Essential but Accessible 60's & 70's flix
Posted 28 June 2005 - 04:34 PM
I get jazzed when I talk about films of the 60s and 70s because it was such a rare moment of artistic freedom and political energy in the Hollywood studios. I'm not sure what the basic goals of your course are, but if film history is a major component, then almost any of these films would give you an excuse to teach them about the Hollywood Film Renaissance. (In fact, one of these grittier films followed by Jaws would be a great way to talk about the transition and the birth of the blockbuster.)
Some films provide richer material than others for discussions of teen angst or the political turmoil of the 60s and 70s (Vietnam, Watergate, the sexual revolution, etc.). Or you could use almost any of these great films to further discussions of cinematographic style, music, production design, acting styles, etc.
I don't mean at all to be patronizing. I know you've taught this class a couple years now. But this is the same advice I give to all of the GTA's here at UT when I give my "teaching films" workshop: Always begin with your learning objectives in mind, then choose the best film for the job.
Posted 28 June 2005 - 04:49 PM
And I want to start equipping them to look for tools and methods used by directors. You'd be amazed how few people understand that camera shots, lighting, lines, editing is intentional on the part of the filmmakers. I want them to recognize these cues and hints and symbols so they're better equiped to appreciate art.
I had a good "Aha!" moment today. We're watching The STright Story right now and we've been discussing how Alvin's journey is like the journey through life. It starts with a young girl, then the older bikers, then the middle aged Reardons, and finally the Reardon's father who is Alvin's age. Then Alvin crosses the river. I told students about the symbolic significance of crossing the river. then, I noticed for the first time, as Alan was crossing over the river, from the other direction a pick-up truck carrying children passes by Alvin, they wave to each other and keep going their separate directions. I paused the movie and I asked the kids, "Who's in the truck?" They said, "Kids." and then from the back "OH my gosh!! It's like their passing each other as one goes into the world as the other goes out. "
I smiled and we kept watching the movie. That never gets old.
Posted 28 June 2005 - 06:22 PM
Machiavelli sez it's better to be feared than loved -- what better way than springing Rublev on them!!
But I'd say "Au Hasard" is particularly accesible to teenagers -- along with "Le Diable, Probablement" -- it's the ultimate teen angst picture!!
Posted 28 June 2005 - 07:20 PM
Nobody's mentioned Network. Has that brief sex scene, and although it was chillingly prophetic, it actually fell short in its imagination of what TV would become. Nothing in it would really shock a high school kid. Nonetheless, one of the great films of the 1970s.
Posted 28 June 2005 - 07:31 PM
(Someday, I'm going to convince someone here to revisit this film.)
Posted 29 June 2005 - 12:43 AM
Yellow Submarine might work too, especially if you're looking for an example of animation. It's a bit slow, but it's pretty interesting stylistically.
And of course, you could always show that 70's classic, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Maybe as a treat at the end of the course?
Posted 29 June 2005 - 04:11 AM
My third thought hasn't been recommended yet, I believe. The Sting. And how about The Great Escape or The Magnificent Seven? Both early 60's. Also it's been a while since I've seen it, but part of me thinks Kelly's Heroes would work.
Edit: Oops, I see The Sting was mentioned. I also love the suggestion of The Manchurian Candidate... the sooner in life people realize that Angela Lansbury is evil the better.
Edited by theoddone33, 29 June 2005 - 04:18 AM.
Posted 29 June 2005 - 11:15 AM
: There's nudity in Chinatown?
It has been YEARS since I saw this film, but I was 18 or 19 at the time, so yes, I do remember noticing Faye Dunaway's breasts, as she gets out of bed IIRC.
Posted 01 July 2005 - 04:32 PM
If you can't go with [/I]Harold and Maude, how about another great Ashby flick, Being There.
Also, one of my favorites from this era and a great film at that, Five Easy Pieces.
And finally, HSers can indeed handle some foreign fare, so my thought would be to give them a taste of Godard's Pierrot Le Fou[I] (1965). I think they would most definitely enjoy it.
Actually, I guess that was three cents.
Posted 01 July 2005 - 05:37 PM
I would love to be a fly on the wall when a room full of high schoolers gets its first taste of Shirley MacLaine's and Peter Seller's "sex" scene. "I like to watch."
I'm curious about your choice of Pierrot Le Fou. I bet Godard would play well with a generation of kids who have grown up drowning in irony and self-reflexive art, but Pierrot wouldn't have been my first choice.
I've never seen Five Easy Pieces, but it's long been on my "to see" list.