Introduction to Film/Media Studies FA 22

Monday, August 22 at 7pm


Directed by David Lynch (U.S. 2001) 147 min. 35 MM. With Naomi Watts, Laura Elena Harring, Justin Theroux.

A midnight wreck on winding Mulholland Drive opens this outlandish neo-noir. “Fashioned from the ruins of a two-hour TV pilot rejected by ABC in 1999, David Lynch’s erotic thriller careens from one violent non sequitur to another… Whatever Mulholland Drive was originally, it has become a poisonous valentine to Hollywood.” (J. Hoberman, Village Voice)


Monday, August 29 at 7pm


Directed by Marc Caro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet (France, 1991) 99 min. DCP. With Marie-Laure Dougnac, Dominique Pinon, Jean-Claude Dreyfus. French with English subtitles.

“A fearsomely intense movie that mixes moods with formidable assurance (Los Angeles Times),” Delicatessen portrays an unemployed circus clown who applies for a job as a handyman at an apartment building in post-apocalyptic France, unaware that the ad is meant to lure people to slaughter (the butcher/landlord provides human meat for his tenants). When the clown and the butcher’s daughter fall in love, it takes all their wits to escape the knife in this surreal fantasy from the directors who later imagined the sinister The City of Lost Children (1995); Jeunet drew even greater attention six years later with the Oscar nominated Amélie.


Monday, September 5 at 7pm


Directed by Barry Jenkins (U.S. 2016) 111 min. DCP. With Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Trevante Rhodes.

Writer-director Barry Jenkins’ sophomore feature is an impeccably crafted study of African-American masculinity from a vital creative voice in contemporary cinema. Though his story is set in Miami, Jenkins shuns the familiar neon-lit aesthetic that the likes of Michael Mann have associated with the Florida hot spot. Instead, he shows a different kind of life, miles away from South Beach, in an area hit by a crack epidemic. It’s here that we meet young Chiron, a survivor reckoning with his complex love for his best friend. Although Moonlight’s themes could be called “universal,” they are firmly grounded in a specific understanding of African-American experience (Adapted from Boston Independent Film Festival TIFF program notes).


Monday, September 12 at 7pm


Directed by Tom Tykwer (Germany 1998) 79 min. 35MM. With Franka Potente, Moritz Bleibtreu, Herbert Knaup. German with English subtitles.
Lola runs not for her own life but for her boyfriend, who has lost a hundred thousand marks of drug money. Tykwer’s breathless roller-coaster of a film gives flame-haired Lola three races against time, three chases through the streets of Berlin, three chances to cheat death.


Monday, September 19 at 7pm


Directed by Darius Marder (U.S. 2019) 121 min. DCP. With Lauren Ridloff, Mathieu Amalric, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci, Riz Ahmed.

In this stunningly crafted and performed film, noise-punk drummer Ruben (Ahmed) suffers a crisis when he begins to lose his hearing. When a doctor tells him his condition will worsen, he thinks his career and life are over. His girlfriend and bandmate Lou (Cooke) checks the former addict into a unique rehab center for the deaf hoping it will prevent a relapse. Despite being welcomed and accepted just as he is, Ruben struggles to reconcile his new normal with the life he once knew (Brattle Theater Film Notes).

Sound of Metal “isn’t a story movie. It’s a movie movie, which you should open your eyes and ears to and pay some attention; it would have been wonderful to experience in a theater. Writer-director Darius Marder’s achievement lies in his ability to build drama, tension, and emotion through the changing visual and sonic textures of the film, for which the director and his sound designer Nicolas Becker have built a rich, complex soundtrack that dips in and out of the world of the hearing and what Ruben is experiencing.” – Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine


Monday, September 26 at 7pm


Directed by Michael Curtiz (U.S. 1942) 102 min. 35MM. With Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, Paul Henreid.

Boasting a stellar cast, this iconic American film is renowned for its “impudent wit and doomed romanticism, all of it held together by voluptuously emotional anti-fascist sentiment”(David Denby, The New Yorker). Coming up on a century after its release, Casablanca maintains its status as one of the best loved films in the history of American cinema. 


Monday, October 3 at 7pm


Directed by Sergio Leone (Italy 1965) 132 min. DCP. With Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Gian Maria Volontè.

