Old School: Daisies (1966)

Currently in the midst of research for my final film paper of the year. So this will be a quick update.

I continue to pay to see movies that are total crap. I think we can all admit to that. 21 Jump Street? American Pie Reunion? Either these movies are marketed completely wrong or they are just what they appear to be. Shallow, slapstick and made for guys. Maybe there is a kiss at the end to make my fellow girls comfortable with the $11 price tag. But we are not all completely lovesick-so where is the appeal?

I have spent this entire semester trying to understand why we like what we like. Hard to come up with a concrete answer, but we often like anything be it our political figures to the TV shows we watch to conform to our perception of the ideal. But maybe we don’t have to think like that all of the time. Take a break and check out “Daisies” (directed by Vera Chytilová) a flick from Czechoslovakia in the 60’s. The film will be different from anything you have ever seen, but there are definite themes to pick up on throughout. The color work is gorgeous and the spin of farce is quirkier than Zooey deschanel will ever be. And lucky you, a link to the ENTIRE movie is on YouTube. So no one has any excuse!


Old School: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)

I am currently digging the moment in history we are exploring in my film class. These films were made when my parents were just tiny babies (cue the aws) and there is synchronized sound. How I rue the intertitle. Films were sometimes in color and still often filmed in black and white. I find I am usually not that distracted by the color of film, unless of course that is the focus! The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is a unique film for its time period within the French New Wave. Directed by Jacques Demy this film is entirely sung, quite like an opera rather than a typical musical movie we would see today. It is highly stylized which brings to the forefront the self reflexivity and emerging meta analysis of film during the 60s. Characters often refer to going to movie theater themselves. This is the opening clip, which I love for its sweeping romanticism as well as portrayal of Parisian youth city life. Check out the entire film for the not so expected ending.

Old School: The Bicycle Thief (1948)

Now that we’re past the awkward introduction day for all of my classes, we’re really delving into the material. Being a Media studies major, I study all sorts of topics. I can’t say I’m ever quite bored. I mainly focus on the intersections between psychology and film, and lucky for me every Monday and Wednesday is filled with such classes. My film class is not just a typical film class, but rather one that is greatly expanding my knowledge of international cinema. Hollywood isn’t the only force out there when it comes to great filmmaking. I think it might be cool to catalog my favorite clips from my class on my blog-a treat to whomever looks on here and a great resource for me to look back upon. This week is Italian Neorealism, and I had a hard time holding back tears while watching the end of Vittorio De Sica’s film, The Bicycle Thief (or Bicycle Thieves depending on whichever title you choose to use). The way the son grasps his fathers hand in the end, bone chilling. I hope to watch this film in its entirety, if you’re at all interested check out the YouTube clip above but I warn you, it’s a full on spoiler of the end!

Old School: Anna May Wong

thanks doctor macro.com!

After finishing off a semester at school I have grown fond for all things old school. From clothing to music tastes–sometimes it seems like Vassar is stuck in the 90’s, or reaching back to the 70’s. Nothing quite wrong with that, at times. This new feature of mine, “Old School” is dedicated to some vintage favorites of mine, from film, literature, photography, and culture in general.

It is often fun to look back even within the short history of cinema. The film industry is often unforgiving–sometimes credit is not always there when it is due. Anna May Wong is one of those actresses. Despite being a Chinese American, most of her work was considered to be solely Chinese. She strove to be the leading lady but was continually handed supporting or narrowly ethnic roles. Frustrated she went to Europe, only to return to the United States. It is tragic she died so young, but with her lasting legacy such as the 1932 film Shanghai Express we have enough to be thankful for. I might also be jealous of her ability to work the bang look…le sigh.