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Double Indemnity

The beginning of the movie did not get my full attention. The reason behind it was Mr. Walter talking into the telephone was not all that clear. As he slowly unfolds the story of the murder in which he committed, I became more and more interested. I give all my attention for to the movie right after he said the line, “It all began last May.” The power the film gives to the audience was so powerful I felt as if my full attention was what the film is required.

This film was made in 1944. The quality of the film is extra special. I never expected a film made almost half a century earlier would keep me entertained for the entire length of the film.

I think what made this film great was its pace, picture quality, background sounds, character’s witty lines and the intricacy of the story itself. The progress of the film seems to go with the speed at which Neff was retelling the whole story. The pace of the film is catchable, as in that it slow enough for the audience to understand what the director was showing us and fast enough to keep our eyes glued to the screen. In the film, each character’s movements are clearly shown, making them worthwhile to watch.

The acting is all great especially on Mr. Keys’ part. (not sure if it’s Keys or Keyes) Throughout the film, whenever there is a time when there are urgent matters or dangerous matters such as when Walter and Phyllis are planning carrying out the murder or when Mr. Walter goes to visit her near the end of the film right before he killed her, shadows are there to cover most of the images in the scene except for the person/people’ face(s). It is used very well. It creates an atmosphere where the audiences feel like there is really nowhere else to go; something bad must have to happen before the scene becomes brighter again. The background sounds enhances the quality and the intensity of the film. I did not realize it the first time watching the screening in class. After watching it the second time, I noticed the various background sounds. They add to the intensity of suspense and thrill.

The style of film noir is to depict the cynicism and darkness of the human world. It mixes the fancy, rich, criminal together and creates a film that is full of twists and turns. And out of it is a film that will keep you awake for the entirety of the film. And in the end say, “That was definitely a classic…”

In producing the film, “it is worth to clarify that, Newman and Benton’s early version of Bonnie and Clyde’s story envisioned a striking number of the finished film’s characterization, actions, and even visual details.” (2) The two treated them as if they were like from West Side Story. Bonnie and Clyde was full action packed movie. Watching it make people energized and cannot help but to laugh along every other scene. Afterwards, it somewhat hard to remember which scenes actually make me laugh. For the entire length of the movie, I felt out of ordinary. The photos in the interview reading reminded me of the various scenes in the movie. The color is very western. Now that I recall, the speed at which the film was shot was all so vibrant and most of all, fast. The sequence of the story is clear. The route they rode through was not random. I love western movies so I know I’d love this movie. I wish the two protagonists were married before they were both so violently shot by the police.

An interview with the director of the movie is here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llUAwQuph30

Ch. 21 – Documentary and Experimental Cinema in the -Postwar era – 1945 – 1960

The initiative for self expression in films began in the 1930’s. The utmost evident in the blooming of Abstract Expressionist painting in the US and Europe. This impluse also appeared in experimental films. By the 1950’s, cameras have become lighter; new sound equipment give directors opportunities to delete the artificde voice over commentary prearranged atructure, giving rise to a spontaneous documentary. The equipment for filmmaking of fiction as well as for documentary films the magnetic sound was taken over by optical soung-on-film recording.
“Leacock the most proselytizing of U.S. Direct Cinema filmmakers…The filmmaker would not interfere with the event; the filmmaker simply observed…” (485) Rouch co-made a film named Chronique d’un ete in 1961 with Edgar Morin. It’s unique that they prodded and provoked regular people’s thoughts on different subjects. After reading this, it reminded made me think of the very realistic posters on the walls of 42nd street D, F train station. in Manhattan. The posters show photos of the reality of subway stations and riders. After looking at them for a while, it makes me depressed because it’s not pleassant. The pictures gives us no hope. So I think it’s not surprising that the type of film would not receive much popularity nor adoration. “A direct criticism of Rouch and Morin’s method is found in Chris Marker’ Le Joli mai. A more mix version of Direct Cinema appeared in films produced by Maro Rusph and several French Canadian films. Filmmakers of the U.S.. sucxh as Whitney Mendu AND BROTHER jOHN made water films, “Throughout the period most filmmaker sfunded their works in time-honored ways…” (489) During that time Deren was the famous female who made films using psychological thrills. She was an eminent female American avant garde. ” In New Yor, she adopted the image o0f a Voudoun priestess.” After I read that part, I felt confused…is she for real…? Her case is very rare in comparison to most filmmakers. And that is just absurd and u ethecal. After watching her film, I felt like it had no meaning and really a waste of money and effort. It is not educational in any respect. I don’t know how she got famous.Abstract films first started in the 1920’s. “Douglas Crockwell employed cut-outs, frame-by-frame painting.” (493) Kurt Kren, similar to Kubelka’s style of filming abstract shows worked with shot of only a few frames…he paid more attention to imagery.” (495)
In the genre of Experimental Narratives, Stan Brakhage’s Reflection on Black present a series of variations on sexual relationships through queer story lines. (497) Other more skip film types were the anecdotal, inspired the Beat and Hipster Milieus. (497) The textbook took devoted a special section to Stan Braichage. His films often show domestic images. The pictures of the films capture light that offer different effects. “Ken Jacobs performed shadow plays … “closeup and long shots” mimics film technique. Now forwarding to the 1950’s, film producer Andy Warhol was considered the top filmmaker in the underground film category. He was a famous painter at first. “In 1960…he joined the expanded-cinema trend with Up Tight…” (504)

