Friday, July 30, 2010

Fall 2010

The Theme for the Fall Semester is Dystopias.

We will be viewing the following films:
9/14 Requiem for a Dream
9/28 A Clockwork Orange
10/12 Brazil
10/26 Paprika
11/9 THX1138
11/30 Blade Runner

As we did last year, we will precede each film with brief faculty and student commentary and follow with discussion. Scott Straw and Student Life will provide refreshments. We are always looking for students who are interested in making posters or providing commentary. If interested contact Kevin Burke at
Looking ahead: the was some talk last spring about sponsoring a short film contest this spring. Also, we should start thinking ahead to the spring theme and films. Two suggestions: "Countercultures," and Comedies. The second suggestion arises from the fact that the DCAD Film Club has specialized in exceedingly gloomy films. The idea would be to vote on the funniest film of the decade, going back, say, 60 years and show nothing but comedies for the spring. Input is appreciated.
Beriberiba (aka, Kevin Burke)

Friday, February 26, 2010

E.O.B. Recommends: SOLARIS

This film takes a very interesting place in the realm of sci-fi as not strictly adhering to the genre’s machinations and typical plot elements.  It is what I would call “light” science fiction.  The story of resurrected love takes center stage, and the effects and fantastic elements are only a thin backstage atmosphere.  It is an artful movie, but those of you expecting a Russian clone of 2001: A Space Odyssey may be disappointed in that area.

Solaris tells the story of reclusive Kris Kelvin, a man consumed by past grief.  The story is and only is about Kris, not even when the planet or the space station attracts our attention, nor during the complex love story later on does it waver from him.  This tale is about a man who is tormented by his past, and forced to confront it once again.  Kris travels to the space station orbiting the ocean world of Solaris.  Here we are treated to especially eerie scenes of Kris walking through the halls of the half-derelict structure. The two remaining crew members of the station, Snaut and Sartorius are incredibly far drawn into themselves, but for a reason that Kris will soon discover.  After uneasily settling into his room, Kris wakes the next morning to find a woman sitting before him.  This is Hari.  We find that she is Kris‘ wife, who had committed suicide ten years earlier.  Remembering a certain piece of advice from Snaut, Kris sends “Hari” into space via an escape pod.  He seems more accepting when the second Hari shows up, and the real story begins.  

This movie has an incredibly complex love story for a science fiction film.  Tarkovsky, however, saw to it that the film would not be labelled as merely a “space film”.  Although it couldn’t avoid many of the generalizations of the day, the present seems more open and welcoming to such a film.  Kris is brought into his own fantasy world, reliving his love for his wife.  However, the further incarnations of Hari develop their own feelings, because they were not created for Kris‘ enjoyment alone.  A lesson for modern man indeed.  She is the embodiment of an entity reaching out to those as equally alien to it as it is to them.  Natalya Bondarchuk indubitably makes us believe in her anguish as the confused creation of the planet, she was certainly a very talented actress.

An entry on Solaris would be incomplete without a few words on the gorgeous and inspired film work.  On the earth scenes we see such rich visions of nature  that, as Akira Kurosawa put it, “creates a nostalgia” in us, after we are sealed into the space station.  Excellent use of letterboxing is employed and even such a large format doesn’t relax the sense of claustrophobia at times.  To help with the longing towards earth we’re given glimpses of artwork by such artists as Rublev and Bruegel littered around the station. Such a level of detail is achieved with the sets that it is wholly credible to believe that the space station was once full of people and bustling about.  The final word on this film is Beautiful.     

Film Highlight:  My favorite scene from this Soviet-era gem takes place in the space station’s incongruous library.  Hari and Kris enjoy each other’s company while suspended in the air as a brief interlude of zero-gravity takes over the scene.  They fly and we are given a wonderful moment as Bach’s Prelude in F minor plays and several glimpses are given of Bruegels’s Hunters in the Snow.  Charming, beautiful and flawless, this scene gives a much deserved moment of fantasy in a film that is almost otherwise completely bleak and melancholy. 

Saturday, February 13, 2010

EOB Recommends: ZARDOZ

I know what some of you out there are thinking right now.  Why in the world recommend this much teased and often ridiculed film?  Well, its all got to do with how things are going these days with the cinema (I won't go into great detail, as I already have before).  Since there's more than enough complaining about how there's nothing original left for Hollywood to offer, it seemed fitting to recommend something out of the past.  Zardoz is certainly original, if not outlandish in some aspects.  I myself was unsure of what I was getting myself into when I first watched this 1974 film by John Boorman (of Deliverance fame).  Now I'm glad I did, and each subsequent viewing brings new things to appreciate, as with all good films.  Granted this film is not for everyone, not by a long shot.  However, if you're fairly open minded for some extravagances of the imagination and will be able to hold a suspension of disbelief in certain instances, than I think you may enjoy yourself.  Briefly, the film concerns the inner machinations of a Utopia of immortals and how, for most paradises, all is not right with the world.  Sean Connery's character, Zed, plays the catalyst for the overturning of the society which he unwittingly enters.  Though, not a perfect film, Zardoz, I think, is worth reappraisal nowadays and is a thoughtful and unique dystopia picture. 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Bonnie and Clyde

