|Line Describing a Cone
|Un chien andalou
|Buster Keaton, Clyde Bruckman
|The Gleaners and I
|Bringing Up Baby
|Touch of Evil
|Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari
Line Describing a Cone
A film that performs the concept of cinema as a full-body experience for the spectators: a dark room, a screen, a projection beam, time that enables a story (that of a circle and a cone) to evolve, spectators who are confronted with a new experience that has been conceived by someone else but in which they can – in this case – literally submerge.
Un chien andalou
In its rejectionist attitude towards logically narrative feature film Un chien andalou broadens the understanding of what film is and can be. Through its surrealist shock images it disturbs spectators and makes them aware of their mind actually being the instrument constructing narration (even in cases when there is no coherent one).
The film highlights two main aspects of the filmic medium: its oneiric dreamlike quality and its being constructed by the use of montage, especially the fact that in between two images there always is a third space which depends as much upon the intentions of the filmmaker as it depends on the reading of the spectator (depending on his former experiences).
The film conveys the portrait of a provincal town (Rimini) during the time of Mussolini's fascism with such opulent images and narrative verve that the spectators can almost corporally feel themselves being part of it.
The personal, autobiographical film follows the structure of a photo album. It consists of 62 different episodes which deliver individual stories, focusing on rituals, conventions, extraordinary events which through condensed memory make an almost surreal impression. Amarcord is a perfect example of how film can transform personal memories into a universal portrait of a certain time, space, circumstance.
The film is a perfect example of the grotesque comic of silent movies and the most sophisticated of Buster Keaton's works. It shows his meticulous planning of the stunts and his (concerning the circumstances always unbelievably steadfast) optimism while his 'stone face' reflects our bewilderment at such an uninhabitable world.
The Gleaners and I
The film shows the potential of the essay film; it is as much a self-portrait as it is a social study. Following the I-narrator's voice we make out relationships which we hadn't noticed before, so what comes across as a personal narrative develops into a study of the world and the state it is in. What is particularly striking is the humanism that underlies the film.
Bringing Up Baby
Bringing up Baby has everything a perfect screwball comedy needs: an unbelievably twisted plot with misadventures and misunderstandings galore, extroverted characters delivering witty and speedy dialogue, and a constantly quarrelling romantic couple-to-be. What makes it outstanding is the gender questioning performance of Hepburn and Grant, Hepburn playing the exceedingly self-reliant autonomous woman with money and Grant the bemused timid neurotic who has no money and has to be looked after.
Touch of Evil
Film noir in its final state and with the characteristic touch of Orson Welles. The story, about corruption in the police, once again questions the easy construction of good and bad in a thrilling plot and a visually highly appealing way, with the establishing shot still being of extraordinary quality.
Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari
Much more than the obvious horror story of a hypnotist and his somnabulist medium, the film brings about the social and cultural atmosphere of a country opening itself to fascism. Beyond its story the film fascinates with its expressionist decor and stage design, which needs to be seen as a fruitful co-operation between different disciplines of art.
Using only found footage (most of it newsreel), Conner created a mind-blowing experience showing how montage determines meaning and how constructing meaning in that way can at the same time deconstruct the usual representation of life in movies. The film also plays with the expectations and the associative mind of the spectator, and in that respect is still very entertaining. A groundbreaking work that laid the foundation for many found-footage films to come.
The experimental documentary investigates gay and lesbian lives, their absence/presence in movies, combining interviews with homosexual couples with footage from early films in the LGBTQI context. Hammer thus tries to create a history of people who have gone unseen for decades, who even erased their own traces. Nitrate Kisses is an activist counter-history which marks the invisibility of LGBTQI life in film (and society).