Using Films to Study the Past, to Contemplate the Future
The UCWI film, an old documentary the subject of which is the University College of the West Indies (UCWI) provides a window to the past, but it also facilitates contemplation of contemporary society and the future. After showing the film to new students, I often ask them what story they would tell if they had to make a film about the University: what would they focus on and how would their film differ from the UCWI film? The responses are as varied as the students themselves, but these questions often prompt a discussion about the legacy of the University and students' role in its unfolding history. We also reflect on a central paradox of documentary filmmaking, that is, the attempt to creatively represent reality. This is not merely an esoteric intellectual exercise; it has, I believe, deep relevance to my students' lives.