a live screening and discussion series, Films That Matter to Me began in 2020 as a video series in which members of the Ursinus community talk with Dr. Jennifer Fleeger about the movies that have influenced our careers, shaped our thoughts, and changed our lives. It is supported in part by a grant from the Mellon Foundation and the Arts and Lectures Committee. Scroll down to see the first six videos here and visit the campus for one of our public events. All events are free. For questions about accessibility, write


Spring 2023 Live Event Twilight (2008)

Twilight: Love, Greater Than Sin

with Julian Barocas


February 27, 2023
7 p.m.
Musser Auditorium

This semester we welcome Julian Barocas, a senior English major who occasionally invades film classes. The film that matters to him is pop culture staple Twilight, the first film adaptation of one of the bestselling book series of all time. Despite its less than perfect reputation, Twilight encapsulated an entire sub-genre of teen film that spoke to millions, and inside this blockbuster is a tangled web of religious ideology, teen naivety, and risk of severe bodily harm.

The screening of Twilight will be introduced by Julian Barocas and followed by a panel discussion of the film featuring Julian, Dr. Abby Kluchin (GWSS), Dr. Alice Leppert (MCS and instructor of Teen Film and TV), and Thomas Sorensen (BA, BYU and Lifting Hands International). Moderated by Dr. Jennifer Fleeger (Film Studies).


My Neighbor Totoro Fall 2022 Live Event

My Neighbor Totoro with Dr. Matt Mizenko

November 21, 2022
7 p.m.
Olin Auditorium

This semester’s guest is Dr. Matt Mizenko, Associate Professor of Modern Languages, who regularly teaches courses in Japanese language and culture. He has selected the beloved 1988 Japanese animated fantasy film directed by Hayao Miyazaki, My Neighbor Totoro which beautifully captures the emotional life of children as they deal with fear over a parent’s illness, the excitement of a new home, and the power of imagination. Don’t miss what Dr. Mizenko has to say about why this movie matters to him and his work!



Films That Matter To Me

Born Yesterday 

Commentary by Domenick Scudera, Professor of Theater

Born Yesterday stars Judy Holliday as Billie Dawn, an unpolished former chorus girl with a talent for gin rummy who discovers her full potential will the help of a journalist (William Holden).

View Streaming Film and Commentary 


Films That Matter To Me

The World, the Flesh, and the Devil 

Commentary by Lynne Edwards, Professor of Media and Communication Studies

The World, the Flesh, and the Devil stars Harry Belafonte as Ralph Burton, the last man on earth…that is, until he meets a white woman played by Inger Stevens. Shot on location in New York City and featuring empty streets that resemble our current pandemic crisis, the film confronts racism in a way that is rare for a science fiction film and incredibly relevant for the contemporary moment.

View Streaming Film and Commentary 


Films That Matter To Me

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest 

Commentary by Margie Connor, Administrative Assistant in the Departments of History and English

In this episode, Margie Connor talks about the deeply personal reasons why One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest matters to her. Miloš Forman’s 1975 film about the conflict between the individualism of Randle McMurphy and the infamous Nurse Ratched’s rigid enforcement of institutional regulations stars Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, and Will Sampson and won five Academy Awards.


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Films That Matter To Me

Never Cry Wolf 

Commentary by Rich Wallace, Professor of Environmental Studies

Never Cry Wolf is Carroll Ballard’s 1983 film about a scientist who has been sent to study wolves but ends up learning more than he imagined about himself and his place in the world. With gorgeous cinematography by Hiro Narita and a compelling personal narrative, this adaptation of Farley Mowat’s nonfiction book remains remarkably relevant to the questions in the Ursinus Quest and to Professor Rich Wallace’s life and work.

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Films That Matter To Me

Bram Stoker’s Dracula 

Commentary by José Eduardo Cornelio, Assistant Professor of Modern Languages

Bram Stoker’s Dracula
is Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 adaptation of the famous vampire novel. In this video, José Eduardo Cornelio talks about how the artistry and ethics of the film impressed him as a young man and why it still matters to him as a professor today.
View Streaming Film and Commentary 


Films That Matter To Me

Daughters of the Dust 

Commentary by Nzadi Keita, Associate Professor of English and African American and Africana Studies

Julie Dash’s poetic 1991 feature Daughters of the Dust documents the lives of the fictional Peazant family on the eve of their departure from the Sea Islands for the North in 1902. Concentrating primarily on the rich and varied experiences of women, it was the first film directed by an African American woman to receive widespread theatrical distribution in the United States. Dr. Keita shares stories of her own experiences seeing the film and points audiences toward thoughtful viewing strategies in her commentary on this important work. Daughters of the Dust was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 2004.

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