Movie-a-Day: July 2007

It had to happen: after an exhilarating summer of bulk viewing — the optical equivalent of chain smoking, except that instead of reducing my capacity to “inhale,” it seems to have forced open some kind of cognitive-perceptual valve, allowing me to absorb much greater quantities of cinematic information than ever before — I hit a wall. Preparing my courses for the fall is the main culprit; in a few weeks I start teaching Swarthmore’s venerable Introduction to Film and Media Studies, but also a class of my own design, Animation and Cinema. My wife and I are also gearing up to move into our new house in September, creating lots of fun details to obsess over, like remodeling our kitchen. With all of this going on, I only made it through about thirteen movies in August, an ignominous list I’ll post later.

But. Here from less hectic times is the complete list for July, in which I watched 36 movies — a personal record. Once again, I’ve placed stars next to the titles that made a particularly strong impact on me.

Movie-a-Day: July 2007

Shock Corridor (Sam Fuller, 1963)
Duel in the Sun (King Vidor, 1946)
On the Waterfront (Elia Kazan, 1954)
McCabe & Mrs. Miller (Robert Altman, 1971)*
Five Easy Pieces (Bob Rafelson, 1970)*
Magnificent Obsession (Douglas Sirk, 1954)
The Conformist (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970)
Ratatouille (Brad Bird, 2007)
The Naked Kiss (Sam Fuller, 1964)
Broken Arrow (Delmer Daves, 1950)
Days of Heaven (Terence Malick, 1978)*
Howl’s Moving Castle (Hayao Miyazaki, 2004)
Imitation of Life (Douglas Sirk, 1959)*
The Ten Commandments (Cecil B. DeMille, 1956)
The 400 Blows (François Truffaut, 1959)
Zodiac (David Fincher, 2007)
La Grande Illusion (Jean Renoir, 1937)
Knocked Up (Judd Apatow, 2007)*
Sans Soleil (Chris Marker, 1983)
Bamboozled (Spike Lee, 2000)
Ugetsu (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1953)*
Scarlet Street (Fritz Lang, 1945)
La Strada (Federico Fellini, 1954)
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1943)
Black Orpheus (Marcel Camus, 1959)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (David Yates, 2007)
Lolita (Stanley Kubrick, 1962)
The Man from Laramie (Anthony Mann, 1955)
Knife in the Water (Roman Polanski, 1962)
Stalker (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1979)*
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Richard Fleischer, 1954)
The Fallen Idol (Carol Reed, 1948)
Saturday Night Fever (John Badham, 1977)
Fellini Satyricon (Federico Fellini, 1969)
Hud (Martin Ritt, 1963)
Jordan Belson: Five Essential Films (Jordan Belson, 2007)

2 thoughts on “Movie-a-Day: July 2007

  1. liking the blog, bob….glad you liked the tarkovsky….all his films are worth checking out….have you seen THE SACRIFICE yet, his last film, done in exile w/ sven nyqvist as DP? there’s a great book he did called SCULPTING IN TIME, which i always reference when starting to talk about editing…i think it’s a great metaphor.

    i’m starting to use blogs w/ students, pushing them to write, and giving them online participation pts….anything to get them writing, right?

  2. Hey Bjorn: Yes, STALKER was great, and I’m looking forward to watching Tarkovsky’s others (embarrassed to admit I haven’t seen SOLARIS yet, though I did look at Soderbergh’s update, and loved Lem’s novel). You’ve mentioned Sculpting in Time to me before, I think, and I need to check it out. For my “accompanying text” on editing, I’m using Walter Murch’s In the Blink of An Eye, as a mild-mannered alternative (kind of a palate cleanser) to the Eisenstein & Vertov screeds.

    Love to hear more about your students’ blogging. I used blogs extensively in my course on TV & New Media last spring, with positive but uneven results. The problem was in setting out clear expectations for participation — one original post per week plus two replies to other posts? or vice-versa? — and evaluation. Also had trouble deciding between individual student blogs (to develop their “voices” in a safe space) versus one big collective class blog. The latter, which we switched to mid-semester, worked better, probably because there were 24 students and the individual blog reading had become something of a chore.

    The other thing I had students do was record podcasts for each week — again, with largely positive results. The downside was that it generated so much content each week, we had trouble working through it all in class meetings. One side effect of new media seems to be a superfluity of information; we never have too little to choose from!

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