Cuban Cinema: Thomas Guiterrea Alea
Thomas Guiterrea Alea, presented films specifically target Latin-American view of “the phenomena of class-reflected reality”. Two films that were not sold in the U.S. were Death of a Bureaucrat and A Cuban Flgiht Against the Demons. He began filming before the start oof the revolution. He worked with a group called “Our Times”. In his film Memories of the Underdevelopment, the male character Sergio is an example of a Latin-American liberal. The members at the ICAIC had lots of fun speeding time watching old sex films. In the film Death of a Bureaucrat, a man was buried and he was not an ordinary man; he was a socialist. Then the film cuts to a series of clips letting the audience see his works before his death. “Alea’s most recent work, The Cuban Flgiht Against the Demons” took a new style from the ones he made early on. The entire story involves very absurd and weird elements, but the underlying meaning of the film is to let the target audience know that it’s the political and economic situation of the island that was weird not the people.

The most memorable of the screening in class was the one directed by Deren. I wish I could have remember it less clearly. But it was so bizzare that you ca’t help it but to notice the scenes. Perhaps there were several clips shown at the time difficult to remember the others. Even though Deren’s was easily sticking out as I remember, it’s not a something I would like to have in my memories. I’d rather I forget it in the future.

According to Jean Luc Goddard, he came to a cenima critic as a step toward becoming a director. Even at the time of the interview, he thought of himself a critic when he was a director. Hesaid, “Criticism taught us to admire both Rouch and Eisenstein.” Before he begins directing a movie/film, he makes some improvisions but once directing starts the whole story rarely changes and if it does, it’s usually becomes a mumbo jumbo. When he is directing something, he is very stubborn in what way he wants to direct his film. So the actors needs to be at his disposal rather than him making flexible schedule for the actors to work with him. According to Goddard, actors don’t like that and he doesn’t like others taking the control of his film in acting. So the actors often change something in his acting to please himself. Upon mentioning Rossilini in that interview, he says the way Rossilini directs a film is direct it the way he pursue it. He has a reason for it and then the product is his reason. For most directors, when capturing a picture or scene, it’s beautiful so it’s right. For Rossellini a shot is right because it’s beautfiful. (62) Then taking a turn to directors and film industries around the globe, he says that most directors never filmed true life but just cenima. The only person who took close look at France was Jacques Becker. He thought that American films are natural and make cenima industry prosperous. Making film to Goddard is only a part of his life; it did not change his life. I thought that was atypical of many film makers. Perhaps I am wrong because I do not have many film makers’ opinion about this.
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Important film makers made their important films during 1930’s. France got into World War ii in 1939. Cutting off most of the filming activities. The two major corporations in France during the 1920’s were trying to drive each other out during the late 1930’s. One of them – Gaumont Franco-Film-Aubert nearly lost its funds in 1934. This trend caused some most promising films to be made. In the early 1930’s, producers were into fantasy and surrealism. Some of film makers during that time were Rene Clair, Pierre Prevert, and Jean Vigo. Exaggerations, harsh vocals, and oddity of the plot were used in films made din those genres. With the death of one of the youngest film makers movies made in these three genres died down as well. Some of the very good films came out during the 1930’s. The movie, Carnival in Flanders has was one that made itself very not well received in France. Though it became very popular in Germany as well as England. After reading through the subtitled section, :”Quality Studio Filmmaking” in Chapter 13, I found my like in comedies and conventional omance stories. Many popualr actors and actresses made their fame in those movies during that time period. The movie Lac aux dames consists of two famous actresses: Jean-Pierre Aumont and Simone Simon. Everyday realism became popular, too. Series shows – examples include Zero for Conduct and Poil de carotte had casts who were normal people who have no experience in acting. The films made in 1936 named The MArius Trilogy covers about 20 years of 3 main characters’ life. The genre called poetic Realism also made some very memorable films. These films often had characters that were unlike the average person but were criminals, poor people, and genrally people in extremely living conditions. The leading film makers were Julien Duivier, Marcel Carne, and Jean Renoir. (Thompson 289)Renoir made a film named La Chienne ( “The Bitch” ). It became very well received because it had elements such as “virtuosic camera movements, scnes staged in depth, and abrupt switches of tone.”
