History of Film

Redeemed

Well-known member
I would concur that much contemporary filmmaking (at least here in North America) is lacking in depth... I like cool special effects as much as the next guy (or gal), but when these become the focus rather than the plot or character development, the resultant story is empty. Effects should support the story, not be the story.


I'll be gone after tonight until Monday, but I'm just finishing the abstract at this point --- I won't finish the paper for another couple months and won't present it for a couple months after that. An abstract is usually no more than a couple hundred words in length and summarizes the paper... it is used to evaluate whether a paper is suitable for a particular conference and, if accepted, helps the conference organizers group the papers together by theme as sessions often run concurrently --- conference-goers must choose which sessions to attend, based on these themes and reading the abstracts. In other words, it's a short but very important piece of writing that will ultimately determine if one's paper gets to the conference and how many people will sit in to listen to your presentation!

I hope you find Shoeshine a worthy addition to the growing group of films we've been exploring --- as noted previously, it was the first foreign film to be recognized at the Academy Awards and is my personal favorite among the neorealist films because of the Joseph connections. A few things to look out for would be the religious iconography (the prison was formerly a convent), the significance of the diegetic cinema sequence and its aftermath, the motif of (figurative) blindness, the boys as representatives of the Italian people and the meaning of tragedy. Enjoy your viewing(s) and your weekend... I'll be back on Monday to continue our forays into the history of film! :)

Kind regards,
Jonathan

Shoeshine wow what can I say. This is a serious hard-core movie about life. You win some you lose some some are rained out. It made me think of all the random things that happen in our lives and the consequences of those things and where they lead us. It made me think of that song by Frank Sinatra " That's Life". There is one line in the song that goes... Riding high in April shot down and May. It made me think of the scene where the they took possession of the horse and went for a ride all happy and proud of their accomplishment then the next scene they are taken into custody for the shakedown they were involved in unknowingly.

I noticed one of the actors from bicycle thieves, the guy that headed up the posse looking for a stolen bike was also in shoeshine as leader of the shakedown crew.

There's definitely a lot to get out of this film. So once again Jonathan thanks for pointing me to it.
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
Shoeshine wow what can I say. This is a serious hard-core movie about life. You win some you lose some some are rained out. It made me think of all the random things that happen in our lives and the consequences of those things and where they lead us. It made me think of that song by Frank Sinatra " That's Life". There is one line in the song that goes... Riding high in April shot down and May. It made me think of the scene where the they took possession of the horse and went for a ride all happy and proud of their accomplishment then the next scene they are taken into custody for the shakedown they were involved in unknowingly.

I noticed one of the actors from bicycle thieves, the guy that headed up the posse looking for a stolen bike was also in shoeshine as leader of the shakedown crew.

There's definitely a lot to get out of this film. So once again Jonathan thanks for pointing me to it.
You're welcome... yes, Shoeshine is a bleak film where things continually go from bad to worse. After the first fifteen minutes or so it is unrelenting in this trajectory and ends, as you now know, with Giuseppe's fatal fall. I'll tease out a couple of things from my earlier post that would perhaps be of most interest in this thread/forum, namely the religious iconography and related themes.

The painting of the crucified Jesus in the common area of the prison is the most obvious, the crucifix hanging behind the judges' bench at the trial is less conspicuous after it is briefly shown at the beginning of the sequence... without exhausting their significance, foreshadowing Giuseppe's death is key; not only his death, but also that of Raffaele, who is arguably the most sympathetic and Christ-like character in the movie. His name is that of a healing archangel in Jewish and Christian tradition; his surname, mentioned in passing, is Di Dio, which means "from God" --- that he dies not directly from the tuberculosis infection with which he suffers but from being trampled (though he succumbs quickly to his injuries because his body is already compromised) upsets the widespread tradition in literature and film of the sickly child who inspires others through his/her death. On the contrary, Raffaele's death breaks Bartoli, who has tried to look out for the boy as best he could, and Giuseppe's death presumably leads to longer if not permanent imprisonment for Pasquale, who has already been branded a violent offender after the altercation with Arcangeli (this name is also by no means a coincidence) --- both deaths are presented as pure tragedies with no redeeming qualities. The 3D photographic journey linked below is brilliant in many ways, but misses the bleakness of the film by returning to the happy beginning at the end...

