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November 12, 2012, 10:04 am
DB here: In connection with our textbook, Film Art: An Introduction, we’ve created several videos examining film techniques. Thanks to Peter Becker and Kim Hendricksen of Criterion Classics and Janus Films, we’ve been able to include clips from film classics, from Ashes and Diamonds to Ugetsu Monogatari. Because our publisher McGraw-Hill sponsored the production of...
May 3, 2017, 4:52 am
Red (1994). Jeff Smith here: FilmStruck’s latest installment in our Observations on Film Art series presents me talking about Krszystof Kieslowski’s late masterpiece, Red (1994). In the film’s final scene, chance and fate combine to bring a couple together. My comments trace how a cluster of cinematographic techniques has indicated the couple’s connectedness long before they become aware […]
April 13, 2017, 5:08 am
Nocturama (2016). DB here: Despite my recent jab at D. W. Griffith, I gladly give him credit for making crosscutting a central technique of narrative cinema. Using editing to switch our attention from one story line to another is a fundamental resource of moviemaking everywhere. Crosscutting is most apparent in those passages of quickly alternating shots […]
January 23, 2017, 8:06 am
La La Land (2016). The formal method is fundamentally simple. It’s the return to craft (masterstvo). Viktor Shkovsky, 1923 DB here: Not how it was made. We’ll get “The Making of La La Land” as a DVD bonus, and there are already behind-the-scenes promos. No, this is about how it is made. On this site, […]
December 11, 2016, 9:39 am
Moses and Aaron (1974). DB here: When the stack of books by friends threatens to topple off my filing cabinet, I know it’s time to flag them for you. I can’t claim to have read every word in them, but (a) we know the authors are trustworthy and scintillating; (b) what I’ve read, I like; (c) […]
November 24, 2016, 7:15 am
Arrival (2016). DB here: A lot of today’s movie storytelling is nonlinear. Filmmakers rely on flashbacks, replays, and voice-overs in order to shape our experience, sometimes in fairly daring ways. In Hollywood these strategies got consolidated in the 1940s. Or so I argue in my Reinventing Hollywood, now in copy-editing (or as the University of Chicago Press calls it, […]
October 22, 2016, 3:15 pm
DB here: Not all cinephiles are comics fans, but quite a few are. I guess it’s partly a matter of the Adolescent Window, and partly an intuition that both are forms of what Will Eisner calls “sequential art.” For my part, a Boomer childhood spent with Nancy and Little Lulu and Scrooge McDuck was followed […]
September 25, 2016, 7:40 pm
Sully (2016). What happens in the Forties doesn’t stay in the Forties. That’s one motto of the book I’ve just finished on Hollywood storytelling in the period 1939-1952. The argument is that several narrative conventions that crystallized in that era became part of the Hollywood tradition and continue to shape the films of today. I […]
August 28, 2016, 3:58 pm
The Chase (1946). DB here: While writing my book on Forties Hollywood, I often felt that every movie I talked about was based either on a bestseller, a Broadway play, or something by Cornell Woolrich. Many of the best, or at least strangest, films of the era come from his haunted imagination. The Chase (1946), […]
January 11, 2016, 5:40 am
Premium Rush (David Koepp, 2012). DB here: After nine years, over 700 entries, and many essays and other stuff, this contraption of a website has started to intimidate us. If we’re intimated, you might be flabbergasted. Although a set of categories sits on the right to guide your exploration of this tangled databank, those too loom large […]
September 1, 2015, 11:15 am
Side Street (1949). DB here: …just knocks you out. “It can only be fully recommended to those who have a deep and morbid interest in crime.” Snooty judgments like this made Bosley Crowther the critical joke of generations. Today film lovers wear their deep and morbid interest in crime as a badge of honor. Especially […]
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