Forgotten movies are remembered at Irwin Library

Josh Petrusa introduces the October film of the series, “Rebecca”, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Photo by Terry Ngai


On a Wednesday night once a month, Irwin Library presents their newest movie series,“Missing: Movies Unavailable on Streaming”. Irwin Library staff have searched far and wide to uncover movies that are unavailable on streaming services, allowing students to delve into a new world of cinematography. The first movie featured was “Band of Outsiders” directed by Jean-Luc Godard on Sept. 14. 

During the second event of the series on Oct. 18, Dean of Libraries Josh Petrusa discussed his love for unique cinematography and the need for events like this. 

As a film major in college, his interest was piqued when the Butler community called for a broadened range of events to engage more students.

In addition to the popcorn and soda provided at each event, students are offered the opportunity to experience movies that are considered “outdated and strange,” according to Petrusa. These forgotten movies hold educational opportunities and historical significance and are a catapult for important conversations. 

Due to the algorithm of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, these companies “tell you what to watch,” Petrusa said. This prevents movies that are “weird” or deemed unprofitable to be available to viewers. 

Typically, though, these movies hold artistic importance that is hidden by the economic demands of big companies. 

Eli Kohn, a sophomore theatre and creative media and entertainment double major, values the importance of forgotten films, especially older movies. 

“Without [old] movies, we would not have these huge budget blockbusters that we see all the time,” Kohn said. “It’s important to show where we were [in the movie world compared to] where we are now.” 

This is why Petrusa and the library staff picked “Rebecca” directed by Alfred Hitchcock for October. The film is an eerie yet fascinating film based on a gothic novel. The murder mystery of “Rebecca” captures the spooky feeling of Halloween. This film has deep-rooted history in the film industry as the movie won an Oscar in 1941, but is no longer accessible to movie viewers. 

“Not everybody is going to like a 1940s black and white film if you’re a 20-year-old college student, but some people will,” Petrusa said. “And for those people, we are offering this.” 

Senior political science major Pete Rauch is one of the students who enjoys forgotten films, and he was in attendance at the event on Oct. 18. Rauch is excited that the library is offering this series, as it is “something you can’t do at home,” and finds importance in broadening the range of media that is being offered now. 

“Anytime you have art that is not easily accessible to the public, you miss out on elements of culture, and anytime you get access to that sort of [film], you’re regaining a connection to that part of the culture,” Rauch said. 

Information on the monthly movie announcements, reviews of the movies and academic articles about the films can be found on the Butler Libraries Film Series website.


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