Join four of BMFI’s most popular instructors as they survey a decade that was as rich, diverse, and turbulent in the cinemas as it was on the streets. This engaging day of learning includes lectures, film clips, and lively discussions, and allows you to dive into world cinema and culture while rediscovering the joys of education.
The Short (But Not Short Enough) Era of the Epic Comedy Ian Abrams, Associate Professor, College of Media Arts & Design, Drexel University Two words that should probably never be used in the same sentence are 'epic' and 'comedy.' Yet the 1960s saw a brief flurry of gigantic, big-budget, star-stuffed vehicles—most of which are remembered as expensive misfires. Return with us to the days of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, and Casino Royale. Why were they made—and what do they tell us about movie comedy?
From The Sound of Music to Midnight Cowboy: What Happened to Hollywood? Andrew J. Douglas, Ph.D., Director of Education, BMFI In the 50 months between the releases of these two films in 1965 and 1969, respectively, the American film industry changed forever. Gone was the appropriate-for-all approach instituted by the moguls, who themselves were nearly extinct by this time. In its place emerged a something-for-everyone ratings system emblematic of the corporate and political culture that had taken over Hollywood. Learn about this tectonic shift through such films as The Pawnbroker, The Graduate, and Bonnie and Clyde.
Focus on Fellini’s 8 ½ Maurizio Giammarco, Ph.D., Intellectual Heritage Program, Temple University Described as a twentieth-century version of Dante's Inferno, Federico Fellini's masterpiece is also a surrealistic parable of the agony of artistic creation. Marcello Mastroianni plays a film director whose creative paralysis plunges him into a subconscious dream world of nightmares, fantasies, and flashbacks that infiltrates his perceptions of the present. 8 ½ was essential to ushering in a more personal cinema for Fellini—as well as other directors—and to mining the rich, expressive potential of the medium itself.
Four Knights, One Flop: The Japanese Studio System in the 1960s Paul Wright, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of English, Cabrini College In the late 1960s, four master directors of Japanese cinema staged a revolt that failed. Their names are iconic: Kurosawa (Rashomon), Ichikawa (The Burmese Harp), Kobayashi (Hara-kiri), and Kinoshita (The Ballad of Narayama). Calling themselves “The Club of the Four Knights”, their revolt began and ended with Kurosawa's box-office flop Dodesukaden (1970). The story behind this extraordinary disaster reveals much about the evolution of Japanese film production and culture in the tumultuous decade of the 1960s.
Join four of Bryn Mawr Film Institute's most popular instructors as they offer diverse perspectives on film comedy from across time and around the world. This engaging day of learning includes lectures, film clips, and lively discussions, and allows you to dive into world cinema and culture while rediscovering the joys of education.
How They Get a Laugh: Seven (Or Maybe Eight) Techniques Used in Screen Comedy Ian Abrams, Associate Professor, College of Media Arts & Design, Drexel University Recovering comedy writer (and Drexel professor) Ian Abrams will talk about how screen comedy works-what comedies are about, why some things are good for a laugh, and seven (or maybe eight) techniques used in film comedy from the earliest days up to the present.
Cracking Wise and Falling in Love (Again): The Screwball Comedy Andrew J. Douglas, Ph.D., Director of Education, BMFI These films, most popular in the 1930s, are not just snappy patter and romantic hijinks. Beneath the surface they address serious issues, but gladly do so with subtle aplomb-not to mention pratfalls, melees, and mistaken identity.
Pane, Amore, e Fantasia: Commedia all'italiana (Bread, Love, and Dreams: Italian-Style Comedy) Maurizio Giammarco, Ph.D., Intellectual Heritage Program, Temple University From Big Deal on Madonna Street to Johnny Stecchino, Commedia all'italiana unites laughter with a sense of desperation, employing a cynical sense of humor in depicting the ironic and, at times, painful contradictions of Italian life.
Border Crossings: Humor and Genre in Japanese Cinema Paul Wright, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of English, Cabrini College The 1930s silent films of Yasujiro Ozu (made long before his dramatic masterpieces) and Juzo Itami's films of the 1980s and '90s, (a creative period that saw Itami harassed by the yakuza) form the backdrop for an exploration of the unique nature of Japanese humor.
