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The U-Kino at 10

“Different is better”

Munich, 09/28/2012

For the past 10 years, on every Wednesday during term, lecture hall B201 has been turned into a cinema, the U-Kino. Its popularity has grown, but it retains a unique flair – and has more than films to offer.

The U-Kino at 10

The U-Kino’s motto is “Different is better”. “The difference lies essentially in the sort of films we show – we concentrate on little-known gems. We program films that look on the world from a decidedly individual angle,” says Philip Montasser, a student at LMU and one of the organizers who choose the films to be screened. The six members of the Students’ Representative Council who are responsible for the U-Kino come from backgrounds as diverse as the international films they select. The team includes students of physics, sociology and theater studies. “And we have an Iranian and a Frenchman on board, which helps us keep up-to-date with developments on the international film scene. – Oh, and one of us is married to a Japanese girl. That may help too,” says Montasser with a grin.

For every bathrobe, a White Russian
When it began, the U-Kino was nowhere near as well-known as it is now, and it had to make do with a small lecture theater in the so-called Schweinchenbau. “We now have much bigger venue, but the U-Kino remains something for insiders, even though we get audiences of up to 200,” says Montasser. The most popular event of the season is the traditional showing of “The Big Lebowski”, which takes place each year on the last Wednesday before Christmas. “The atmosphere is always great - and not just because everyone who turns up in a bathrobe gets a complimentary White Russian.”

The standard price of admission is 2.50 euros, which is more than enough to cover costs. Depending on the size of the audience, the organizers may decide to raffle drinks and sweets - and, of course, for the first 100 cinemagoers the seats are luxuriously upholstered (i.e., they are given a cushion at the box-office).

At the moment the team is hard at work finalizing the program for the new Winter Semester, which will be announced in mid-October. “As well as our usual Christmas film, there will be lots more to see,” says Montasser. For instance, students in the Erasmus Program can look forward to a special treat: Sommer in Orange. This is one of the most recent films directed by Marcus H. Rosenmüller, who has made a number of successful comedies set in his native Upper Bavaria, and first came to prominence with Wer früher stirbt ist länger tot. In cooperation with the Queer Referat, the team will also present Mit Erika im Wald, a documentary centered on lesbian relationships. After the show there will be a panel discussion on the issues dealt with in the film.

Medical education on the big screen
The Faculty of Medicine has also discovered the concept of “film followed by panel discussion” as a flexible and versatile teaching format. Under the general title Modul 23 – Movies and Medicine, Professor Matthias Siebeck and a team of eight students regularly present films that dramatize medical concerns, in the Lecture Hall of the Department of Surgery. Afterwards, members of the audience have the opportunity to discuss the film from a medical perspective with an expert on its particular theme. The unique combination of cinematic presentation and subsequent medical commentary makes this into a rather unusual learning experience.

The Movies and Medicine series is popular and successful, largely because it tackles unconventional themes, which together form a useful supplement to the content of the standard medical curriculum. The organizers take great care to ensure that the program covers a wide spectrum of issues, ranging from the more general, such as cancer, to the more specific, such as postnatal depression. The films chosen for this term are Ziemlich beste Freunde (Untouchable) and Milk. The 30-minute discussion period at the end forms the didactic core of the evening. Dorothea Lipp, one of the organizers of Modul 23, has no doubt that the program is worthwhile. “Important information can be communicated much more effectively when it is coupled with an emotional charge than when one simply lists the facts. Everything that engages the emotions is less easily forgotten.”

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