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Hateship, Loveship and musicianship at the Schupf Art Center

On Wednesday, Feb. 15, the Maine Film Center hosted a movie screening of the film Hateship and Loveship as well as a discussion with screenwriter Mark Poirier. The screening featured the brand new movie theater at the Paul J. Schupf Art Center, which opened in December 2022. The audience, made up of mostly students and professors, was positive and engaged throughout the event. 

The movie is based on an Alice Munro story from Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage. The famous author published this collection of nine short stories in 2001. The first story in the collection holds the same title. It takes place in Ontario, Canada and involves two cunning friends playing a trick on a housekeeper. The hoax involves a sort of catfishing through writing forged letters. 

In Poirier’s screenplay, the correspondence takes place over email and appears to evolve much faster. Kristen Wiig plays the main character Johanna, a meek housekeeper who turns out to show surprising resolve as she works hard to help Ken after being tricked into going to find him. It is an engaging if unbelievable story with sweet moments to counteract incredibly cringy scenes.

Hailee Steinfeld plays the stoic teenager, Sabitha, who has two endearing scenes in the whole movie but remains likable. The film adaptation involved but avoided cultural discussions involving Ken the addict and Edith the mean girl.  The movie has a sad and nuanced ending, very different from the short story. These were among the critical opinions floating around after the event, but everyone seemed appreciative of the dialogue after the film. 

Creative Writing Professor Sarah Braunstein led the discussion and focused on overlaps and deviations compared to the original story. A recurring comment was the surprising choice in this story out of the whole collection. This point led viewers who had read the story to compare plot events, but Poirier said he focused more on character development in his adaptation. Poirier shared the story behind his work, focusing on significant craft choices.

“There were some stipulations for me, in adapting the story, because I wanted to preserve a lot of the short story, which takes place in the early 20th century in Calgary. There was a lot of time thinking about Johanna as a kind of artifact, from the story and from the time.” He explained visual tactics in the movie that related back to the story. 

Mark Poirier, author and screenwriter, is the Jennifer Jahrling Forese Writer-in-Residence in Creative Writing for the spring semester, teaching a course. He is a widely educated screenwriter with several movie titles to his name. These accreditations make him an inspiring teacher of “Telling Stories through Film: Introduction to Screenwriting” through the English Department. 

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Also at the Schupf Art Center a few days later, SPB organized a free concert. Saturday night, Feb. 18, the popular student band Taco Alley opened for Cautious Clay. The featured guest headliner has a handful of fairly well-known songs, and most attendees seemed familiar with the artist. He played flute and saxophone  and guitar at different points of the performance and narrated his musical career, which started at age seven. His musicianship showed, and his lively band  included a bassist, drummer, and guitarist. Similarly, Taco Alley is made up of keyboards, guitars, drums, and bass. 

The venue of the remodeled Waterville Opera House set up the contemporary music in a traditional-looking location. These two events at the Schupf Center, the concert and the film screening, brought people together for artistic experiences best shared with a blend of old and new. While the modern building does not blend in downtown, it has effectively combined many cultural facets of filmmaking and music to bridge different times and invite all kinds of audiences. 


~ Molly George `23

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