Photo:WILL (Tiffany Jolley)
If you ever need a break from campus, you should grab your bike and head to downtown Champaign and stop by the Art Theater, located at 126 West Church Street. This theater has brought the Champaign-Urbana community entertainment for over 100 years, and continues to be a great place for moviegoers to attend. The Art Theater often provides special showings of documentaries and special film screenings that are sometimes free to U of I students. All said, the Art Theater is a quality theater that provides an intimate setting with a classic movie theater experience.
Last week I had the pleasure of going to the theater for the first time a free showing of the film Selma. Selma revolves around events that occurred during the Civil Rights Movement in Selma, Alabama. The film places its focus on Civil Rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s journey in Selma. The police brutality, the acts of non-violence, and the struggle for equality are all shown throughout the film. I think that the film did an accurate job of portraying the marches in Selma, and the pain that those marchers and protesters felt. However I think the film lacked in showing the exact steps that followed the marches that led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 being passed.
I also feel as though the film shouldn’t have placed such a negative light on Malcolm X, whom they made seem like an enemy when he wasn’t. Though he and Dr. King had different views on how to go about creating change , they both wanted Blacks to have equal rights. I think that they should have left out Malcolm X’s character out of the movie. I think that the film should have focused more on Dr. King as not only the leader of the Civil Rights movement but also as him as a person. They should have showed more of how he was at home and how he interacted with his children. In one of his speeches he talks about how his daughter asked to go to an amusement park, but he had to then explain to his daughter why she was not allowed to go. This would’ve been a great piece to include in the film, to show that he was not only just fighting for the justice of Black people and for equal rights, but also for his children. Another piece that I feel should have been included was the fact that Dr. King did in fact step outside of his marriage to Coretta Scott King and had an affair. By having that in the movie it would show more of a human side to Dr. King and not have him be seen as just some man who was black people’s savior. It would show that leaders aren’t perfect and that they too make mistakes. That’s always what seems to be missing when they talk about Dr. King is that though he was a great leader, he had his faults just like any other person and that no one has it completely together all of the time.
I enjoyed my time at the Art Theater; it was nice to grab some popcorn and kick back with friends for a free screening. I, for one, am glad that theaters such as this one still exist. Spring is just around the corner and you should grab your bike and a buddy and head to the Art Theater to catch a flick!