D.W. Griffith – The Painted Lady (1912)

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A lonely young woman lives with her strict father who forbids her to wear make-up. One day at an ice cream social, she meets a young man you seems interested in her. However, unknown to her, he is a burglar who is only interested in breaking into her father’s house. One night she is awakened by a noise. Grabbing a pistol, she enters her father’s downstairs office where she confronts a masked intruder . . . Continue reading

Hector Babenco – At Play in the Fields of the Lord (1991)

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PLOT SYNOPSIS
In a remote branch of the Brazilian Amazon, Americans Lewis (Tom Berenger) and Wolf (Tom Waits) are stranded when their plane runs out of gas. They are kept company by an evangelist missionary (John Lithgow) and his wife (Darryl Hannah). The preacher and his followers want to preach to the primitive Niaruna Indians, while others are interested in the Niaruna for more diabolical reasons-specifically, business concerns that would like to claim the Indians’ land for development. The local police chief cuts a deal with the mercenaries Lewis and Wolf: if they will agree to bomb the Niarunas out of existence, they will be paid enough money to leave the country. Instead, Lewis, part Native American himself,aligns himself with the Niarunas. From this moment on, he and the tribe are doomed. A long-standing pet project of producer Saul Zaentz, At Play in the Fields of the Lord was adapted from the best-selling novel by Peter Matthiesen. Continue reading

Jeremy Geltzer – Dirty Words & Filthy Pictures: Film and the First Amendment (2016)

Dirty Words & Filthy Pictures: Film and the First Amendment
by Jeremy Geltzer
Foreword by Alex Kozinski
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: University of Texas Press (January 4, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1477307435
ISBN-13: 978-1477307434

From the earliest days of cinema, scandalous films such as The Kiss (1896) attracted audiences eager to see provocative images on screen. With controversial content, motion pictures challenged social norms and prevailing laws at the intersection of art and entertainment. Today, the First Amendment protects a wide range of free speech, but this wasn’t always the case. For the first fifty years, movies could be censored and banned by city and state officials charged with protecting the moral fabric of their communities. Once film was embraced under the First Amendment by the Supreme Court’s Miracle decision in 1952, new problems pushed notions of acceptable content even further. Continue reading

Joan Braderman – Joan Does Dynasty (1986)

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Quote:
“Long before the advent of Slavoj Zizek, U.S. academic Joan Braderman in 1986 offered a bracing exercise in standup theory and comic deconstruction in this half-hour unpacking on video of the most successful nighttime soap opera on television, which is said to be the favorite series of one hundred million people in 78 countries. Utilizing some of the special effects of codirector and coeditor Manuel De Landa to project herself literally into Dynasty and thereby critique its cultural and ideological underpinnings, Braderman manages to mix appreciation with scorn in almost equal quantities.“ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader Continue reading

Jean Negulesco – Alice in Movieland (1940)

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Synopsis:
In a U.S. town that could be anywhere, 18-year-old Alice Purdee wins a free trip to Hollywood. With the assistance of a cheerful porter, she takes the night train and dreams about her arrival. Instead of instant success, she meets disappointment after disappointment, and she needs the unexpected encouragement of her grandmother and an aging, former star whom she meets at a talent night. Finally she gets a call to be an extra, and she’s so hopeful that the regulars decide to make a fool of her. Is this the end of Alice’s dream? Not if the porter has anything to say about it.
— IMDb. Continue reading

Werner Herzog – Werner Herzog Masterclass (2016)

Capture the spectacular

When the legendary director Werner Herzog was 19, he stole a camera and made his first movie. 70 films and 50 awards later, Werner is teaching documentary and feature filmmaking. You’ll learn storytelling, cinematography, locations, self-financing, documentary interview techniques, and how to bring your ideas to life. By the end, you’ll make uncompromising films.

26 VIDEO LESSONS
Watch, listen, and learn as Werner covers every aspect of filmmaking, from pre-production to distribution.

37-PAGE WORKBOOK
A downloadable workbook accompanies the class with lesson recaps and supplemental materials. Continue reading

Robert Drew – Primary (1960)

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It’s the tail end of winter in 1960. U.S. Senators Hubert Humphrey and John Kennedy seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for President. Wisconsin’s primary – one of the few direct primaries at the time – is on April 5. We see both candidates on the road; it’s retail politics, shaking hands, signing autographs, smiling. We hear part of a standard stump speech from Kennedy; we watch Humphrey talk to farmers in a rural hall. Kennedy is favored. We see his wife, his brother Robert briefly, and on election night his sisters Pat and Eunice. Jacqueline speaks a few words of Polish at a Milwaukee rally. The returns come in; it’s on to Indiana and West Virginia. Continue reading