Home Optical Illusion GUEST ROOM | Living College Through Film

GUEST ROOM | Living College Through Film

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How do you miss something that you have never experienced? This question has darted through my mind as I reflect on being nearly halfway through my time at Cornell. Out of my four semesters, two and a half have been online. The class of 2024 has spent its college career completely virtual. How do I look fondly back on my years at college — an experience so universal that an entire movie genre about it exists — when I have never had a “normal” college experience to begin with?

As a film nerd, I was more than excited this October to watch Cooper Raiff’s directorial debut Shithouse, which took home Best Narrative Feature in 2020’s virtual SXSW film festival. Shithouse is an emotionally complex film about hookup culture in college, spending most of its time focused on the ramifications of that hookup and its impact on the characters. Not as flashy as classic college comedies like Animal House, Shithouse is subdued in depicting the underbelly of that same high-speed collegiate world. The humor is dry, biting and authentic, reflecting the coming-of-age struggles of homesick freshmen.

Made while Raiff was a sophomore at Occidental College, Shithouse takes an autobiographical tone as it depicts college exactly while its production team is living through it; as one reviewer wrote, “the film every first-year film student wants to make.” It should be something relatable to a college-aged audience but with the pandemic it feels like just more escapist entertainment.





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