February 1, 2001

War Of The Worlds

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It’s the year 2030. The world population has tripled in size. The planet has turned into a cesspool of chaos and skyscrapers. Sewage runs through the street. Abandoned highways traverse the littered landscape. Humans have recoiled into their underground hovels to exist and interact solely through their computers. They cloister in fear of the war zone their planet has become.

But far, far away in outer space, from the colonies of the Moon and Mars, a few dim lights can be seen radiating from Earth’s surface. What are these faint beacons that radiate from this lifeless, gray planet?

They are enormous multiplex cinemas, the only sign of life on Earth, the fortresses of the evil empire known as Hollywood. The Hollywood empire has systemically been eliminating any and all who challenge or threaten it, single-handedly destroying all culture and art that once enriched our fair planet.

However, out from among the smog, somewhere beyond the searchlights of a Sony Imax Theater, lurks one brave and defiant entity that exists solely to combat the tyranny of this grave oppressor. It is an underground, guerrilla resistance movement known as Cornell Cinema, fighting the depraved censorship and monopolistic underpinnings of the evil Hollywood.

The rebel base camp is hidden deep in the strip-mined hills of upstate New York, far from the platinum coated fortress walls of Los Angeles, where a small theater, boasting no bright lights or blockbuster titles, covertly shows the few masterpieces of cinematic genius they have been able to save from the diabolical clutches of the Hollywood empire.

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away…

The story of this, the world’s last warrior of justice, independence, and liberty, begins in 1970, when the world was a hotbed of self-expression, free love, and art cinema. It is a tale only a few Cornell University dignitaries remember. Prof. Don Fredericksen is perhaps the last remaining survivor from the infancy of this cultural institution.

“At this point, I am the only one who knows the early history, with Jack Anderson, the first director. He and I came on board the same time, and quickly came to loggerheads about the programming at Cornell Cinema. He was interested in first-run Hollywood; I was more interested in seeing Cornell Cinema serve an educational role, and devote significant time to European art cinema, documentaries, and personal filmmaking,” recalls Prof. Fredericksen.

Even at the beginning, the young cinema was challenged by the shadow of Hollywood and tempted by the green glow of cold, hard cash.

Fredericksen continued the account, “Out of that extended fight