Thursday, August 02, 2007

film history revisited

So I'm getting ready for my next film history class at the high school. This time around, I'm structuring it more or less chronologically, by different film movements. The class will be 65 minutes a day for 12 weeks, so we'll probably watch two films a week for each category, along with a bunch of clips. Here's a tentative outline:

1. Early Cinema
2. Silent Comedies
3. Expressionism (germany, etc.)
4. Futurism (Russia, etc.)
5. Experimental, Surrealism
6. The coming of sound, Classical Hollywood
7. WWII/Film Noir
8. Documentary
9. Animation
10. Neorealisms
11. New Waves
12. American Independents
13. rebirth of the blockbuster

A lot to cover in one class, I know. I'd like to have a mix of the usual suspects (Citizen Kane, Hitchcock, Bicycle Thieves, etc.) and some stuff they've never heard of that will knock their socks off. What suggestions do you folks have for these categories, either entire films or specific clips?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like a cool class. I should take it from you.
One film I really liked watching in class was La Jetée. There was a cinematic movement inspired by a literary movement called the "New Novellists" in which they would tell stories non-linearly as if recalling it from memory. I guess it was a way of trying to be more truthfull. Anyway I love the film because it shows that you can't communitcate a complex idea in a complex way. The more simple it is, the more complex it can be percieved. I like films that teach this to aspiring filmmakers. I think it would work in a few of your categories and it's only like 30 minutes so you could get a good conversation in.

Another film I liked was King Vidor's "The Crowd" from the silent era. I just remember it felt very modern to me which is always a good thing in a history class.

I remember seeing a clip from "Rome, Open City" when studying Neorealism and it kind of blew me away. It was just a scene where someone gets shot and the camera didn't cut in close to thier face and I thought that was so cold.

I think the Maysles documentaries play better today then ever. "Salesman" or "Grey Gardens".

I like your timeline. I was thinking that neorealism should go before animation. What exactly does "re"birth of the blockbuster mean? Were there earlier blockbusters?

9:56 AM  
Blogger Brandon said...

Great suggestions, Drew. I hadn't thought of La Jetee, I'll need to take a look at that one. And the Crowd definitely needs to be seen. I think that was the first silent film I watched on my own, when applying for the media arts major.

By "rebirth" of the blockbuster, I guess I mean a return to the idea of the studios that "if we throw a lot of money into this, we'll make a lot more money" as was done with Birth of a Nation, Gone with the Wind, and most of the high profile stuff in the 40's and 50's, as opposed to the more personal, lower budget stuff from the 60's and 70's (easy rider, American Graffiti, The Godfather, etc.)

Granted there are stylistic and genre differences in modern blockbusters, (Jaws, Star Wars, Spiderman, King Kong, etc.) mostly action films heavy on the special effects, as opposed to the past where it was usually literary adaptations or historical dramas.

7:46 PM  

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