(290) A few of Jean Renoir’s other films are Une Partie de campagne (A Day in the Country), Grand Illusion, and Rules of the Game. His styles are wide: some are humorous,some are artistic, some are tragic plus comedy, and others are down to earth oridnary.
The political situation in France experienced dramatic changes from the 1920’s to the late 1930’s. In the late 1940’s. Vichy France had a small number of studios for movies. Some financial support came from other countries such as America, Jewish and Italy. With sufficient finance from other sources companies invested in films together. One film made this such as away was Carne’s Les Visiteurs du soir. For French film industries in general they became more profitable when there was no comoetition from the America. Germany had a moderate amount of power over French movies; for instance, they saw to it that none of the ones they made had any hints towards America and Great Britain. Allied defeated Germany in late 1942.
Summary of Chapter 20 – New Waves and Young Cinema. 1958 – 1967
With the emergence of general TV, film makers aimed at a generation of young people by making some erotic films. “Trends toward an urban, leisure class lifestyle were strengthened by an economic boom after 1958 that raised European living standards.” (439)
“Older directors were venerated as spiritual “fathers”: Jean Renoir, for Francois Truffaut; Fritz Lang, for Alexander Kluge; Alexander Dovzhenko, for Andrei Tarkovsky.” (440)
In the generation of young French movie makers of the 1970’s; a trend – using long lenses were used for shot/reverse shot and close-ups. Flashbacks were used commonly during the postwar era. Numerous countries kept up new cinemas; however the major focus of new waves is on nations in Western Europe, Great Britain, the USSR, plus Brazil. New Wave directors in France quickly became main stream.
“The two most exemplary and influential directors were Truffaut and Godard (see box).” (445) One of the very famous directors of the new wave cinema in France was Claude Chabrol. He says that by having initially enough money to make ones first film makes one a director. I thought that was one unique way to putting the way in which one turns into a director. Rohmer was 10 years older than most of his fellow directors at Cashiers. He produced parts that closely resemble those of Andre Bazin’s teachings.

A film called Hiroshima is a prototype of Left Bank movie. It’s about a French woman going to Japan for an actress position in a film. She has an affair with a Japanese man. Then she recollects her memories of her German lover. In the ending, the two reunite. Renais the director of this film used flashbacks to create memory and fantasy that is rarely seen in flashbacks used in the 1940’s and 1950’s. In the film titled, “Muriel, he used no flashbacks.
The Italian government intervened in 1965, by offering financial support for good films for their industry. This made more films been produced however several producers turned to low-budget films.
In England, a trend named, Kitchen Sink was shotlived. The film, “This Sporting Life” has disaapointed the trend. However the film made after it titled, “Tom Jones” was a big hit; itcontained many elements of the French New Wave.
Its success led its director, Albert Finney to Hollywood. Two directors from Germany made a daring film – Not Reconciled.
Of USSR, two important women emerged as one of the most inspiring directors, Larissa Shepitko and Kira Muratova. Roman Polanski of Poland started out his career first as a n actor then as a director. He made “Two Men and a Wardrobe” and “Knife in the Water”.

Jiri Menzel of Czech’s two films, “Closely Watched Trains” and “Capricious Summer” give him international fame.
Also in Czech, “Something Different” directed by Chytilova used cut-outs and pin ups for the film’s two heroines. I thought he could have some problems in his view of women. I don’t find his taste appealing I would not even consider researching on him nor on his films.