Kind regards,
Jonathan

 

Redeemed

Well-known member
You're welcome... yes, Shoeshine is a bleak film where things continually go from bad to worse. After the first fifteen minutes or so it is unrelenting in this trajectory and ends, as you now know, with Giuseppe's fatal fall. I'll tease out a couple of things from my earlier post that would perhaps be of most interest in this thread/forum, namely the religious iconography and related themes.

The painting of the crucified Jesus in the common area of the prison is the most obvious, the crucifix hanging behind the judges' bench at the trial is less conspicuous after it is briefly shown at the beginning of the sequence... without exhausting their significance, foreshadowing Giuseppe's death is key; not only his death, but also that of Raffaele, who is arguably the most sympathetic and Christ-like character in the movie. His name is that of a healing archangel in Jewish and Christian tradition; his surname, mentioned in passing, is Di Dio, which means "from God" --- that he dies not directly from the tuberculosis infection with which he suffers but from being trampled (though he succumbs quickly to his injuries because his body is already compromised) upsets the widespread tradition in literature and film of the sickly child who inspires others through his/her death. On the contrary, Raffaele's death breaks Bartoli, who has tried to look out for the boy as best he could, and Giuseppe's death presumably leads to longer if not permanent imprisonment for Pasquale, who has already been branded a violent offender after the altercation with Arcangeli (this name is also by no means a coincidence) --- both deaths are presented as pure tragedies with no redeeming qualities. The 3D photographic journey linked below is brilliant in many ways, but misses the bleakness of the film by returning to the happy beginning at the end...

Kind regards,
Jonathan

Thanks for posting the YouTube video Jonathan. They showed my favorite scene twice where they were riding the horse through town. I really enjoyed watching the video clip but what really struck me were the actors and the good job they did. It made me think of the viewers that saw shoeshine when it first came out. It must've been amazing to them. First of all that someone could create a film like that and tell a deeply moving story. The acting and directing and the technology plus the story line all blending together had to been amazing for that time period.

The scene you mentioned where they are loving on the horse I think they showed that twice the video clip also. It made me think that might be something Pasquale would play in his mind over and over as the only happy memory he had that would help him do his time in prison.
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
Thanks for posting the YouTube video Jonathan. They showed my favorite scene twice where they were riding the horse through town. I really enjoyed watching the video clip but what really struck me were the actors and the good job they did. It made me think of the viewers that saw shoeshine when it first came out. It must've been amazing to them. First of all that someone could create a film like that and tell a deeply moving story. The acting and directing and the technology plus the story line all blending together had to been amazing for that time period.

The scene you mentioned where they are loving on the horse I think they showed that twice the video clip also. It made me think that might be something Pasquale would play in his mind over and over as the only happy memory he had that would help him do his time in prison.
For sure in terms of replaying the memory itself... whether it would be a happy one in light of his circumstances is an open question. He's already been branded a violent offender and they come across him at the end screaming "What have I done?!" over Giuseppe's dead body. Accident though it was, there's no reason to think justice will prevail now after so many travesties leading up to it... at least that's my interpretation. Yes, Shoeshine was something unique in its time... well received internationally, but not at home in Italy where it shone a light on a broken system.

As before, I'll hold back further comments for the book and toss the ball back in your court in terms of where you'd like to go next. There's still Roberto Rossellini's War Trilogy (Rome, Open City; Paisà; Germany Year Zero) if you are interested in continuing with more neorealism... and I should point out that the three movies are not related to each other in terms of plot or characters so you can watch one or all and in any order you like and it will not make a difference. If you wanted to move on, that's cool, too --- you were mentioning some forays you were making into movies on Prime or if you wanted to pick a theme or decade or historical event or country's cinema that interests you, I probably have something in my filmography to keep things going. Just let me know!

