Introduction to Film/Media Studies

Monday, January 22 at 7pm

NORTH BY NORTHWEST

Alfred Hitchcock (U.S. 1959) 136 min. 35MM. With Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Jessie Royce Landis.

A breathless ride – from the spiffy Saul Bass title sequence to the cliffhanger climax on Mount Rushmore – North by Northwest was, per screenwriter Ernest Lehman, “the Hitchcock picture to end all Hitchcock pictures.” Featuring an unforgettable Bernard Herrmann score, VistaVision Technicolor cinematography, an impeccable Cary Grant and a classic case of Hitchcockian mistaken identity. And also the crop duster sequence, one of Hitch’s most iconic set pieces. Asked by an admiring Truffaut about the audaciously conceived scene’s “fantasy of the absurd,” Hitchcock replied, “The fact is, I practice absurdity quite religiously!”

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Monday, January 29 at 7pm

GIRL POWER

Sadie Benning (U.S. 1992) 15 min.

Video artist Sadie Benning paired music by Bikini Kill to her raucous vision of what it was to be a radical girl in the 1990s. Informed by the underground “riot grrrl” movement, Benning’s tape transforms the image politics of female youth, rejecting traditional passivity and polite compliance in favor of radical independence and a self-determined sexual identity.

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WHEN THE CLOUDS ROLL BY

Victor Fleming (U.S. 1919) 84 min. DCP. With Douglas Fairbanks, Albert MacQuarrie, Ralph Lewis. 

Throughout 1918 and 1919 Douglas Fairbanks was the biggest male star in the film industry. In this dazzling comic spree of action and fantasia, made before he transformed himself into the screen’s most popular swashbuckler, he plays a comically superstitious young man slowly being driven mad by his evil-scientist neighbor. Adapted from Silent Film Festival notes.

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Monday, February 5 at 7pm

THE CRIME OF MONSIEUR LANGE – New Restoration!

Jean Renoir (France 1936) 83 min. DCP. With René Lefèvre, Florelle, Jules Berry. French with English subtitles.

Renoir’s famous motto, expressed by Octave in The Rules of the Game (“The terrible thing about this world is that everyone has his reasons”), is on display in this tale of the formation of a collective within a publishing company. When the workers’ charming but malicious owner disappears, a struggling writer’s lurid “Arizona Jim” Western adventures catch fire. Jacques Prévert – poet, author of Port of Shadows, Children of Paradise, and member of Le Groupe Octobre, the socialist theater collective – wrote the screenplay. Restored in 4K by Cineteca di Bologna, under the supervision of Studiocanal, with the support of the CNC

“Of all Renoir’s films, the most spontaneous, the richest in miracles of camera work, the most full of truth and beauty, a film touched by grace.” – François Truffaut

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Monday, February 12 at 7pm

SUNSET BOULEVARD

Billy Wilder (U.S. 1950) 110 min. 35MM. With Gloria Swanson, William Holden, Erich von Stroheim.

One of Billy Wilder’s most enduring masterpieces is a glittering poison-pen letter to all things Hollywood, told in flashback by a screenwriter whose final job is playing paid companion to aging silent-film goddess Norma Desmond (Swanson).

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Monday, February 19 at 7pm

TOKYO STORY

Yasujirō Ozu (Japan 1953) 137 min. 35MM. With Chishu Ryu, Chieko Higashiyama, Setsuko Hara, So Yamamura. Japanese with English subtitles.

A profoundly stirring evocation of elemental humanity and universal heartbreak, Tokyo Story is the crowning achievement of the unparalleled Yasujiro Ozu. The film, which follows an aging couple’s journey to visit their grown children in bustling postwar Tokyo, surveys the rich and complex world of family life with the director’s customary delicacy and incisive perspective on social mores. Lovely performances from Ozu regulars Chishu Ryu and Setsuko Hara deepen the director’s recurring theme of generational conflict, creating what is without question one of cinema’s mightiest masterpieces.

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Monday, February 26 at 7pm

INSIDE DAISY CLOVER

Robert Mulligan (U.S.1965) 128 min. With Natalie Wood, Christopher Plummer, Robert Redford.

Ranging from melodrama to satire to cosmic horror, Daisy Clover reflects on classical Hollywood, stardom and sexual exploitation. Profoundly ambivalent – and at times unpleasant – the film explores the economies of image and desire that ensnare young Daisy Clover (Wood) in her conflicting pursuits of fame, love and happiness. A box office and critical failure, over the years the film gained a cult appreciation for its compelling use of color and widescreen, the committed yet raw performances of its stars, and its obliquely queer indictment of the mid-century culture industries.

