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Monday, January 28, 2013

February Film Club

Greetings!  Thank you to everyone who made it out for Rashomon, we had a good turnout.  I'd also like to doubly thank those you who were willing to stick around for a bit of discussion.  I'm going to try and continue that trend so we can have some communication, or at least some sort of dialogue about these great films.  Discussions after the films will definitely continue for all those interested in participating.  I look forward to hearing your reactions.
So, February will be here in four days and that means a new film approaches.  For the month of February, we will be watching:

Directed by: Woody Allen

Manhattan is a 1979 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Woody Allen from his screenplay co-written with Marshall Brickman and produced by Charles H. Joffe.  The film opens with a montage of images of Manhattan accompanied by George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue.  Isaac Davis (Woody Allen) in introduced as a man writing a book about his love for New York City.  He is a twice-divorced, 42-year-old comedy writer for television dealing with the women in his life who quits his unfulfilling job.  He is dating Tracy (Mariel Hemingway), a 17-year-old girl attending the Dalton School.  His best friend, Yale Pollack (Michael Murray), married to Emily (Anne Byrne), is having an affair with Mary Wilkie (Diane Keaton).  Mary's ex-husband and former teacher, Jeremiah (Wallace Shawn), also appears.  Isaac's ex-wife Jill Davis (Meryl Streep) is writing a confessional book about their marriage.  Jill has also since come out of the closet as a lesbian and lives with her female partner Connie (Karen Ludwig).  Isaac himself ends up falling in love with Mary (Diane Keaton).
Manhattan was filmed in black-and-white.  The decision to shoot in black and white was to give New York City a "great look".  The film also features music composed by George Gershwin, including his arguably most famous musical piece, Rhapsody in Blue, which inspired the idea behind the film.  Allen described the film as a combination of his previous two films, Annie Hall and Interiors.

The film was met with widespread critical acclaim and was nominated for two Academy Awards:  Best Supporting Actress for Hemingway and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for Allen, although it lost both awards.  Often considered Allen's best film, it ranks 46th on AFI's list of top comedy films.  In 2001, the United States Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.  The film holds a 98% "Certified Fresh" rating on (Click for more info) based on 49 critical reviews.

This is one of my absolute favorite Woody Allen films, not quite as funny as Annie Hall but not quite as serious as Interiors, Manhattan is a wonderful blend of both.

We will be meeting Thursday, February 21st at 6:15pm
Hope to see you there!

Here's the trailer:

Monday, January 7, 2013

January Film Club

Happy New Year everyone!  Hope you all had a safe and enjoyable holiday.  A new year brings a whole new lineup of films to view over the course of this year, so, for the returning Film Club members, I hope to see you again, and for all those who have yet to join, what are you waiting for!?  We'd love to have you watch a film with us.
I was also toying with the idea of a somewhat different format, well, not a different format, just I'd like to include some discussion time if possible.  I believe these films have a great deal of material to talk about, so I was thinking of implementing that.  Any feedback would be appreciated.

Now, on to business.  The film for January will be:

Directed by: Akira Kurosawa

Rashomon is a a 1950 Japanese crime drama film directed by Akira Kurosawa, working in close collaboration with cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa.  It stars Toshiro Mifune, Masayuki Mori, Machiko Kyo and Takashi Shimura.  Rashomon introduced Kurosawa and the cinema of Japan to Western audiences, albeit to a small number of theaters, and is considered one of his masterpieces.  The film opens on a woodcutter and a priest sitting beneath Rashomon gate to stay dry in a downpour.  A commoner joins them and they tell him that they've witnessed a disturbing story, which they then begin recounting to him.  The woodcutter claims he found the body of a murdered samurai three days earlier while looking for wood in the forest; upon discovering the body, he says, he fled in a panic to notify the authorities.  The priest says that he saw the samurai and the woman traveling the same day the murder happened.  Both men were then summoned to testify in court, where they met the captured bandit Tajomaru, who claimed responsibility for the rape and murder.

From here, the film goes on to recount the story from the point of view of the bandit, the woman, the samurai and the woodcutter.  What really happened?  Who's story is the correct story?  Come and see the film and find out for yourself.

This a film that is so rich in style and technique, storytelling and humanity (or lack thereof), you won't want to miss this genuine masterpiece.  Hope to see you there!
For those who are interested, Rashomon holds an impressive 100% certified fresh rating on the aggregate review site:

Here's the trailer: