Critic Stephen Whitty Inspires Writers of the Future with Very Current ‘Network’

By

Published November 14, 2018
A A A Share
The Montclarion
Film critic Stephen Whitty gives a lecture before the screening of "Network" in the School of Communication and Media's Presentation Hall, as part of The Film Institute's Sundays with Lumet series. Alex Centeno | The Montclarion

The Film Institute at Montclair State University hosted a screening for Sydney Lumet’s film, “Network,” bringing acclaimed film critic Stephen Whitty to give a guest lecture about the film’s production.

The School of Communication and Media Presentation Hall was packed Sunday afternoon with a combination of Montclair State students and residents of Montclair. Seeing people attend a screening for a film that was made decades ago shows the unique and incredible relationship between people and movies.

Whitty did a great job explaining the process of making “Network.” He spoke about how persistent Lumet was on making the characters as sympathetic as possible.

“Lumet took the cast for this film seriously,” Whitty said.

He also dove deep into how “crudely funny” the film was and how it turned into a huge hit. The attendees for the screening definitely had a huge laugh throughout the film.

IMG_0186 edited.jpg

Stephen Whitty leads the discussion on the making of Sidney Lumet’s “Network.” Alex Centeno | The Montclarion

During his lecture, Whittey described the film as “a wickedly distorted view of the way television looks or sounds definitely comes off as a satire.”

“The film is not only well-acted but intellectual on attacking television and how Lumet accomplishes that ill of the 1970s so well,” Whitty said. “The film’s inappropriate comedy is what helps emphasize the social problem that Lumet was addressing at the time.”

This event definitely showed potential toward inspiring other future writers on how to become much more creative. It gave many pointers on channeling creativity.

What made this lecture important was the relationship that a critic like Whitty can have with an Academy Award-winning director like Sydney Lumet.

Peter Zezas, a junior communication and media arts major with a minor in film, enjoyed the event because of how applicable he found “Network” to modern society.

IMG_0027 edited.jpg

Stephen Whitty discusses Sidney Lumet’s filmography to students and other attendees. Alex Centeno | The Montclarion

“The fact that it was fluidly transferred over to today’s reality made it that much more enjoyable,” Zezas said.

Zezas also had some words about the critic.

“He was good. He loved the conversations. He answered some good questions,” Zezas said. “He usually does a good job when I go see these kinds of films.”

This event definitely helps other students get a better perspective on what Lumet might have been trying to strive for with “Network” in terms of messages.

The Film Institute definitely seemed pleased with Whitty’s discussion on Lumet’s films wherein the two previous weeks he spoke about “Serpico” and “Dog Day Afternoon.”

Whitty will return on Sunday, Nov. 18 with a screening of “The Verdict” for The Film Institute’s finale of Sundays with Lumet. Seats can be reserved on The Film Institute’s website.

Join the Conversation