Sophia Fijman '25
Cinema and Media Studies
Hey! I’m Sophia Fijman – I’m currently a junior majoring in Cinema and Media Studies with minors in Screenwriting and Folklore and Pop Culture. I’m also a student worker in SCA’s Creative Tech department, Spotlight journal’s Executive Editor, and Co-President of the Latine Film and Media Association! I am constantly consuming and judging media, so I’m excited to share what I’ve been watching (and enjoying) lately.
1. Fallen Leaves (Kuolleet lehdet) (2023): In late October I attended the American Film Institute’s Film Festival, and this was one of my favorites in the program! To preface this choice, I am not a rom-com person, but Fallen Leaves is quick, uncomplicated, and hilarious. The characters feel so utterly human, which is why it surpasses the rom-com expectations for me. The main couple have quite mundane lives and are both struggling to find work, but they manage to find each other despite a few meet-cutes gone wrong in a bleak world (our own). And, like I said in my Letterboxd review, the humor in this film is “as dry as the titular leaves.”
2. Happiness (Le Bonheur) (1965): I’m always a fan of Agnès Varda (who isn’t?) but I recently enjoyed this film in particular. It has a fairly digestible plot, especially for something out of the French New Wave, and it had my friend and I gasping through the entire screening. One of its primary characters is just so fun to hate. It’s visually gorgeous, has a killer ending, and has so many clearly thought-out details (even just in its opening sequence) from soundtrack to color that I could discuss for hours.
3. Daria (1997-2002): I know putting this on my recommendation list as my current favorite TV show is a bit ironic (sardonic, much?). Typically, I can’t get into long-form television, but I think everyone studying film can benefit from something they can watch without having to think about it. Daria is that for me – and it holds up over 20 years later. Some of its plot lines are unsurprisingly ahead of their time, and it’s episodic enough that I can watch half a season in a day or forget to watch it for a month.
4. Daisy Jones & the Six (2023): I grew up as one of those kids who watched film adaptations and swore the book was better. I read the book, Daisy Jones & the Six, and can confidently say that the show is a solid adaptation and so much fun! I’ll admit this was initially a guilty pleasure, but its ensemble characters are strong, its plot is fast-paced and, with intercut clips of fictional interviews, it does a stellar job of pulling you into its universe as a period piece. Plus, Riley Keough’s performance as Daisy is so full of passion and pure vocal talent that I catch myself humming the soundtrack frequently.
5. Ginger Snaps (2000): I sincerely believe that if this was released in the late 80s and starred Winona Ryder, it’d be a cult classic – it feels like one. I watched this for the first time in early October and it does not get nearly enough love! Every cinematic element of Ginger Snaps is strong, but its practical effects really stood out to me as someone interested in costume, hair, and makeup design. The two leads, Katharine Isabelle and Emily Perkins, give emotional, near-perfect performances. I cannot recommend this movie enough if you’re a fan of the monstrous feminine or spooky stories in general.