The Cineaste

If you are a connoisseur of independent films, this series is for you! The Plaza presents critically acclaimed films from across the globe. The films are selected to generate conversation, and after each screening faculty and alumni from the St. Joseph's College film studies program conduct an interactive discussion with the audience. 

Peter Mascuch, PhD
Jennifer Gagliardi

Chief Curator, Peter Mascuch, PhD A tenured Associate Professor of English and American Studies and Coordinator of the Cinema Studies Program, Peter Mascuch has taught at St. Joseph’s College since 2003. He specializes in Film Studies, with a particular focus on American cinema since 1945. Together with Campbell Dalglish, Peter Mascuch has co-hosted The Plaza’s Annual Oscar Party in 2015 and 2016. Dr. Mascuch has conducted many Q&A at The Plaza and previously moderated two other film series.

Jennifer Gagliardi Jennifer Gagliardi is an alumna of St. Joseph’s College where she earned a BA in English with a concentration in Film Studies. She is now pursuing her MA in Art History and Criticism at Stony Brook University, where she is focusing on studying contemporary cinema and interactive spectatorship. She has previously facilitated several post-screening discussions at The Plaza. 

Elle (R) ELLE is a psychological thriller that follows a woman who strives to be strong and independent, even when it puts her own life at risk. After being assaulted in her own home, Elle (Isabelle Huppert) decides to go on with her life rather than reporting the incident to the authorities. As the CEO of a video game company, she spends her life working, trying to relate to her son Vincent (Jonas Bloquet) and having affairs with the various men in her life. A traumatizing incident from her past, combined with the fact that her father is a murderer have made her wary of police and general authority figures. As a result, Elle lives without regard for her safety, continuing to put her life at risk over and over. She works to uncover the identity of her assailant on her own terms, but quickly learns that asking her friends for help instead of the authorities may not always be the best solution. Elle is a fast paced film that keeps you guessing as the plot rapidly unfold.

Directed by Paul Verhoeven
Starring Isabelle Huppert, Laurent Lafitte, Anne Consigny, Charles Berling


Thurs, Mar 16 - 7:30 P (Guest speaker, Jennifer Gagliardi)
Sat, Mar 25 - 8:30 (Guest speaker, Peter Mascuch)


The Eagle Huntress (G) THE EAGLE HUNTRESS follows Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl, as she trains to become the first female in twelve generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter, and rises to the pinnacle of a tradition that has been handed down from father to son for centuries. Set against the breath-taking expanse of the Mongolian steppe, THE EAGLE HUNTRESS features some of the most awe-inspiring cinematography ever captured in a documentary, giving this intimate tale of a young girl's quest the dramatic force of an epic narrative film.

Played January 2017

Directed by Otto Bell
Featuring Daisy Ridley, Aisholpan Nurgaiv, Rhys Nurgaiv

Hell or High Water (R) Divorced father Toby (Chris Pine) is trying to make a better life for himself and his sons. His brother Tanner (Ben Foster) is an ex-con with a wild temper. Together, they plan a series of bank heists in order to save their family ranch. Working to catch them is Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges), a Texas ranger weeks away from retirement. As the siblings work together to shield Toby’s sons from a life of poverty, Marcus works against them to bring their robbery operation down. HELL OR HIGH WATER is a wonderfully crafted western that will leave viewers in suspense down to the last shot.

Played December 2016

Directed by David Mackenzie
Starring Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine, Ben Foster

The Innocents (PG-13) Poland, December 1945: Mathilde (Lou de Laage, Breathe) is a young French Red Cross doctor based in Warsaw when a nun seeks her help. She is brought to a cloistered Benedictine convent where she discovers a young novice in labor. It soon becomes clear that the entire order has been profoundly traumatized and several other nuns are pregnant from a series of brutal sexual assaults by the 'liberating' Red Army. Needing medical assistance and fearing the shame of exposure and the hostility of the newly installed Communist government, the nuns - their faith challenged - turn to Mathilde, a non-believer, who becomes their only hope. THE INNOCENTS is the latest drama from acclaimed French filmmaker Anne Fontaine (Coco Before Chanel) that enjoyed its world premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

Played October 2016

Directed by Anne Fontaine
Starring Lou de Laâge, Agata Buzek, Agata Kulesza

The Wailing (NR) The arrival of a mysterious stranger in a quiet rural village causes suspicion amongst the villagers- but as they begin killing each other for no apparent reason, that suspicion turns to panic. When the daughter of the investigating officer falls under the same savage spell, he calls in a shaman to assist in finding the culprit.

