At University of Canterbury, the CINE teaching of a tiny department needed to cover a fair bit of ground: 1) film form 2) the lecturer’s usual critical take on things 3) film history and 4) cinema outside the English-speaking world. That made putting together lectures, for me, a fun game. Having Alice in Videoland around was a plus.

Now that I’m at University of Queensland, the new game is to bring television into the lectures. We stopped cable after the 2004 election, and I pretty much quit watching television, even when it was available online. Except, of course, for football: Telemundo was on throughout the 2006 World Cup. Once we moved to New Zealand, the only TV I watched was during visits to Mark Maguire’s place during the 2010 World Cup (and the ill-fated Ireland-Russia Euro qualifier that preceded our flat tyre on the way to the airport).

I’m sure I’ll get into the swing of television as part of the lecture after the first couple weeks – my simple plan is to ask all the tutors for their ideas, which I will steal – but my immediate instinct was to use a non-English language film, rather than TV, when I needed a short clip for the general first-meeting lecture. Thus, Banlieue 13: Ultimatum’s completely bonkers fight sequence choreographed around a weaponized 200 million-Euro Van Gogh painting gives me a chance to talk about “French-ness” in a pretty clear way. I cannot conceive of a Hollywood film doing the same thing; the fight is only possible in a French movie.

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