Saturday, August 01, 2015

Materials for the Film to be viewed today


Materials for the Film Viewing Today (1 August 2015)

There will be no lecture today, we will postpone to the next meetings
the oral recitation and discussion since the film we will watch will be 3.25 hour long.

1. Supplemental Materials for Schindler's List

Oskar Schindler (1908 — 1974) was an ethnic German born in the village of Zwittau in Sudetenland, a portion of Czechoslovakia with many German inhabitants. He was known in the village by the name "Gauner," which meant swindler or sharper. A Jewish woman who lived in the town and whose life Schindler later saved, said, "As a Zwittau citizen I never would have considered him capable of all these wonderful deeds." 

Oskar Schindler was a member of the Nazi party. He arrived in Cracow, Poland, just after the collapse of the Polish Army and at the beginning of the German occupation. His first effort, as shown in the film, was to capitalize on the misfortune of the Jews who had recently been forbidden to engage in business. As an added inducement for them to "invest" in his new business, Schindler offered to employ the investors or their relatives in his factory. For years, relations between Schindler and his Jewish workers were circumspect. But as the lot of the Jews in Poland worsened, the workers at Schindler's factory noticed that they were somehow protected. Word of this spread through the Jewish community. 


2. Schindler's List Essay Questions

Children are used throughout the film to indicate family loyalty, despite horrific circumstances. During the liquidation of the ghetto, there are many children/parent pairs featured. One father tries to stop a soldier from shooting his son as he runs away, giving up his own life. Children are also used to symbolize the hopelessness of the Jews' situation. A notable example of this is the little girl in the red coat. Despite her efforts to resist and hide, and despite the red coat that identifies her as special, she ends up dead and piled up with the other victims, nameless and unimportant.

3. Schindler's List: Student Discussion Questions


What is the central theme of Schindler's List? This is a complex question with no "right" answer. The film will speak to each student differently. But the search for the central theme will provide students with a framework to gain useful insights and analytical skills.




Saturday, July 25, 2015

Cinema Paradiso



The story of a lifelong affair with the movies, Cinema Paradiso tells of a young boy in a small Italian village, where the only pastime is a visit to the movies at the Cinema Paradiso. Enchanted by the flickering images, Salvatore yearns for the secret of the cinema's magic and is overjoyed when Alfredo, the projectionist, agrees to reveal the mysteries of moviemaking to him. As their friendship grows, so does Salvatore, growing older with his good friend and the movies he adores, learning from both of them how to court his first love, and dreaming of one day making movies of his own. When the day comes for Salvatore to leave the village and pursue his dream, Alfredo makes the man promise to never look back, to keep moving forward. And so he does, for thirty years, until the day a message arrives that beckons him back home to a secret, beautiful discovery that awaits him there.

If you love movies, it's impossible not to appreciate Cinema Paradiso, Giuseppe Tornatore's heartwarming, nostalgic look at one man's love affair with film, and the story of a very special friendship. Affecting (but not cloying) and sentimental (but not sappy), Cinema Paradiso is the kind of motion picture that can brighten up a gloomy day and bring a smile to the lips of the most taciturn individual. Light and romantic, this fantasy is tinged with just enough realism to make us believe in its magic, even as we are enraptured by its spell.

Most of Cinema Paradiso is told through flashbacks. As the film opens, we meet Salvatore (Jacques Perrin), a famous director, who has just received the news that an old friend has died. Before departing for his home village of Giancaldo the next morning to attend the funeral, he reminisces about his childhood and adolescence, thinking back to places and people he hasn't seen for decades.