Join some of BMFI's most popular instructors as they introduce you to four directors whose work broke new cinematic ground. This engaging day of learning includes lectures, film clips, and lively discussions, and immerses you in world cinema as you rediscover the joys of education.
Preston Sturges: Hollywood's First Writer/Director Ian Abrams, Associate Professor, College of Media Arts & Design, Drexel University In a dizzying four years and seven films (including The Lady Eve and Sullivan's Travels), Preston Sturges reinvented American film comedy and in the process paved the way for the likes of Billy Wilder and the Coen Brothers.
Elia Kazan: The Popular and the Political Andrew J. Douglas, Ph.D., Director of Education, BMFI Kazan's most thoughtful and prolific decade, bracketed by Gentleman's Agreement (1947) and A Face in the Crowd (1957), is a study in the translation of individual social consciousness into mainstream entertainment.
Bernardo Bertolucci: Poetry and History Maurizio Giammarco, Ph.D., Intellectual Heritage Program, Temple University From Last Tango in Paris to The Last Emperor, Bertolucci's elegant visual style, along with his provocative exploration of sexuality and history, has influenced generations of filmmakers.
Akira Kurosawa: East Meets West Paul Wright, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of English, Cabrini College Kurosawa, whose work includes Rashomon and Seven Samurai, is largely responsible for introducing non-Western film to American audiences, and is the foreign filmmaker who had the greatest influence on George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.
Join four of Bryn Mawr Film Institute’s most popular instructors as they discuss diverse elements of a vibrant era in world cinema that is too often overlooked. This engaging day of learning includes lectures, film clips, and lively discussions, and allows you to dive into world cinema and culture while rediscovering the joys of education.
Is Buster Keaton God? Ian Abrams, Associate Professor, College of Media Arts & Design, Drexel University Probably not. But considering what he was able to do, he doesn't seem to be quite mortal, either. We'll look at what Keaton accomplished in comedy and movies, and see why, after 80 years, critics still consider him perhaps the greatest American filmmaker of the silent era.
German Expressionism: Cinema of Shadows Maurizio Giammarco, Ph.D., Intellectual Heritage Program, Temple University German Expressionism emerged from World War I to capture the anguish of a nation through such films as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919) and Nosferatu (1922), in which deliberately artificial sets, chiaroscuro lighting, unusual camera angles, and exaggerated acting create a world and psychological state of mind both eerie and dreamlike.
The Birth of a Nation: Silent Film, Race, and the First Amendment Paul McEwan, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Media & Communication and Film Studies, Muhlenberg College D.W. Griffith`s The Birth of a Nation (1915) was both a landmark in the development of film style and a virulently racist diatribe that inspired numerous legal challenges across the US. Illustrated by a range of period artifacts, this presentation will delve into the history of the most controversial film ever made.
Silence Speaks Volumes: Japanese Culture and the Silent Films of Yasujiro Ozu Paul Wright, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of English, Cabrini College Ozu's silent films reflect not only the technical challenges of that era, but also a unique perspective on the silences that speak volumes in human interaction. We will examine how such silences shape Ozu's depictions of families in transition. Examples will be drawn from his silent classics, including the comedy I Was Born But ... (1932) and the drama A Story of Floating Weeds (1934), which will be compared in its use of silences to Ozu's sound remake, Floating Weeds (1959).
Although they are rarely screened outside of film festivals, these easily digestible mini-movies are often “calling cards” for burgeoning directors who want to showcase their talents in a modest—and modestly budgeted—form. Andrea Arnold (American Honey), Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin), and Terry George (Hotel Rwanda) all have won Oscars for their early short films.
Short films do not require the same investment in character development that features do, but viewers' emotions—from joy to sadness to discomfort—can be effectively evoked nevertheless. Indeed, short films can be more satisfying than feature films, as they offer a dramatic slice of life, or a simple joke, eloquently told; they are brief, intense snippets of a larger world. A good short film works with quiet efficiency to hook viewers, carry them through the story, and deliver a satisfying payoff; the best shorts prompt us to reassess our conceptions of cinema.
This seminar will showcase a collection of recent short films, including "Sparring Partner" (2022), "Triggered" (2022), and "The Chase" (2019) that provide students with a greater appreciation for the format and prove that short films deserve anything but short shrift.