Monday, 2/8 at 8 PM in Room 307, the DCAD Film Club will present Bonnie and Clyde, with commentary by Christine Tate and Anthony Campanelli. Ryin Jones' poster announcing the event can be seen around campus.
Bonnie and Clyde represents a modern rendition of the outlaw myth embodied in the Robin Hood legends. Members of the King Arthur and Robin Hood course will find the film interesting to compare to the medieval and renaissance versions of Robin Hood that we will read and to the Errol Flynn movie version. Movie lovers in general will find this classic film well worth watching.

Sunday, January 31, 2010


Just wanted to post this up for anyone who wants to talk about Dark Knight or anything we discussed. All topics like vengeance, malice, is anyone really good?, and is working outside the law alright?

Feel free to post whatever you want about our films, film discussion, or even off topic things. If you have any films you've recently seen or wish to see post or comment them.

Also if anyone wishes to contribute posts please email Alan Reynolds at

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Remakes Cometh

Doubtless, many of you have been aware of the hordes of remakes invading cinemas lately. This isn't a new trend by any means, but it seems to be taking a greater precedence in the industry than ever before. Many people are not even aware that some of these are remakes and so never learn of the original's existence, which is a blasted shame. For remakes seem to inadvertantly remove the elements that made the original so appealing and enduring, overshadowing those aspects with monumentally distracting (and unnecessary) special effects. Such reamkes for the Day the Earth Stood Still and Clash of the Titans are examples of such indignitys. Recently the remakes have reached an unbelievably pathetic stride. Take the recent "remake" of The Incredible Hulk, made only a few years after the original! Granted, I'm not saying the original was any good, but this is like saying the previous film didn't count and we're just going to make a do-over. Anything to expedite a profit from the ever stimulatable mass market. Many of the younger, new filmmakers (who seem more like they were born fully grown and indoctrinated into our society) who speak of the remakes they are producing say things like this: "It is not really a remake, it is more of a reimagining." This is merely a sad facade for the fact that Hollywood is out of good ideas and will simply take the skeleton of a pre-existing story for them to use.  These films are merely creating a "Zombie Hollywood", if you will.  An industry that will keep itself alive by any means, even if it must sap the creativity of previous generations. Money is the main root of this problem. Those leading the executive offices in Hollywood care more about gaining massive profits from cheap drivel than progressing the art of film these days. [Not all remakes are bad in my mind, take, for instance the 1982 remake of The Thing.] This is indeed that sad part, there are far too many people out there who profess to be "movie lovers", when indeed they only care to be titilated by any film whatsoever. These are the kind of people who are dangerous to the art of film. They care not whether they're watching a bouncing ball, just as long as its on a screen. This is not to say there are no more well made films that are artisticly splendid, but they are few and far between. As I have maintained since my earlier days, a reformation is necessary. (I don't even want to get started on sequels.)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Brief History of the Brief History of the DCAD Film Club

The DCAD Film Club originated in Writing and Literature I class discussions during the spring semester of 2009. In the cours of that semester thematic aspects of the works under consideration (Gilgamesh, Odyssey, Aeneid, Jewish, Christian, and Islamic scriptures, and classical works of India, China, and Japan) were often illuminated by reference to films. The discussion continued in the second part of the Writing and Lit sequence during the summer, which focused on works of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and in the Fall of 2009 the DCAD film club had its inception under the loose thematic rubric of The Quest. The first semester's films included Wrist-Cutters , The Fountain, Easy Rider, Time Bandits, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The basic format for the meetings has been brief presentations by faculty and students on significant aspects of the film, and a viewing of the film followed by refreshments and general discussion.
This semester's theme is Bad Guys and Failed Kingdoms and is loosely geared to some of the themes that are being explored in the King Arthur and Robin Hood elective. Scheduled films include Dark Knight, Bonnie and Clyde, Unforgiven, Fisher King, The Mission, and Satyricon.
We will shortly publish a schedule for the semester. Future posts will review the previous semester's films, including some of the original faculty and student commentary on the films and open threads for ongoing discussion. Also being planned is a history of the legendary band Elvish Presley (no relation to the New Jersey comedy troupe of the same name). This history is also linked to course content in that it explores the reltionship between reality, imagination, and myth generation with especial emphasis on the last two.