As a fatherless child, Salvatore (Salvatore Cascio) loved the movies. He would abscond with the milk money to buy admission to a matinee showing at the local theater, a small place called the Cinema Paradiso. Raised on an eclectic fare that included offerings from such diverse sources as Akira Kurosawa, Jean Renoir, John Wayne, and Charlie Chaplin, Salvatore grew to appreciate all kinds of film. The Paradiso became his home, and the movies, his parents. Eventually, he developed a friendship with the projectionist, Alfredo (Philippe Noiret), a lively middle-aged man who offered advice on life, romance, and how to run a movie theater. Salvatore worked as Alfredo's unpaid apprentice until the day the Paradiso burned down. When a new cinema was erected on the same site, an adolescent Salvatore (Marco Leonardi) became the projectionist. But Alfredo, now blind because of injuries sustained in the fire, remained in the background, filling the role of confidante and mentor to the boy he loved like a son.Cinema Paradiso's first half, with Salvatore Cascio playing the young protagonist, is the superior portion. The boy's experiences in the theater, watching movies and listening to Alfredo's stories, form a kind of journey of discovery. As Salvatore cultivates his love of movies, those in the audience are prodded to recall the personal meaning of film. It's an evocative and powerful experience that will touch lovers of motion pictures more deeply than it will casual movie-goers.

Once Salvatore has grown into his teens, Cinema Paradiso shifts from being a nostalgic celebration of movies to a traditional coming-of-age drama, complete with romantic disappointment and elation. Salvatore falls for a girl named Elena (Agnese Nano), but his deeply- felt passion isn't reciprocated. So he agonizes over the situation, seeks out Alfredo's advice, then makes a bold decision: he will stand outside of Elena's window every night until she relents. In the end, love wins out, but Salvatore's joy is eventually replaced by sadness as Elena vanishes forever from his life.The Screen Kiss is important to Cinema Paradiso. Early in the film, the local priest previews each movie before it is available for public consumption, using the power of his office to demand that all scenes of kissing be edited out. By the time the new Paradiso opens, however, things have changed. The priest no longer goes to the movies and kisses aren't censored. Much later, following the funeral near the end of Cinema Paradiso, Salvatore receives his bequest from Alfredo: a film reel containing all of the kisses removed from the movies shown at the Paradiso over the years. It's perhaps the greatest montage of motion picture kisses ever assembled, and, as Salvatore watches it, tears come to his eyes. The deluge of concentrated ardor acts as a forceful reminder of the simple-yet-profound passion that has been absent from his life since he lost touch with his one true love, Elena. It's a profoundly moving moment -- one of many that Cinema Paradiso offers.

Is Cinema Paradiso manipulative? Manifestly so, but Tornatore displays such skill in the way he excites our emotions that we don't care. This film is sometimes funny, sometimes joyful, and sometimes poignant, but it's always warm, wonderful, and satisfying. Cinema Paradiso affects us on many levels, but its strongest connection is with our memories. We relate to Salvatore's story not just because he's a likable character, but because we relive our own childhood movie experiences through him. Who doesn't remember the first time they sat in a theater, eagerly awaiting the lights to dim? There has always been a certain magic associated with the simple act of projecting a movie on a screen. Tornatore taps into this mystique, and that, more than anything else, is why Cinema Paradiso is a great motion picture.

© 1996 James Berardinelli

Cast: Philippe Noiret, Salvatore Cascio, Marco Leonardi, Jacques Perrin, Antonella Attili, Pupella Maggio, Agnese Nano, Leopoldo Trieste Director: Giuseppe Tornatore Producers: Franco Cristaldi, Giovanna Romagnoli Screenplay: Giuseppe Tornatore Cinematography: Blasco Giurato Music: Ennio Morricone Duration: 2:03

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Film Viewing Schedule


Take note of recent Film Viewing schedule:


1. Departures 2008 (June 13) - 130 mins
Daigo Kobayashi is a devoted cellist in an orchestra that has just been dissolved and now finds himself without a job. Daigo decides to move back to his old hometown with his wife to look for work and start over. He answers a classified ad entitled "Departures" thinking it is an advertisement for a travel agency only to discover that the job is actually for a "Nokanshi" or "encoffineer," a funeral professional who prepares deceased bodies for burial and entry into the next life. While his wife and others despise the job, Daigo takes a certain pride in his work and begins to perfect the art of "Nokanshi," acting as a gentle gatekeeper between life and death, between the departed and the family of the departed. The film follows his profound and sometimes comical journey with death as he uncovers the wonder, joy and meaning of life and living. 


