Monday, January 23, 2006

Where everybody knows your name.

As expected, my weekend away in South Bend offered some much-needed relaxation and a chance to see old friends. I actually saw more friends and acquaintances than I expected, randomly running into people I hadn't planned on seeing as I made my way across the Notre Dame campus. As always, the Jesuits of Henri de Lubac House in Granger, Indiana provided gracious hospitality and fraternal companionship. One of my brother novices once characterized the Granger Jesuit residence as my "home community" in the Society, and on that point said novice was quite perceptive. Henri de Lubac House is a place where I always feel welcome and a place I always look forward to returning to. I could say the same thing about Notre Dame and, for that matter, about South Bend in general. More desolate in the winter and considerably less cosmopolitan than most of the other places where I've lived, South Bend is nonetheless a city for which I've come to regard with affection.

One of my favorite annual campus events when I was a law student, the Notre Dame Student Film Festival continues to impress in its latest installment. From year to year, a number of the short-subject films that make up the festival seem to be variations on a theme. For example, there's always one or two slice-of-life documentaries profiling colorful local residents or chronicling peculiarly local phenomena. Two films at this year's festival fell into the "townie doc" category: Two Dollar Ride, a profile of a South Bend cabdriver popular with ND students, and Layer 18,653, a look into the life of a Southern Indiana man who has produced the world's largest ball of paint. Each year's festival also has at least one entry in the "looking for love" genre, in which date-deprived Domers adopt new strategies in their pursuit of romance - like taking to the slopes, as in this year's Skiing for Love. Every festival features at least a couple black-and-white silent films on sundry topics - this year's silents looked at a guilt-ridden thief (Possession) and a bachelor who proposes to his girlfriend by hiding a ring in a cupcake (M&M in the Middle). Each year, there's also at least one "edgy entrant" film that deals - typically with great tact and creativity - with a controversial or sensitive topic. Case History, this year's "edgy entrant" and probably the best film at the festival, tells the story of a once-popular but now disgraced Catholic priest trying to put his life back together after serving a prison term on sex charges. On the whole, the 2006 Notre Dame Student Film Festival was on a par with those of past years and left me wanting more. I can't wait to see what Notre Dame's inspired student filmmakers will think of next. AMDG.


At January 24, 2006 10:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the heels of Georgetown's incredible win over No. 1 Duke (their biggest upset in twenty years!), you chose to dedicate your blog entry to the undergraduate arts scene in South Bend. Joe, where is your Hoya pride? You seem more emotionally attatched to the golden dome than Healy's lofty tower. And yet you're training to become a Jesuit? Where are your loyalties? Who did you root for tonight? Be honest :)

At January 24, 2006 11:00 PM, Blogger Joseph Koczera, S.J. said...

Anon -
As much as I appreciate the cinematic skill displayed by Notre Dame students, I still bleed Hoya Blue. In fact, I'll be in attendance when Georgetown takes on DePaul next Tuesday. Hoya Saxa,

At January 25, 2006 12:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad to hear it ... you had me concerned :)


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