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Monday, March 5 at 7pm

PERSEPOLIS

Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud (France 2007) 95 min. 35MM. In French, English, Persian and German with English subtitles.

The origins of this animated lm lie in Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novels, and “she is plainly the source for her heroine, also named Marjane, who is born in Tehran during the Shah’s regime and grows up to witness the revolution of 1979; the mood, at first exultant, is soon darkened by a new sense of repression and threat. [The story unfolds in] sharply clipped and unshaded images; there is no denying their clarity and wit” (Anthony Lane, The New Yorker).

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Monday, March 19 at 7pm

NETWORK

Sidney Lumet (U.S. 1976) 122 min. With Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch, Robert Duvall.

Network is among the best of the genre of media commentary films, scathing and startlingly prescient about the coming age of the 24-hour “news” cycle. It is also, more viewers will now recognize, undoubtedly inspired in part by Christine Chubbuck, a newscaster who committed suicide on live television in 1974, and was the subject of two films in 2016. In Network, Peter Finch’s veteran newscaster, informed by ratings-driven network executives that he will be dumped because he “skews old,” uses his next broadcast to announce that he will commit suicide on his final program.

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Monday, March 26 at 7pm

THIS IS THE LIFE

Ava DuVernay (U.S. 2008) 97 min. With 2Mex, Chali 2na, Busdriver and more.

In 1989, a collective of young artists gathered at a storefront in South Central LA. Their mandate was to reject gang culture and expand the musical boundaries of hip hop. This is the Life chronicles “The Good Life” emcees, the alternative music movement they developed, and their worldwide influence on the art form.

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Monday, April 2 at 7pm

FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH

Amy Heckerling (U.S. 1982) 90 min. 35MM. With Sean Penn, Phoebe Cates, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold.

A breakout debut for both director Amy Heckerling and screenwriter Cameron Crowe, this raunchy and awkwardly funny portrayal of Southern California teenagers was adapted from Crowe’s semi-autobiographical book – a chronicle of his time undercover as a high school student. Set in malls, revolving around part-time jobs and endless conversations about sex and dating, Fast Times is “that rarest of things, a comedy about teens, for teens with an R-rating” (Brattle Theatre).

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Monday, April 9 at 7pm

KUNG FU HUSTLE

Stephen Chow (Hong Kong/China 2004) 99 min. 35MM. With Stephen Chow, Xiaogang Feng, Wah Yuen. Cantonese with English subtitles.

Superstar Stephen Chow’s zany comedy and boundless imagination may have found its apotheosis in Kung Fu Hustle, an homage to – and over-the-top parody of – the Hong Kong martial arts genre. “With gravity-defying kung fu fights created by famed choreographer Yuen Woo-ping, dance numbers with tuxedoed mobsters, and a comedic touch like no other, it’s no wonder that Kung Fu Hustle was the highest grossing foreign-language lm in 2005” (Gables Cinema).

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Monday, April 16 at 7pm

ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND

Michel Gondry (U.S. 2004) 108 min. 35MM. With Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo.

Michel Gondry and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman’s fantastical fable imagines a love- stricken romance muddled by memory modi cation. The lm “works marvel after marvel in expressing the bewildering beauty and existential horror of being trapped inside one’s own addled mind, and in allegorizing the self-preserving amnesia of a broken but hopeful heart” (Time Out).

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LEMON

Hollis Frampton (U.S. 1969) 7 min. 16MM.

As a voluptuous lemon is devoured by the same light that reveals it, its image passes from the spatial rhetoric of illusion into the spatial grammar of the graphic arts.

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Monday, April 23 at 7pm

CACHÉ

Michael Haneke (France 2005) 117 min. 35MM. With Daniel Auteuil, Juliette Binoche, Maurice Bénichou. French with English subtitles.

Winner of the Best Director prize at Cannes, Haneke’s thriller unearths France’s colonialist guilt and contemporary racism via its depiction of an affluent couple tormented by anonymous calls, disturbing drawings and surveillance tapes. Each clue points to an ugly secret, leading to the film’s famously enigmatic final shot (watch closely!).

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Monday, April 30 at 7pm

BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM

Gurinder Chadha (UK/Germany/U.S. 2002) 112 min. 35MM. With Parminder Nagra,Keira Knightley, Jonathan Rhys Meyers. English, Panjabi, Hindi, German with English subtitles.

A semi-autobiographical story about an Anglo-Indian teenager torn between her parents’ Indian conservatism and her passion for soccer, Bend it Like Beckham’s optimistic message of multiculturalism and female empowerment charmed audiences around the world.

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