2. The Road Home 1999 (June 20) - 89 mins



City businessman Luo Yusheng returns to his home village in North China for the funeral of his father, the village teacher. He finds his elderly mother insisting that all the traditional burial customs be observed, despite the fact that times have changed so much, and that it involves many people carrying his father's body back to the village - the road home.

As Yusheng debates the complications involved in organising such a big feat, he remembers the magical story of how his father and mother first met and got together.









3. The Piano 1993 (June 27) - 121 mins
It is the mid-nineteenth century. Ada is a mute who has a young daughter, Flora. In an arranged marriage she leaves her native Scotland accompanied by her daughter and her beloved piano. Life in the rugged forests of New Zealand's North Island is not all she may have imagined and nor is her relationship with her new husband Stewart.

 She suffers torment and loss when Stewart sells her piano to a neighbour, George. Ada learns from George that she may earn back her piano by giving him piano lessons, but only with certain other conditions attached. At first Ada despises George but slowly their relationship is transformed and this propels them into a dire situation.


4. Malena 2000 (July 4) - 109 mins
On the day in 1940 that Italy enters the war, two things happen to the 12-year-old Renato: he gets his first bike, and he gets his first look at Malèna. She is a beautiful, silent outsider who's moved to this Sicilian town to be with her husband, Nino. 

He promptly goes off to war, leaving her to the lustful eyes of the men and the sharp tongues of the women. During the next few years, as Renato grows toward manhood, he watches Malèna suffer and prove her mettle. He sees her loneliness, then grief when Nino is reported dead, the effects of slander on her relationship with her father, her poverty and search for work, and final humiliations. Will Renato learn courage from Malèna and stand up for her?



5. Juana La Loca 2001 (July 11) - 115 mins

Juana is married off by her pious parents, the Catholic kings Ferndinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castille, to ally Spain, united by their marriage, to the Burgundian and other Habsburg heritage of archduke Maximilian's son Philip. 

When they meet, it's love at first sight, for her all-consuming, for him one of many happy bed partnerships as she later discovers. Deaths in her family soon make Juana Isabella's heir, but Ferdinand suggests she inherited her grandmother's madness and supports Philip's ambition to rule instead, which becomes the stakes of political maneuvering in the Cortes (nobility-dominated parliament). Combined with Philip's incurable infidelity, which includes a Moorish whore-princess, multiple drama is inevitable, and worse follows.







6. La Vita e Bella 1997 (July 18) - 116 mins [Prelim Examinations]

In 1930s Italy, a carefree Jewish book keeper named Guido starts a fairy tale life by courting and marrying a lovely woman from a nearby city. 

Guido and his wife have a son and live happily together until the occupation of Italy by German forces. In an attempt to hold his family together and help his son survive the horrors of a Jewish Concentration Camp, Guido imagines that the Holocaust is a game and that the grand prize for winning is a tank.










7. Cinema Paradio 1988 (July 25) - 155 mins
A famous film director remembers his childhood at the Cinema Paradiso where Alfredo, the projectionist, first brought about his love of films. He returns home to his Sicilian village for the first time after almost 30 years and is reminded of his first love, Elena, who disappeared from his life before he left for Rome. Written by Graeme Roy















8. Schindler's List (August 1) - 195 mins



Oskar Schindler is a vainglorious and greedy German businessman who becomes an unlikely humanitarian amid the barbaric Nazi reign when he feels compelled to turn his factory into a refuge for Jews.

Based on the true story of Oskar Schindler who managed to save about 1100 Jews from being gassed at the Auschwitz concentration camp, it is a testament for the good in all of us. Written by Harald Mayr

9.  (August 8)

10. (August 15)

11. (August 22)

12. (August 29) - Midterm Examinations

13. (September 5)

14. (September 12)

15. (September 19)

16. (September 26)

17. (October 3)

18. (October 10) - Final Examinations