Some people think that Travis in “Taxi Driver” is insane, but is he really?
The Media Arts Department and Film Club held the first part of their three-film series, showing the 1976 film “Taxi Driver” on Monday.
The theme of this semester’s series is “What’s In Sanity?” where they question the line between being sane and insane.
At the screening, the Film Club showed the movie “Taxi Driver” starring Robert De Niro as “Travis,” a former marine turned cab driver. The film is about a driver that takes it upon his own hands to “clean up” New York City by killing those that he felt were bad people.
The screening of the film was followed by an open discussion with panelists, who, along with students, analyzed the mental condition of “Travis.”
They debated whether he was sane or insane.
Students shared their views and interpretation of the film while receiving feedback from experienced panelists, trying to determine whether Travis was in fact crazy or if it was his circumstances leading up to the point.
Panelist Paul Satacha thought that the character’s lack of sleep may have contributed to his mind state and mental breakdown.
Business major Gabe Dalessandro had previously seen the movie. However, he said that having an in depth discussion brought more meaning to the film.
“It’s a great thing when you have a panel up here and you have four people that are experts when it comes to film, to almost reflect your ideas back at you with new opinions,” Dalessandro said. “It definitely helps you appreciate the movie more.”
Film Club member Harout Avakeretsyan said that students who are interested in mental illness and psychology should attend the “What’s In Sanity” themed film series.
“It’s really a complex issue. We wanted to choose films that dive into what insanity is,” Avakeretsyan said.
“I think being able to talk about it in this forum and openly interpreting what film means and how the character’s behavior ,mentality and psychology is represented on film matches mental illness in real life,” Avakeretsyan said. “So if anybody is interested in the theme, I think it would be helpful to explore ideas that the films present to you about insanity.”
Gloria Bali, panelist, cinema and television major said that the film series is an important learning aspect for students and Film Club members.
“It’s very important because we plan all these events together, we choose the movies together and we talk about it,” Bali Said.
Ken Windrum, cinema professor and Film Club advisor enjoys putting on the film series screenings and hearing the different ways that students interpret the films.
“I love doing these film series,” Windrum said. “The most fun of them is not seeing the movie so much it’s the conversation and all the perspectives of the students. It’s a great learning experience and it’s fun.”
The themes of the movies come together with the common denominator of sanity vs. insanity.
“They all ask the same question, what is it to be sane or insane who defines this?” Windrum said.
The next film screening will be American Psycho on Wednesday May 3, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the Great Hall.