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

Redeemed

Well-known member
Rome Open City sounds good to me. I will rent it Friday watch the heck out of it and discuss it on Monday. I'll read up on it before I rent it and if you have any pointers for me to keep an eye out for that would be appreciated. You take care Jonathan, talk to you later. And thanks for all your help.
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
Rome Open City sounds good to me. I will rent it Friday watch the heck out of it and discuss it on Monday. I'll read up on it before I rent it and if you have any pointers for me to keep an eye out for that would be appreciated. You take care Jonathan, talk to you later. And thanks for all your help.
Rome, Open City it is then! I am sure you will enjoy it... though, situated during the war and specifically during the Nazi occupation, it is violent in a way that De Sica's two films situated in the postwar period are not. In terms of what to watch for, I would recommend again religious iconography, particularly the Roman landmark in the iconic final scene, and Rossellini's religious apologetic (De Sica's was more subtle and critical). While the focus of this film is on its adult protagonists, the kids are part of and play a role in the underground resistance to the fascists rather than being passive victims as they are so often assumed to be. I will be taking weekends off until the paper is written so your Friday rental, weekend viewings and Monday reaction work out perfectly! The video below is a plug for others to watch the movie this week...

Kind regards,
Jonathan


 

BJ Bear

Well-known member
Renewing film history?

I've been enjoying the Noir City Film Festival years. One of the things that the proceeds go to is film restoration. Seeing restored classics on the big screen is, well, classic.

The old Egyptian Theater in LA has sometimes shown silents with live music accompanying it. Definitely worth experiencing if you find yourself in the area and the fascists don't have the city on lockdown.
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
I've been enjoying the Noir City Film Festival years.
Thanks for chiming into the thread. Ah, film noir --- an entire thread could be devoted to these movies, which like the neorealism films we are currently exploring, had their origin in the 1940s though with roots in Depression-era crime fiction and occasionally non-fiction... the case of serial killer Harry Powers was the basis for David Grubb's best-selling novel The Night of the Hunter (1953), which was made into a motion picture two years later. Like Shoeshine, which was a financial flop in Italy, this film failed at the American box office... while Shoeshine immediately won acclaim abroad, Hunter did so only gradually over the ensuing decades and is now widely considered a masterpiece. Indeed, I consider it a brilliant movie well ahead of its day in blending film noir with the horror aspects of fairy tale and paying homage to German expressionism. Was this film included in any of the festivals you attended?

Kind regards,
Jonathan

 

BJ Bear

Well-known member
Thanks for chiming into the thread. Ah, film noir --- an entire thread could be devoted to these movies, which like the neorealism films we are currently exploring, had their origin in the 1940s though with roots in Depression-era crime fiction and occasionally non-fiction... the case of serial killer Harry Powers was the basis for David Grubb's best-selling novel The Night of the Hunter (1953), which was made into a motion picture two years later. Like Shoeshine, which was a financial flop in Italy, this film failed at the American box office... while Shoeshine immediately won acclaim abroad, Hunter did so only gradually over the ensuing decades and is now widely considered a masterpiece. Indeed, I consider it a brilliant movie well ahead of its day in blending film noir with the horror aspects of fairy tale and paying homage to German expressionism. Was this film included in any of the festivals you attended?

Kind regards,
Jonathan

I'm not sure if it was part of a Noir City Film Festival, but I've seen it on the big screen. There are, or were pre-c19 , numerous art houses in the area.

Your knowledge of film and its history is greater than mine. Thanks for the information regarding NOTH. I didn't knw the story had definite roots in reality.

As a young person film wasn't really on my radar. It became part of a social event and a way of sharing a friendship with friends who are geographically distant.

Someone mentioned the beautiful cinematography of The Searchers. I agree and would also like to mention another but I can't remember the title. All I remember is that it was produced in Mongolia and screened at a Laemelle theater about thirty years ago. It had stunningly beautiful scenes of the Mongolian countryside. Any ideas what the title might be? If it made it to disc I would like to view it again. And again... ^_^
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
Your knowledge of film and its history is greater than mine.
And yet there is so much more to learn! Cinema is a deep, deep well... while I have a reasonable grasp of film history in general, outside my area of research (depictions of children in film), my knowledge is limited primarily to what I've happened to watch in the past forty years. I started about five years ago with a filmography for my book of a few hundred films, which I thought was pretty impressive... five years later it's sitting at 4,500 films and growing. At some point I'll have to cut things off and know there'll be a second edition at some point!

Thanks for the information regarding NOTH. I didn't knw the story had definite roots in reality.
You're welcome... and unfortunately for his victims, yes.

