An hour before showtime, the Bill Bordy Theater and Auditorium was already buzzing with the voices of Emerson students. Some excitedly called their friends to tell them how they managed to nab a seat. Others spoke in hushed tones about their expectations of the presentation. These students were anxiously awaiting a screening of the independent film Green Street Hooligans, which was followed by a question and answer session with the film's director, Lexi Alexander.
The film, starring Elijah Wood, Charlie Hunnam and Claire Forlani, filled the theater to capacity last Wednesday-forcing some students to find seats on a table near the back wall and leaving many unable to enter the theater at all. Those who were fortunate enough to watch the film, however, were in for a treat.
Hooligans is a high-intensity film centered around Matt Buckner (Wood), an American who is wrongfully expelled from Harvard University. After his expulsion, Matt moves to London where he stays with his sister, Shannon (Forlani), and her husband, Steve (Marc Warren). Within minutes of his arrival, Matt is introduced to Steve's brother, Pete (Hunnam). Pete brings Matt to a local football (known better to Americans as soccer) game after meeting the other members of his crew where Matt witnesses the strong, violent passion that fans feel for the sport.
Inventive camera angles complement the graphic brawl scenes between the soccer-team "gangs," which are referred to as "firms." Alexander's choice of powerful, driving music, such as Terence Jay's "Test of a Man" and "One Blood," sets the perfect mood for bloody street brawls in London. The heavy violence and documentary-like camera work can be perilous for weak stomachs, but these fight scenes are extremely powerful and moving. In Pete's words, "It's not about soccer, it's about standing up for what you believe in."
Following the movie screening, Alexander held a question and answer session with the students. Born in Mannheim, Germany, Alexander is a former World Karate and Kickboxing Champion and an expert in the martial arts. She has made two short films prior to Green Street Hooligans, and her most recent, Johnny Flynton, was nominated for an Academy Award in 2003. According to Alexander, the entire film was shot in only 31 days. "It took a lot of preparation and planning," she said.
In a recent phone interview with The Beacon, Alexander expressed great appreciation toward the enthusiasm with which Emerson students greeted her. Alexander barely had time to answer all the students' questions during the question and answer session. She said she enjoyed the curiosity of the Emerson students and was surprised to see no empty seats at the screening. "I've visited 15 schools in the last two months," she said. "And Emerson is the only school that I will definitely be visiting again."
Alexander said she has one request for Emerson students: help keep her film playing. "Go to see it in theaters!" she said.
The film is currently playing at Loews Harvard Square.