Medieval Film Festival reigning in its 12th year


SC Contributing Writer

It was a beautiful day outside on Saturday March 8 — the sky bright china blue scattered with little whisps of cloud that betray nothing of the polar vortex that swept over ESU campus only a few short weeks ago.

It was the kind of weather one could easily see inspiring Chaucer-esque pilgrimages down to the Pocono Community Theater for the annual Medieval Film Festival to take in a tale or two.

This year, the two films in the spotlight are the 1976 “Robin and Marian,” a medieval romance starring popular actors Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn, and the fantastically well-acted 1939 classic “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

“This is our twelfth year holding the festival,” says Dr. Leigh Smith, resident medievalist of the East Stroudsburg University English Department. “I started the festival my first year teaching here, so it’s easy to keep track,” she said with a smile.

Dr. Smith had arrived in costume, as have several of the filmgoers, and the coronet of tiny white flowers arranged in her hair floats gently in the breeze underneath the giant light bulb-studded marquee of the theater.

Students and members of the Stroudsburg community alike file out as the event finishes.

Dr. Smith intends for this event to help revive interest in the Middle Ages and medieval literature at ESU.

“People think of the Middle Ages as old and dusty, but that’s certainly not true,” she said.

And indeed, this event appeals to a broad range of interests. The Medieval Film Festival is enjoyable not only accessible to medieval scholars, but to movie buffs, and even just the generally curious.

“I started this event as a fun, non-pretentious day where the ESU students and people from the community can get together,” said Smith.

In fact, that is one reason the event is held at the Pocono Community Theater– a comfortable walking distance from ESU, and a reasonable driving distance from residential Stroudsburg, the Pocono Community Theater is accessible all.

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