Sergio Leone, Clint Eastwood and composer Ennio Morricone reteamed soon after the release of the original A Fistful of Dollars with this loose sequel. Eastwood’s Man with No Name teams up with the equally lethal Colonel Douglas Mortimer (Van Cleef) in order to take down – and receive the bounty for – the clever, ruthless and psychotic ‘El Indio.’ As the two bounty hunters chase down Indio and his gang, they leave in their path a lot of bullets and a lot of blood (Glasgow Film Notes).


Monday, October 17 at 7pm

Early Cinema Program

Professor Eric Faden will give a multimedia presentation on early cinema featuring actualities by Lumière (1895 – 1896), a restored 35MM print of A Trip to the Moon (Georges Méliès, France,1903) and others.


Monday, October 24 at 7pm

War of the Worlds – Radio Drama!

Orson Welles (U.S. 1938) Approx 60 min.

The legendary mass panic caused by Welles’ transmission about alien invasion has been questioned – just how many (or few) of the 12 million Americans listening, when Welles and his actors interrupted the regular programming to “report” the invasion, were truly gripped by fear, has likely been hyped. Nevertheless, this controversial moment in broadcasting history is fascinating, and a justly infamous work by one of American media’s most ingenious, mischievous and creative artists.


Monday, November 7 at 7pm


Directed by Damien Chazelle (U.S. 2014) 107 min. DCP. With Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Melissa Benoist.

A pedagogical thriller and an emotional S&M two-hander, Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash follows an eager jazz drummer (Teller) at a prestigious New York music academy and the teacher (Simmons) whose method of terrorizing his students is beyond questionable, even when it gets results. Dubbed “Full Metal Jacket at Juilliard” at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award, Chazelle’s jazz musical was developed from his short film of the same name, which premiered at Sundance the previous year. The live jazz core that is fused with Justin Hurwitz’s ambient score, the blood-on-the-drum-kit battle between student and teacher, and the dazzling filmmaking will keep your pulse rate elevated from beginning to end. A kinesthetic depiction of performance anxiety—you don’t need to be a musician to feel it—Whiplash also presents us with a moral issue open to debate (NYFF notes).


Monday, November 14 at 7pm


Directed by Hideo Nakata (Japan 1998) 96 min. DCP. With Nanako Matsushima, Miki Nakatani, Yûko Takeuchi. Japanese with English subtitles.

In this J-Horror classic, a television journalist investigates an urban legend about a cursed VHS tape that murders the viewer seven days after they watch it. The highest grossing Japanese horror movie in history still manages to shred nerves with its quiet, phantasmic elegance; it’s the only VHS fetish movie to inspire an entire subgenre, as well as dozens of remakes and rip-offs. Criminally absent from theaters since its original theatrical release in 1998, the time is now for Ringu to terrify the world. Again. Restoration courtesy of Arrow Films and the American Genre Film Archive.


Monday, November 28 at 7pm

Exit Through the Gift Shop

Directed by Banksy (UK 2010) 87 min. 35 MM. With Banksy, Space Invader, Mr. Brainwash.

The first film by the legendary Banksy is as irreverent as the incognito artist’s guerrilla graffiti pieces. Stunning footage of stealth artists in action (including Shepard Fairey and Neckface, as well as Banksy’s notorious Disneyland tag) is ingeniously folded into a slippery satire of the unholy relationship between art and celebrity.


Monday, December 5th at 7pm

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai – Film Club Selection!

Directed by Jim Jarmusch (U.S. 1999) 116 min. 35MM. With Forest Whitaker, John Tormey, Cliff Gorman, Dennis Liu. 

Jim Jarmusch combines his love for the ice-cool crime dramas of Jean-Pierre Melville and Seijun Suzuki with the philosophical dimensions of samurai mythology for an eccentrically postmodern take on the hit-man thriller. In one of his defining roles, Forest Whitaker brings a commanding serenity to his portrayal of a Zen contract killer working for a bumbling mob outfit, a modern man who adheres steadfastly to the ideals of the Japanese warrior code even as chaos and violence spiral around him. Featuring moody cinematography by the great Robby Müller, a mesmerizing score by the Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA, and a host of colorful character actors (including a memorably stone-faced Henry Silva), Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai plays like a pop-culture-sampling cinematic mixtape built around a one-of-a-kind tragic hero.