Someone mentioned the beautiful cinematography of The Searchers. I agree and would also like to mention another but I can't remember the title. All I remember is that it was produced in Mongolia and screened at a Laemelle theater about thirty years ago. It had stunningly beautiful scenes of the Mongolian countryside. Any ideas what the title might be? If it made it to disc I would like to view it again. And again... ^_^
There are definitely some gaps in my research... Mongolian film is undoubtedly one of them. The earliest in my database -- one of my search fields is country of origin, yay! -- is a 2003 film called The Story of the Weeping Camel so this is only about twenty years ago, too recent probably to be the one you're thinking of. Looks like wiki has a list of Mongolian films that might help if the title jumps out at you... sorry I couldn't be of more help.

As a young person film wasn't really on my radar. It became part of a social event and a way of sharing a friendship with friends who are geographically distant.
Film has always been an important part of my life... I shared earlier in the thread how I watched The Empire Strikes Back when I was 4yo, which not only made me a huge Star Wars fan, but also a fan of movies generally. One that made quite a lasting impression in terms of my passion for history was the 1981 British comic fantasy film Time Bandits, which featured a boy travelling through time with pint-sized thieves --- I was 6yo at the time and it sparked my interest in different time periods --- it also mixed in the Time of Legend, a fantasy realm where they encounter ogres, a giant and a satanic figure named, appropriately enough, Evil. The film stands up well after forty years and is still enjoyable to watch.

Just to let you know I'm taking weekends off to write a paper for an upcoming conference so I'll be back to the thread on Monday... in the meantime, enjoy your weekend!

Kind regards,
Jonathan

 

Redeemed

Well-known member
Hey Jonathan I just wanted to tell you that I'm not going to be able to continue our discussion on film history or any discussion here on carm as some things have come up and I'm just not going to have the time. Our church is going to be opening back up and I'm going to be a part of that effort. It's a mega church. We run three services Sunday and one Saturday night so it's going to take a lot of work. Plus I'm not doing real well here as far as speaking the truth in love on some of the other threads. So I need to work on that also. It's been great talking with you and learning about film history and I hope and pray everything works out great for you. Take care Jonathan.
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
Hey Jonathan I just wanted to tell you that I'm not going to be able to continue our discussion on film history or any discussion here on carm as some things have come up and I'm just not going to have the time. Our church is going to be opening back up and I'm going to be a part of that effort. It's a mega church. We run three services Sunday and one Saturday night so it's going to take a lot of work. Plus I'm not doing real well here as far as speaking the truth in love on some of the other threads. So I need to work on that also. It's been great talking with you and learning about film history and I hope and pray everything works out great for you. Take care Jonathan.
Thanks for letting me know... I'm sad that we won't be able to continue our discussions here on film and on other topics elsewhere, where you've always been kind toward me. I wish you all the best in the reopening of your church. Not sure you'll be back to catch it, but as the character of Oskar overtones in the trailer below: "So many people will enter and leave your life" -- I hope our brief encounter here on CARM was as edifying for you as it was for me. Take care.

Kind regards,
Jonathan

 

Algernon

Active member
"Satantango"
Film by Bela Tarr. Through the use of really long takes, fixed camera / slow tracking shots and stillness, the otherwise trivial becomes interesting and at times a major event - somewhat like late Morton Feldman compositions. 7 hours. That's right, seven hours.

Recently watched this. Found it fascinating. Was wondering what others think of this film.
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
"Satantango"
Film by Bela Tarr. Through the use of really long takes, fixed camera / slow tracking shots and stillness, the otherwise trivial becomes interesting and at times a major event - somewhat like late Morton Feldman compositions. 7 hours. That's right, seven hours.

Recently watched this. Found it fascinating. Was wondering what others think of this film.
Thanks for the recommend... it is not a film that was on my radar, but I will add it to my long queue of movies to watch, which just got considerably longer with a seven-hour run time! I see it was from 1994, which was around the time of Korczak (1990) and Schindler's List (1993), two Holocaust films that effectively utilized the medium of black and white in the presentation of their subjects. More recent was The White Ribbon (2009), which set itself during the childhoods of those who would perpetrate the aforementioned atrocities...

Kind regards,
Jonathan

 
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