Films industry of Hungary experienced an outburst of films. They made around 20 or more films per years and the number nearly doubled in 1950’s.
The new Wave in Japan invented films that severely criticized its own society and politics. “All these qualities are evident in the work of Nagisa Oshima.” (469) His passions for making the films was a breakthrough in views of Japanese cinema because he included his own passions, motivations, and self views in the films he made. While other Japanese directors made films toward the more conventional trends. Brazil, influenced by other countries’ film ideas, created films that illustrated its nation’s problems and aspirations. “Like many New Wave directors before them, Brazil’s filmmakers first tried their hands at short films.” (472)
The governemtn came into the scene in 1961 in an effort to coordinate film policy. “Cinema Novo assisted coproductions, which sharply increased national film output [in Brazil].” (473)

Ch18, Reading, Ozu

reading ch18 + 226 – 238

I was surprised to find that around 800 features films came out every year in the mid 1900’s. That is not a tiny figure. “Sixty percent of [them] were made outside the western world and the Soviet bloc. “ (391) Japan occupied around 20%. The rest were from third world countries like India, Hong Kong, Mexico, and some other small countries. The big cinema returned to Hollywood, about 50 to 90% of the screen names were from it. In those countries that were less industrialized, film making are slowly making further steps. Brazil as well as other countries initiated imitating Hollywood by building movie lands, studios, etc. Only Hong Kong succeeded.
Afterwards in WWII, Japanese women gained some rights such as inheritance rights and the right to vote. I am very happy after reading this. After all, we, female do occupy 50% of the world. Our work in the world is indispensible. In Japan, independence film production grew steadily. However the big three controlled the distribution part as well as the exhibition part of the films. One film called, “jidai-geki” was banned during that time. It later reappeared soon after Americans took leave of there. A famous director, Mizoguchi made films associated with female suffering and social problems. One of his best films was “The Life of Oharu”. The trailer of it is here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=076MrMynyak His techniques are little camera movements and use of close up of camera shots. Compared to Ozu’s films, the films Mizoguchi made are much more dramatic and have more effects. Ozu unlike most directors of all most times, extend a unique type of respect for his actors and actresses. It is clearly shown in the film, “Early Summer”. As the textbook puts it, “A comparable calm pervades the director’s style.” (396) One famous directors directed films during the war; Akira Kurosawa made well known war films such as “The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s tail” and “Rashomon” The later won international success.

In the Soviet Union, they had severe problems in their industry as well as in the social sphere. The damage of the war had a tremendous cost on the empire. Communism in the country were still had influence. Many films made by Dovzhenko and Gerasimov were banned because of the party. The number of films made slowly decreased over the years. Reform appeared in films s well. Stalin’s death meant a certain type of pause in the way people wanted to live.
Churai’s film, “Ballad of A Soldier” illustrated such a tale. It tells a life story of a soldier’s journey home. This character’s characteristics and the type of person he displayed are very different from the type of characters in the films at the time of Stalin’s power.
There was a particular country that separated itself from the domination of the Germans. Tito of Yugoslavia focused most film productions in independent film productions.
Churai’s film, “Ballad of A Soldier” illustrated such a tale. It tells a life story of a soldier’s journey home. This character’s characteristics and the type of person he displayed are very different from the type of characters in the films at the time of Stalin’s power.
There was a particular country that separated itself from the domination of the Germans. Tito of Yugoslavia focused most film productions in independent film productions.
Before Communism took too much control, left winged directors made films to “show how ordinary people are persuaded to join Nazi.
Many countries worked together with the U.S. after the War. Argentina and Brazil both made films picturing the life of the ordinary.

Nick reading
The films that were made by Ozu usually emphasize the transition of the seasons. He focuses on the cycles of birth and death. You shall see his characteristics in films such as Early Summer. Early in his career life, he worked in a rural village as a teacher assistant. When he was a pupil he was unruly; he kept a photo of actress Pearl White. His love for film and the theatre was obvious since he was a student. He began his career working for his uncle as a cameraman. During that time period in Japan film making and those works related to it were not seen as proper. He later became a director himself. In his films it’s difficult to look for any connection between the films he made and his life’s experiences. His sole reliance is upon his imagination and collection of experiences he observed of others when he writes a script. He often used middle to lower class people to act as the protagonist(s). In his early productions, he made comedies and movies that were lighthearted. Later on in his filmmaking career, he toned down on techniques and focused more on long take on particular characters to capture their emotional state of being. He also discarded a rule used in almost all Hollywood films, the 180 degree rule. The shots switching between actors and actresses seem awkward and not as connected as those when using the 180 degree rule. His long takes and the lack of much drama on the part of actors and actresses gave his films distinct taste. One film that took on much of the unique elements he utilized is Tokyo Story. There are not much plot in it. The transitions from one scene to the next relates to the story told by the person’s conversations, silences, story, facial expressions. Like the changes taking place in people’s lives, he titles his movies with titles like “Late Autumn”.

