» Posts Tagged ‘history’

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OFOTCNVery few films both capture my imagination and speak to my soul the way One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest does. The story of R.P. McMurphy, written originally by Ken Kesey (who’s an absolute legend in my neck of the drum circle) was adapted for the screen in 1975, went on to win a handful of Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director for Miloš Forman, and continues to be the embodiment of the rebellious spirit of the 60s. From a filmmaking perspective, though, the production of OFOTCN is a true testament to how Murphy’s Law (McMurphy’s Law? “V, stop.”) can actually be beneficial to your film — how sometimes it’s the mistakes, problems, and dead ends that reveal the true potential of not only your project, but you as a filmmaker. More »

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historyShocking as it may seem, there was a time before movies (I know, crazy). But there was; though they dominate our lives today and shape all of the media we consume, narrative motion pictures (I’m talking about movies that, though they may be artful, see themselves as entertainment rather than art”) have only been around for a little more than a century, which, in time terms, is not that long. But now, because you are lucky enough to live in the future, you can watch this video from CineFix that tells the history of the movies (and Hollywood, where many movies live) in ten minutes. So, cool kids, put down your hoverboard, grab some Sunny D, and check it out! More »

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famous movie film poster actor director artist peter stults james dean driveWhat if your favorite film had been made decades before it actually debuted — which famous actors would star? Or if a summer blockbuster had been made way back in cinema history, who might have been the director? And what would the poster look like? Such is the theme around which artist Peter Stults’ series “What If: Movies Re-Imagined” revolves, taking the form of movie posters from alternative-reality Hollywood. Complete with Golden Age stars and artwork to match the re-imagined time period, the results are truly stimulating to the imagination. More »

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The JokerThe year 2000 didn’t just usher in a brand new millennium, with bursting Dot Com bubbles, trucks like dumps, and fears of Y2K, it also marked the beginning of a wave of superhero films that has only been growing in recent years. But why? Why are we seeing so many of these types of films being made? Is it because Hollywood has just run out of ideas, or is there something else going on? Well, PBS’ Idea Channel aims to answer that in this enlightening video that explores the history of comic book heroes; how superheroes have changed from unstoppable rebels to law enforcing authority figures, as well as the historical trends in superhero cinema and how they correlate with society and culture. More »

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Room 666If you could get a large group of some of cinema’s greatest directors in one room, what would you ask them? Well, director Wim Wenders got that opportunity while at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival, and subsequently made a documentary about it. 16 iconic directors, including Jean-Luc Godard, Steven Spielberg, Werner Herzog, and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, were asked a series of questions about the future of the film industry, as well as the art form itself, and their answers became an incredible 44-minute video compendium of cinematic knowledge. Check it Wenders’ Room 666 after the break. More »

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WesternsWe talk a lot about the history of cinema here at NFS, but one topic that we don’t touch on very often is the role genre played in the early years of moving pictures.  Studying genre is important not only for understanding each of their individual, often unique narrative and cinematic devices, but to be able to recognize the political, social, and economical issues found in the places from which these genre films were made. This 1983 13-part series, The Amazing Years of Cinema, hosted by Douglas Fairbanks Jr., took audiences through cinematic history, with a specific focus on some of the most prevalent genres, and Cinephilia and Beyond has shared a few episodes that tackle the Western and the Comedy. More »

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muybridgeWhen you walk through the halls of cinematic history, what faces do you see? Most likely to show up are some big names from the first 50 years of filmmaking, like Alfred Hitchcock, John Huston, and Charlie Chaplin, or even figureheads of production, like the Warner Brothers, or the inventor of the early camera, Thomas Edison. However, there is one man who often isn’t recognized, or at least well known, for his contributions to cinema, who more or less brought about the birth of the moving picture through his horse gait experiment – Eadweard Muybridge. In this excellent BBC documentary, learn all about the life and work of this eccentric, name changing, , English photographer who once killed his cheating wife’s lover — and got acquitted. More »

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Timeline CinemaKnowing about the history of cinema is a great first step in becoming a well-rounded student of film, and though it’s pretty simple figuring out where to start (at the beginning), sometimes it’s a little bit intimidating navigating the timeline to find out which parts were pivotal in the development of the industry and art. The Ministry of Cinema has taken the guesswork out of it by breaking down cinematic history into its most integral parts in a 6-part video series entitled A Timeline of World Cinema. More »

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Movie TrailerThey are the reason why we show up on time to the movie theater — “Hurry up! We’re gonna miss the previews!” Previews, movie trailers, or coming attractions are a staple of the cinematic experience and are more often than not enjoyed as pieces of art (or 1 1/2 minute short) rather than seen as advertisements (though they are both). In this comprehensive video, John P. Hess of Filmmaker IQ takes us on a journey through the history of the movie trailer, offering an interesting perspective by explaining not only how they’ve changed over time, but why they’ve changed. More »

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Camera Operator HistoryEvery so often, in my aimless meandering through the interwebs, I come across something that warrants immediate sharing on this site. More often than not, it’s news of an emerging piece of technology or a cinematographer talking about their craft. However, sometimes I come across something that has a far more profound effect. I found one such thing today in the form of a video that played at the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Awards for the Society of Camera Operators. It’s a tribute to the past, present, and future of the motion picture camera, and it compresses and contextualizes the entirety of the history of motion pictures into the span of 4 minutes. I have a feeling that you will enjoy as much as I did. More »

