1.13.2012

Intro to Film: Double Feature Thursday (Mild Spoilers)

Although it didn't work out in the end, I began my time at university (I like to say "at university" because it sounds so much more sophisticated than "college...") as a film major. My interest in film making first developed in high school, when I decided I might want to be a screenwriter, but the love I have for analyzing films and my appreciation for the varied subtleties of the art form continues to this day, I believe, thanks to a sparsely populated little class I took at my local community college called Intro to Film. I don't even know if that class is held anymore - I think it's been split up into classes on foreign film masterpieces, American film masterpieces, etc. But eight years ago, it was held in the college theatre in the afternoon. Intro to Film was my last class of the school day, and it was like my reward for making it through the monotony of statistics, the ludicrousness of what we actually spent time reviewing in English 1A, and so on.
I remember that the theatre was always the temperature of a meat locker. Within minutes of taking my seat (always in the back left), I couldn't feel the tips of my fingers or nose. The room could probably hold 500 people, but there were maybe 30 of us in the class - heads and shoulders scattered in the darkness. The professor - a man who gestured with his hands a lot when he spoke and wore his hair long and silver (the way James Cameron wore it recently) - would lecture for a few minutes on the cultural significance of the film he was about to screen for us, and when it was over we were free to go. No tests, no quizzes, no projects. The professor had instructed us not to take notes, because he believed it would interfere with our absorption of the film.

I mean, this class was nirvana.

We watched a silent film starring the doll-faced Lilian Gish that is now called "Broken Blossoms." We watched Laurel and Hardy. We watched Chaplin. We watched "A Streetcar Named Desire," "The Asphalt Jungle," "Psycho," and here is where I must admit I am not so atypical of the average film-lover, because in this class is where I first came to love one of the most perfectly told stories ever - "Citizen Kane."

So in honor of little-known afternoon classes at community colleges that ignite long-burning passions, I give to you a new feature - "Intro to Film" - where I will share about the films that have had me thinking recently, you can share about your favorites, and we can discuss, if you like. :)

Yesterday, I was actually able to watch two films (this is what comes of having a four-hour break in your workday). First, I viewed "Meek's Cutoff," which I've been wanting to see for some time, and it did not disappoint. But I'm going to have to caution you to take that praise with a grain of salt, because you're reading the blog of a girl who not only thoroughly enjoys films that don't resolve, but sometimes shamelessly revels in them. (See: "No Country For Old Men;" "Valhala Rising"). "Meek's Cutoff" is a beautiful film, and tense, and tension makes us observe more keenly, and therefore we are more aware of beauty. There is also a dark side to me that enjoys watching a film in which the men are completely useless. (I said it was my dark side, okay? No need to leave angry comments...)

I also watched M. Night's "Signs," but it was far from my first viewing. I've probably seen that movie twenty times. To me, "Signs" is the perfect movie. There is neither one wasted frame, nor one wasted line of dialogue. The cast is perfect, the acting is perfect, the cinematography is perfect, the pace is perfect, and the story is perfect. It is one of my feel-good movies... (I know, I'm weird.)

So, all in all, yesterday was a good day for cinema! What have you seen recently?


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