The Film Archive Pt. 2: Watching Film at Yale

Many things in life are great mysteries. Take, for example, movie theaters. Up until very recently, I thought theaters were sent advanced DVDs that employees then inserted into fancy projector/computers in booths at the back of each screening room. In my film archiving class, I learned that that is NOT the case. Most major commercial movies today are projected from a format called DCP (Digital Cinema Package), but there are still plenty of theaters that have the ability to project real film. (Reel film–heh heh.) And there are FOUR such spaces on Yale’s campus. Here are my takes on all of them:

The Whitney Humanities Center. Photo credit Yale Conferences and Events.

1. The Whitney Humanities Center

An oldie but a goodie. I watched Fight Club here during my very first weeks at Yale. I really remember it–it was a Friday night and a bunch of kids in Silliman all decided to go see it together. It felt extremely artsy and college. Except then I was deeply disturbed by the movie. Bummer. But that wasn’t the Whitney Humanities Center’s fault. Still a great screening room. 

The Alice. Photo credit me!

2. The Screening Room (the Alice Cinema) and the Lecture Hall in the Humanities Quadrangle

These are two brand-spanking new screening rooms. The Humanities Quadrangle is intensely gorgeous and shiny, and these rooms are no exception. I can speak more to the Alice–the smaller room named for filmmaker Alice Guy-Blaché–because that is where the majority of my film class screenings have taken place. The Alice, pictured above, is also sometimes called the “Tron room” by students. (Because the unusual lighting very much recalls that movie franchise.) Unclear if Tron has ever actually been screened in here. But I have seen some great 35mm films from the archive–including movies from as far back as the forties!

The Film Archive Screening Room. Photo credit Yale News.

3. The Film Archive Screening Room

Ok, this has got to be my favorite. That’s why I’m showing the same picture of it twice. A tiny aerie perched on very top floor of Sterling Memorial Library, the Film Archive Screening Room has projection capablities for 35mm, 16mm, and 3D film! The best part is that at the end of the movie, you can raise the blackout curtains and see all of campus through stunning stained glass windows. The real show was outside all along…