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Dogme 95When you think of a film movement, what comes to mind? Political/social rebellion? Self-expression? Freedom? Rarely will someone say “strict and rigid rules”, but that is indeed the structure put in place by Danish directors Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg when they formed Dogme 95. A controversial, but influential movement, Dogme 95 gave birth to some incredibly important films, like Festen and Idioterne. If you’d like to learn more about Dogme, what better way to learn about it than from one of its founders. Watch director Sophie Fiennes’ short documentary Lars from 1-10, and find out how less freedom could mean more creative films. More »

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EisensteinEssentially ever since cinema’s inception, there has been a great question about its complicated nature — answers to which have spawned an even greater debate among film theorists: What makes a film a film? One theory, formulated by Russian filmmaker and “Father of Montage”, Sergei Eisenstein, claims that the footage captured by a camera is nothing more than raw material. Not until that raw material is edited do you have a film — at least according to the Soviet Theory of Montage. John P. Hess of Filmmaker IQ breaks down the history of montage editing in the second video in their History of Cutting series. Check it out after the jump. More »

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SupermanOne of the Academy Award categories that is fast becoming not only an industry favorite, but a fan favorite, is Best Visual Effects — and for good reason. VFX have made it possible to tell impossible stories, ever more adeptly selling the illusion that what’s up on-screen, be it Ryan Stone adrift in space or Tony Stark’s exoskeleton, is absolutely real. With this year’s Oscars is proving to be another big year for visual effects, with the nominations of Gravity and Iron Man 3 to name a couple, let’s take a look at the last 37 years of Academy Award-winning VFX in this great retrospective by Nelson Carvajal. More »

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Citizen KaneCitizen Kane: the #1 favorite film of 100% of freshman film school students and young lovers of cinema. (Remember Michael Scott’s nephew, Luke? Case in point.) Though the title of “greatest movie ever” is impossible to possess, Citizen Kane’s praises have become so commonplace that, unfortunately, some tend to take its cinematic command for granted — even though the film proved Orson Welles and famed cinematographer Gregg Toland to be real pioneers of the craft. Take a look at these incredibly insightful documentaries about the making of Welles’ masterpiece, and renew your appreciation for a truly groundbreaking piece of cinema. More »

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TarkovskyRussian director Andrei Tarkovsky was a filmmaker that emphatically put cinema in the realm of art. Some may take that for granted, however history tells us that film theorists were anything but unanimous on the true nature of film — is it a representation of life? Is it art? Is it meant for the betterment of society, or the promotion of ideals? Tarkovsky’s spiritual and poetic stance on cinema as art is not only what makes his work so important, but also what guided him through his filmmaking process. Continue on to hear Tarkovsky speak in several interviews and documentaries about the nature of film from his own perspective. More »

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Action FilmWho doesn’t like a good action flick, right? A bullet-dodging, time-bombing, impenetrable hero that doesn’t know the meaning of the word physics is one of my guiltiest pleasures. But, over the years it has become very apparent that action films have changed significantly into two hours of sensory overload from the entertaining run/jump/climb jaunts they once were. In this three-part video essay, Los Angeles scholar and filmmaker Matthias Stork takes a deeper look into the changes in filming and editing in the action genre, which, according to him has birthed what he calls “chaos cinema”. More »

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Akira KurosawaAkira Kurosawa is one of the most influential, as well as celebrated directors in all of cinematic history, especially when it comes to Japanese filmmaking. He was heavily involved in nearly ever aspect of his films’ production process, from co-writing scripts to editing (many considered editing the director’s greatest strength as a filmmaker). In this 90-minute documentary, A Message from Akira Kurosawa: For Beautiful Movies (2000), Kurosawa shares his unique insight in ten interviews that were conducted towards the end of his life, discussing screenwriting, shooting, cinematography, directing, and his “quest for making the perfect — ‘beautiful’ movie,” — definitely a masterclass in filmmaking from a filmmaking master. More »

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lazlo_vilmos01As November comes to a close, the holiday season is officially upon us. Alongside the decadent meals and retail shopping absurdity, most of us have a few extra days off to lounge around in our pajamas and watch movies. If you’re like me, however, the process of figuring out what to watch is way more daunting than it should be. For that reason, I’ve compiled a list of 10 excellent films about filmmaking, all of which are currently available on Netflix Instant. Now that I’ve taken all of the guesswork out of figuring out what to watch, grab some hot cocoa (or spiked egg nog), throw on your Snuggie, and settle in for two days worth of awesome filmmaking movies. More »

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David LeanBritish filmmaker David Lean was an epic director in more ways than one. Not only did he become known for his epic films, like Lawrence of Arabia and Dr. Zhivago, but his incredible renown for his cinematic excellence has spanned decades. But, perhaps more epic than his films and reputation was his grand approach to filmmaking. An inspiring look into the director’s life on set in the BBC Four short documentary, David Lean and his Dedicated Maniacs, reveals just how far one would go to exercise his passion for cinema. More »

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zoetropeI’m sure that when the awesome people who brought us GIFs like “Cupcake Dog” or Kate Upton doing the Cat Daddy, they had no idea that they were participating in cinema’s earliest attempts at filmmaking. I mean — what is a GIF if not a digital reproduction of early animations created in devices that utilized the same persistence of vision principals we use today? Right? In other words, GIFs are phenakistoscopes, praxinoscopes, and zoetropes for the 21st century. Don’t think so? Well, you might change your mind once you see Richard Balzer bring these 19th century animations to life using the technology of the 21st century. Behold — 19th century GIFs. More »