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Archive for the ‘Directors’ Category

With more exciting news in our Resources category (such as the Prelinger Archives and Portraits of America posts this year), the Library of Congress has announced that the National Screening Room is now online and features extensive resources for media literacy education.  Many items from this vital national archive are now accessible to the general public and classrooms across the country (and world).  As noted in an article by CBS News, among its highlights are: the classic Edwin S. Porter short The Great Train Robbery (featured for study in Chapter 2), the 1953 feature The Hitch-Hiker by Ida Lupino (a prime director for study with Chapter 5), and a wide variety of diverse types of media such as advertisements, PSAs, and home movies that are discussed in such posts as What Exactly is that Movie? on mediateacher.net and in our investigations of motion picture language and screenwriting throughout Moving Images. 

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Still from Charles Burnett’s classic Killer of Sheep

For Black History Month, film critics Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott of the New York Times have compiled an interactive list of culturally, artistically, and historically important motion pictures.  This resource is quite valuable and can also serve as a springboard for interesting discussion.  Along with the movies they have chosen — one per day for the month of February — there are many others noted in their comments and footnotes.  Many directors and other figures from film history who are featured in Moving Images, such as Oscar Micheaux, Spike Lee, and Charles Burnett, are highlighted among the selections.

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Today’s Google Doodle is dedicated to one of the true pioneers and master directors of cinema: Sergei Eisenstein.  In fact, the splash page illustration of Chapter 1 of Moving Images is inspired from one of Eisenstein’s most famous films, The Battleship Potemkin.  Funny enough, you can look to the last post on mediateacher.net to see a reference to the core of one of the key aspects of Eisenstein’s work and the innovations in editing that he and his peers were establishing in their work, montage style of editing and the meanings that can be forged through the relationships and juxtapositions of shots.  The example used there is expressed in the idea known as the Kuleshov Effect.  For more, here is a fine recent article on Eisenstein and another of his celebrated films, October, by Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian

And for a YouTube essay on the function and form of the Kuleshov Effect, check out this video by Folding Ideas.

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Are you in the process of working on developing blocking for action scenes?  Comedy?  What about both?  This excellent video from the YouTube channel Every Frame a Painting (by Tony Zhou and Taylor Ramos) focuses on the work of master filmmaker Jackie Chan, and it features some very revealing insights about his working process and unique approaches to directing and editing (and martial arts choreography, of course).  Of particular note are ways in which he creates scenes in his earlier work produced in Asia versus movies made in Hollywood.  A very fun and enlightening movie for film students.

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Among the very necessary debates and amidst the range of fallout that mediamakers have seen and are still to see from the New York Times investigative report on Harvey Weinstein and his subsequent fall from power as a movie studio executive, media students, educators, and professionals must sift through many perspectives and viewpoints.  I would like to highlight this op-ed by Sarah Polley that appeared today, The Men You Meet Making MoviesMs. Polley was the subject of an earlier post in mediateacher.net’s series on Women Mediamakers, Talking Stories: Portraits with Sarah Polley, which readers may wish to check out for further information on this important multi-talented creator.

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Soderbergh on set of “Logan Lucky”

“Really?  Can’t be.  Say it ain’t so, Steven.”  That was what many of us said when Mr. Soderbergh declared that he was retiring from directing movies.  And for those who had followed, studied, or were inspired by his unique career and creative output, it seemed that this might certainly turn out to be a bit of a joke from a world-class jokester.  Well, that indeed appears to be the case, and of course, he never really retired by any stretch of the term (such as with Behind the Candelabra, The Knick, and more).  Here is an excellent article on Soderbergh right now one week before the release of his promising new movie, Logan Lucky (written by the decidedly mysterious Rebecca Blunt — is this another Soderbergh joke?).

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By grace of the particular brand of her presence in Bong Joon-hos Okja, it is clear that “The Tilda” is a distinct genre unto itself, from Doctor Strange to the films of  Derek Jarman to Michael Clayton, Broken Flowers, and more.  And beyond the power of Tilda Swinton, there is much more to explore, clearly, in the newest work by one of the most dynamic of 21st century directors, Bong Joon-ho (Snowpiercer, Mother, and The Host).

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