Jury Coordination and Notes

The Art Of Cinema by Clayton Pickard, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

artofcinema_1.jpgThe art of cinema is much more than big budget, Hollywood movies. I  was lucky enough to take a Cinema and Literature course at NYU this past semester. In this course, I was exposed to the art of film and its relationship to the art of literature. From silent films to French New Wave, from low-budget independent films to Italian art films, this course had it all.

The first screening was Metropolis by Fritz Lang. It was released in 1927 and is still considered a masterpiece of the silent genre. This is the only film in the class that I thought was a little slow and boring. Our second screening consisted of a very intense, French New Wave film, Hiroshima Mon Amour. This film was also slow, but in a very interesting, intellectual way. It’s a love story between a French actress and a Japanese man, both of whom are harboring sad memories of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Les Miserables was another film that we screened. There have been many films based on this classic Victor Hugo novel. We watched the 1935 Hollywood version, directed by Richard Boleslawski and starring Charles Laughton. I really enjoyed this film. It had action, romance, politics and even obsession.Clayton.jpg Then we screened a wonderful, low- budget, independent film called Sugar Cane Alley. This film is a coming-of-age story of a young boy, Jose, growing up in Martinique. His Grandmother, Martine, makes dire sacrifices in order for young Jose to get a good education.  The most intellectually difficult film we watched was Death In Venice by the Italian director Luchino Visconti. This film is based on the novella by Thomas Mann. It is one of the most gorgeously shot and scored films of all time. It concerns a German composer who is blocked creatively and travels to Venice to get inspiration. The last film we saw was Gemma Bovery, a satire of the original book Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. Set in France, it is a charming comedy-of-manners.

This course widened my view of movies. I now have developed the patience to watch these intellectual and slow paced films. Compared to the typical Hollywood blockbusters that are offered, these films are truly an art form that deserve to be studied and belong in a museum. I urge all of you to expand your viewpoint on movies and sample some of these films.

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