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No Silenced Lambs Here by Zack Duffer

Written By: Kenny Schreiber August 2, 2010 No Comment

Café Cinema is a program in which participants watch meaning-filled movies, and then discuss them over coffee, tea and snacks. Recently, I participated in a Café Cinema tied in to the July book club selection, The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris.

The experience of reading the book was like getting to know someone you have only just met, and taking a peek at that person’s life through their eyes, or, in some cases, that person’s mind. Reading The Silence of the Lambs was intense. The plot involves an FBI trainee, Clarice Starling, using insight she gets from the infamous imprisoned cannibal, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, to help catch a serial killer who thinks he’s transsexual, but is not. I felt attached to the characters in a variety of ways. Some characters I wished well; I was frustrated to see some characters doing the things they did, and yet other characters, I felt downright contempt toward. I enjoyed the book and kept in mind details that I expected to be important for our Café Cinema discussion.

On Saturday, June 24th, we held the Café Cinema at Youth First Texas, starting around 6:30pm. Once everyone had arrived, we began to watch the events of the book unfold. Seeing the characters on screen put voices, and faces, to the characters of the book, making them feel a bit more alive. The film was a very close adaptation of the book, following the storyline almost completely, unerringly, to the end. All the while, the film showed subtle hints of underlying themes, such as sexism and gender identity.

After watching the “cinema” portion of Café Cinema, it was time for the “café” segment, which has always been a pleasant and thought-provoking time. The thirteen of us who watched the film discussed the issues presented in both the book and the screen adaptation, as well as the controversy within the LGBTQ community that erupted at the time of the movie’s 1991 release: negative portrayals of gays, gender confusion, role reversal, the preoccupation with Buffalo Bill’s fluffy white poodle, Precious, the possibility that Clarice might be romantically involved with her roommate, and the film’s impressive haul at the Academy Awards in spite of all the protests–all of these things over cups of hot tea and coffee.

The Café Cinema experience is an important experience, allowing youth whom are interested a chance to broaden their minds and expand their understanding of the world in a safe environment. The films we discuss at Café Cinema always provoke deep thoughts and, in some cases, deep feeling, such as Boys Don’t Cry, and Gattaca. It’s a time to come enjoy a movie, see the relevance of issues presented within, and then discuss. The coffee and tea are just a bonus, courtesy of volunteer Melanie Pruit. Volunteer Andrew Phifer also participates in the viewing and discussion, adding another voice to the mix. I invite everyone to come for our next Café Cinema, for fun, fellowship, discussion, coffee, tea, and snacks.