Hollywood Grows Up
Thursday, November 3, 2022, 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Instructor: Amy Corbin, Ph.D., Media and Communication, Muhlenberg College
Bonnie and Clyde (1967) defied low expectations to become a landmark of “New Hollywood.” The characters, based on the bank-robbing outlaws of the 1930s, are romanticized revolutionaries: their longing to break out of their simple lives evolves into an anti-establishment critique of capitalism and authority; Bonnie’s sexual assertiveness combines with Clyde’s disinterest in sex to upend traditional gender roles. The film also examines modern mythmaking, depicting media sensationalism and the duo’s cultivation of their public image.
In addition to Bonnie and Clyde’s cultural significance, this seminar will also trace the cinematic path from the French New Wave to “New Hollywood.” French filmmakers of the 1960s demonstrated that narrative film could defamiliarize the familiar and unsettle audiences with dramatic shifts in emotional tone. With such inspiration, Bonnie and Clyde pairs upbeat banjo music with startling violence; it embeds glamorous close-ups and fashionable bodies into a dried-out, dusty setting—creative choices that suggest multiple realities.
A final, fascinating angle is the way that Bonnie and Clyde confounded establishment film critics, best exemplified by the famous Time magazine cover story that retracted its initial negative review in an extensive essay on the film’s significance. Watching Bonnie and Clyde together in 2022 will give us a chance to explore its many layers of meaning for audiences old and new.
Are you interested in “just” seeing this movie? Additional showtimes can be found here.
Cinema Classics Seminars offer an entertaining and engaging way to learn more about some of the true classics of world cinema. All students receive an introductory lecture before the film and a guided discussion after the film. In addition, those in attendance receive a ticket to see it on the big screen, as well as popcorn and a drink. Please note: the screening associated with this seminar will be open to the public, as well.
If you are unable to attend this seminar on site, you can rent and stream it in our Remote Classroom beginning a week after the event date.
Please email BMFI Programs and Education Coordinator Jill Malcolm with any questions.