As the year draws to a close in this decade of the 2010s, that can mean only one thing for various communities who spend all year consuming, proselytizing, and analyzing art: taking something subjective and putting it in an objective ranking order! This isn’t a bad thing. Some people approach these lists as objective quality, but for most it’s a way for people who find these mediums important to get people to spend their holidays reflecting and discovering something they have missed in a breakneck and frequently distracting year. When it comes to film there’s one list I look forward to more than any other list (or quite frankly any other thing) come year’s end: Indiewire Senior Film Critic David Ehrlich’s “Top 25 Films of the Year” video countdown. (more…)
I had the pleasure of interviewing Jesse Balzer, a PhD candidate in the Department of Communication and Culture (now IU’s Media School), about his current research on movie trailers and the industry creating them.
What was it about movie trailers that first peaked your interest as an area of research?
It was simply how familiar and simultaneously unfamiliar we all are with trailers. We all watch them, we love them, we hate them, they are such an integral part of film culture; yet, unlike the films they sell, we almost never discuss who makes them, how they’re made, and what they mean. I want to correct that. And, as a researcher, I’ve discovered that there’s so much I can do with trailers; I can write about film history, industry, stardom, fandom, genre, aesthetics, gender, race, sexuality, you name it! My goal is simply to deepen public knowledge about trailers, and their cultures, in as many different ways as I can. (more…)
In 1963, aspiring Japanese animator Kihachiro Kawamoto traveled from Japan to Prague to study stop motion animation under Czech animator Jiří Trnka’s direction. According to an interview for Midnight Eye, the young Kawamoto sent Trnka a letter “and waited for over 6 months” for the reply and an invitation to come to Prague to learn from Trnka. Kawamoto spent over a year in Czechoslovakia studying puppet animation at Trnka’s studio.
Trnka likewise influenced Jean Cocteau, Jan Švankmajer (who produced a couple of films for Trnka’s studio), and the Quay Brothers (who purportedly learned puppet animation technique from a couple of Trnka’s protégés). (more…)
One of the most important elements in a film lover’s education is a good introduction. If you show someone the right Chaplin or Kurosawa film they’ll be a fan of either or both of those directors for life. In that spirit, I’d like to recommend my own introductory film for a legendary director: Alfred Hitchcock.
There are many films of his that you could show to introduce someone to Hitchcock’s brilliance. Psycho is one of the most influential horror movies of all time, and Vertigo beat out Citizen Kane in a 2012 Sight and Sound poll of the greatest movies ever made. But those films only capture certain aspects of Hitchcock’s technical style and themes. You don’t get the light entertainer of The Lady Vanishes in Psycho, or the explorer of international espionage in Vertigo. If you want the textbook example of who Hitchcock is as a director, you have to watch North by Northwest. (more…)
Every month A Place for Film will bring you a selection of films from our group of regular bloggers. Even though these films aren’t currently being screened at the IU Cinema, this series will reflect the varied programming that can be found at the Cinema, as well as demonstrate the eclectic tastes of the bloggers. Each contributor has picked one film that they saw this month that they couldn’t wait to share with others. Keep reading to find out what discoveries these cinephiles have made, as well as some of the old friends they’ve revisited. (more…)
For 85 years, the cinematic collaborations of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers have been dazzling audiences with their goofy spirit, irresistible romance, and exquisite dancing. Separate, the actors were clever, attractive, and full of good humor. Together, they became magnetic and simply gorgeous to watch. Nothing compares to any one of their dances, whether it’s the embodiment of heartbreak “Never Gonna Dance,” the cheeky playfulness of “I’ll Be Hard to Handle,” the outright silliness of “I’m Putting All My Eggs in One Basket,” or the devastatingly beautiful “Let’s Face the Music and Dance.” (more…)