ch 12, 16, reading

Chapter 12

In the years between 1930 and 1945, Germany ‘s Nazis slowly took control of the cenima industry by purchasing companies quietly. In Italy, the cinema industry received suppor from the government but they were censored by them at the time. The USSR took strict control of its nation’s film industry.

Shumyatsky who was responsible for overseeing the film industry under Stalin’s command brought the idea of Socialist Realism into this industry beginning the 1930’s. The main aim of this idea was to have most if not all areas of the USSR presenting the aim of the Stalin’s idea, Communism. Therefore, when a film was been made, at any stage of its making, it could be changed or relinquished. This meant that most scripts made during that time were not shown. Few film makers during that time suffered severe punishment from the union of Stalin. A few who did were Adrian Piotrovsky and Konstantin Eggert. The four main genres of the Social Realism movies are Civil War, Biographical, Tales of Everyday Heroes and Socialist Musicals. Some enmemnebnt fils that came out of the genres are: Vladimir’s Peter the First, Eisenstein’s Alexander Nevsky, Grigori Alexandrov’s Jolly Fellows, and Ivan Pyriev’s Tractor Drivers. Near the end of the 1940’s, fighting films presented themselves in Soviet. During the war, films such as Zoya and Once There Was A Girl were meant to shown the hatred of the Germans.

In Germany, the party of Hitler had almost a type of total control over the nation. Films in Germany were ProNazi propanganda types of films. One very effective film promoting the the Nazis was Hans Westmar. Films about attacking the Reich were also very apparent during the war. After the war was won, many pro-Nazi filmmakers were blacklisted and were stopped from making more films.

In Italy, compared to the other two countries up there, Italy’s film companies had more freedom. But, it did not completely stay off the propaganda influence. “Fascists policies were more indirectly glorified in patriotic historical spectacles like 1860 (1934) and Scepione l’Africano (1937)” (Bordwell 277)
One important film maker in Italy was De Sica. He made romantic comedy movies in Italy.

Chapter 16

The War had influence on the cinema all around. Certains films such as Peter Lorre’s Der Verlorene looked at the war and its effects very closely. In the period between 1945 and 1960, nations in European protested against American film import items. One way they used in addition to passing laws forbidding certain American film imports was working together to make a film that qualified each participating part subsidies. In 1947, the International Federation of Cine-Clubs was founded. As usualy European films were musicals, funny movies, comedies, melodramas and sometimes similar to Hollywood films.
In Italy, films still stirred the way in which politicians viewed Italy’s progress. If any film that illustrated poverty or poor in the streets of Italy, it would stir up frustration in politicians’ mood. One major genre in Italian film was called Neorealism. It often consist of medium-long shots and medium shots. The characters say more with their actions than the plot or the way in which the movie is carrying itself on. Spain also made films which depicted the illusion of Neorealism.

Reading (An Aesthetic of Reality)

Bazin in this writing made the reader look more closely at films and the purpose they served and how they become popular or wide-spread. Italian film genres were all special. Important directors such as Rossellini, Lattuada, and Blasetti all made films that moved themselves toward international stage. The uniqueness of the Italian genre progress not out of nowhere nor were they sudden inventions of new ideas; they involved the history of Italian and the many characteristics of a film which melted together to make great films. According to him, Italian films had exceptional documentary qualities. (20) To depict spontaneous daily activity shots is not usual, because after all, the average actor on a Neorealism film has to act. She/He does not hacve total freedom to do what she/he always chooses to do. There are certain aspects of daily life that could be and usually are taken out of the movie. In general, he thinks that Neorealism is no simple matter but it consists of various influences in the nation. The realism in a film is not real to the director because he is acting the scene out for the audience to see.

In the movie Umberto D, I thought 20% of the shots were true. 60% were acted out. The rest 20% are pretty usual. It was real enough compared to most films the average individual would see in his/her life.

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