Friday, November 5, 2010
The first movie on the Image's list that I decided to tackle was The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928). It is a silent film directed by Carl Dreyer. The first thing that I noticed about the movie is that there seems to be a good reason that people don't watch 1920s silent films anymore. Its hard to watch a movie in complete silence. It actually takes effort to stay focused and follow the action of the movie. In the absence of sound, the viewer must glean all emotion from the sense of sight. I immediately had a new appreciation for music and the power it has to move an audiences emotional connection and reaction to a film. To convey the intense emotion that this film is famous for, Dreyer used stunning photography. Long, almost awkward, shots are held on the main actresses face, so that the viewer can examine and begin to experience every painful gesture of her saintly countenance. By the time she is being burned at the stake, I found that the silent film is the perfect medium to tell the story of Saint Joan. It allows the viewer to experience just a hint of the patience and resolve required of a martyr.
Monday, November 1, 2010
We see it all the time: "Top 100 Films of All-Time". We get excited until we realize we don't recognize the titles of seventy-five percent of the list. A closer look at the years of release of the films usually tells us why we don't recognize the list. Our culture doesn't really like to watch old movies. Many would rather *gasp* read a book than trudge through a black and white film that is "supposed to be really good". After being recruited to help with compiling Image's top 100 films list, I thought it might be time to explore some of these "great", old films. The list is decided by the journal's online forum community. It is essentially decided by a small group of cinephiles who have an interest in creating a list with their faith's development in mind. As a result, the list does not have all the typical top movies, but includes a long list of foreign and old films. Of their 2010 top 100 films I had heard of seven and seen five...not a great percentage. So I've decided to give some of these films a chance.