Played August-September 2016

Directed by Na Hong-jin
Starring Kwak Do-wan, Hwang Jung-min, Jun Kunimura

Swiss Army Man (R) Outrageously fun and deeply affecting, SWISS ARMY MAN is a gonzo buddy comedy by acclaimed music video directors Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan (collectively known as DANIELS). Hank (Paul Dano) is stranded on a deserted island, having given up all hope of ever making it home again. But one day everything changes when a corpse named Manny (Daniel Radcliffe) washes up on shore; the two become fast friends, and ultimately go on an epic adventure that will bring Hank back to the woman of his dreams. SWISS ARMY MAN creates a world like no other—a place of pure fantastical imagination, brimming with magical realism yet featuring two characters whose dreams and fears are entirely relatable.

Played August 2016

Directed by Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan
Starring Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe, Mary Elizabeth Winstead

The Lobster (R) In a dystopian future where being single is outlawed, recently divorced David (Colin Farrell) arrives at an unnamed hotel with only one goal: to find a mate. He is given 45 days to fall in love, and if he fails to do so he will be turned into an animal of his choice. As David navigates through the trials and tribulations of relationships, he also stumbles onto an encampment of single people and finds an unexpectedly dangerous romance. This dark comedy provides a witty commentary on relationships as the characters go to extreme lengths to find love.

The Lobster won the Cannes Jury Prize in 2015.

Played June-July 2016

Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos
Starring Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz

Dheepan (R) On the losing side of a civil war in Sri Lanka, a Tamil soldier (Antonythasan Jesuthasan) poses as the husband and father of two other refugees in order to escape their ravaged homeland. Arriving in France, the makeshift "family" sets about establishing a new life-only to find themselves once again embroiled in violence on the mean streets of Paris. A heartrending saga of three strangers united by circumstance and struggle, Dheepan is both a tour-de-force thriller and a powerful depiction of the immigrant experience.

Winner of the Palme d'Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. 

Played June 2016

Directed by Jacques Audiard
Starring Jesuthasan Anthonythasan, Kalieaswari Srinivasan, Claudine Vinasithamby

Mustang (PG-13) Early in the summer in a northern Turkish village, five free-spirited teenage sisters splash about on the beach with their male classmates. Though their games are merely innocent fun, a neighbor passes by and reports what she considers to be illicit behavior to the girls' family. The family overreacts, removing all "instruments of corruption" like cell phones and computers and essentially imprisoning the girls, subjecting them to endless lessons in housework in preparation for them to become brides. As the eldest sisters are married off, the younger ones bond together to avoid the same fate. The fierce love between them empowers them to rebel and chase a future where they can determine their own lives.

MUSTANG received an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.

Played May 2016

Directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven
Starring  Günes Sensoy, Doga Zeynep Doguslu, Tugba Sunguroglu

The Witch (R) Writer/director Robert Eggers' debut feature, which premiered to great acclaim at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival—winning the Best Director Prize in the U.S. Narrative Competition—painstakingly recreates a God-fearing New England decades before the 1692 Salem witch trials, in which religious convictions tragically turned to mass hysteria. Told through the eyes of the adolescent Thomasin—in a star-making turn by newcomer Anya Taylor-Joy—and supported by mesmerizing camera work and a powerful musical score, THE WITCH is a chilling and groundbreaking new take on the genre.

Played April 2016

Directed by Robert Eggers
Starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie