Cornell Cinema dubs itself Ithaca's year-round film festival, and that's not a bad way to describe it. Like in a film festival you get movies of a wide range of quality, a lot of which you wouldn't catch at your mall theater. They provide a mix of American and foreign classics, international features, small-time American art house and documentaries, and on weekends they function as a second-showing theater, bringing back the better-acclaimed big-time movies of 3-6 months ago. Like in a film festival, each movie doesn't show regularly for a few weeks, but rather each movie only shows two or three times, so you have to note in their schedule what movies you want to catch, and make sure to catch them. Their schedule usually includes a few themed series, where they'll screen a bunch of movies from a particular director, from a particular style or era or geographic location, or on a particular subject. They usually try to get 35 mm prints of all the movies they show, but sometimes they'll show a movie from a DVD on digital projection (they will list the projection format on their schedule). Sometimes Cornell Cinema gets to give a free pre-premiere sneak preview of an upcoming big-theatre movie, courtesy of some promotional/market-research operation, apperantly hoping to generate buzz about the movie and/or get audience opinions.

Cornell Cinema's screening theater is housed in the bottom floor Cornell's Willard Strait Hall (since the building faces uphill, its bottom floor is not the ground floor) and provides an intimate movie-going experience with its smallish screen and wall decorations depicting and quoting famous theatrical scenes. It has a small concessions stand. The staff of mostly Cornell students are all cinephiles and do not screw up in the projection booth as often as you'd imagine students would (altough one time they did start screening a CinemaScope movie with a regular lens instead of the anamorphic lens, and apperantly didn't notice how thin all the people looked until an audience member went out to alert them of the mistake). Some movies are screened in Uris Hall's auditorium, which features a much larger screen and a lot more seating and functions as a lecture hall during the day.

As of November 2008, prices stand at $4 for students, $6.50 for non-students, and $5 for senior citizens.

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