This week, meet Timothy Corrigan — a self–proclaimed fan of “the strange and unusual,” who also works in literature.
Street: Why film over other forms of art? Why did you choose to study it?
Timothy Corrigan: One of the things that attracts me to film is that I think it’s a field that cuts across virtually every [other] field. There’s hardly a discipline, whether it’s law or economics, political science or literature, that doesn’t in some way engage film.
Besides traditional cross-overs with all these other disciplines, the merging of cinema studies with all the adventures in new media — from the internet to the iPad and so–forth — makes it a wonderful gateway discipline, in terms of looking … [at] the ways technology and new media will influence our lives — and how we might best understand those influences.
Street: Who’s your favorite director?
TC: Ooph …
Street: I know it’s a tough one, but I had to ask.
TC: If I have to pick, I’ll say Chris Marker. Not many people know his work, but he’s an amazing filmmaker who’s been working since the 1940s and still today.
Street: What’s the strangest movie you’ve ever seen?
TC: Well, I’ll pick a recent one because there are plenty of strange movies out there: Lars von Trier’s Antichrist, which came out a couple years ago. It’s so strange that for some people it’s unwatchable — a lot of really horrifying violence in it, a lot of surreal violence, and a lot of intelligent violence. But that’s only my recent choice. Boy, if I could go back in history, there’s some weird stuff out there.
Street: Did you like it?
TC: Yeah, I did, but I tend to gravitate toward the strange and unusual.
Street: What are your top Oscar picks for this year?
TC: Well, I’m at a disadvantage because I was directing the Penn–in–London program, so I’ve missed out on many of the nominated films, but I can still pick. Of the [films] I’ve seen, I would champion the Wilm Wenders documentary Pina, which is up for best documentary. It’s a 3D documentary that’s astonishing … The Artist, I liked quite a bit as well, and I hear Hugo is quite good.
Street: Are you going to sprint through all of them before the awards?
TC: I will try to squeeze some in, for a couple reasons. One, is because in my introductory class, I always run a contest for all the students to vote on the winners. And then the student or students who win get a real prize.
Street: Is the prize a secret, or do you know yet?
TC: It’s a secret for now. I know what it is, but I’m not going to go to press with it.
Street: So everyone doesn’t try to squeeze into your class in the add period?
TC: Well, it’s not quite that good of a prize, but it is a good one.