Morgan Meis of our DEKALOG marathon: “The perfect gift and the perfect punishment wrapped up into one incredible, back-breaking-Spirit-testing Saturday” Oct 20, 2017

We caught up with special guest Dr. Morgan Meis, and Cinema Distinguished Visiting Professor J.M. Tyree to chat about their expert opinion on our marathon screening of Kieślowski’s DEKALOG, the VCUarts Cinema Program, and how they met.


What did you think of our ten hour screening?

MM: The ten hour screening was like the perfect gift and the perfect punishment wrapped up into one incredible, back-breaking-Spirit-testing Saturday. Watching the movies all at once was beautiful, it allowed me really to see how interrelated they are. It was also emotionally devastating to see them all in one day, for better or worse.

JMT:  It was a moving experience for me to share the screening of Dekalog with so many students who decided to stay for the entire ten hours. The marathon format was the only way to see how densely woven are the patterns in the scripts. One episode calls out to another, while characters appear connected in deeper ways than was clear to me before. I will admit, however, that my back still hurts a little bit…

How did you hear about the screening and learn about our program?

MM:  Through JM Tyree, whose writings about film are renowned across several continents. I learned about the screening because I was involved, with Tyree, in the devilish plan to screen the entire DEKALOG on one day.

What do you think about the VCUarts Cinema program? 

MM: It is an excellent and inspiring program in which film lives as art. That a cinema program can take film so seriously is a testimony to what Dr. Rob Tregenza and the rest of the staff and faculty have accomplished.

How do you know J.M. Tyree?

MM: J.M. Tyree once rescued me, using only a tattered glove and a can of spray cheese, from a pack of wolves in the northern reaches of the Yukon. We have been friends ever since.


What made you think about inviting Morgan to help out with the screening?

JMT: In his writing for The New Yorker and other magazines, Morgan has a rare ability to make ideas come to life in ways that readers and listeners can understand. Because of his work writing for Image journal, which focuses on religion and the arts, I thought he would be the ideal guest to speak about the complex history of ideas that informs Dekalog.


Big thanks to Dr. Morgan Meis for his visit to both our Cinematheque AND his cameo appearances in our Cinema as Art class!

Keep checking back for more news about special guests!