Each year, for Labor Day weekend, I write about something wildly off-topic. That usually means bars or movies and since my brain is concentrated on the latter, with graduate school mere days away, that’s where the road shall take us. This post is a football palate cleanser, a nice distraction before five straight months of non-stop Chicago Bears.
To prepare my brain for a return to scholarly life, I watched 67 films this summer. Those films fell into three categories: movie musicals pre-1960, English language classics by acclaimed directors and foreign language classics. Some I had previously seen two decades ago. Some I had seen pieces of here and there as an undergrad. I also read 11 books on various film-related subjects. I won’t waste space by listing everything. Instead, you can see the entire list of films and books by CLICKING HERE. (There are stars next to certain films. They are not a value rating. Ignore them.)
Of the books, I can’t recommend Anna McCarthy’s Citizen Machine highly enough. The book examines how the concept of liberalism evolved from notions of solidarity and “the people” to a concentrated individualism in post-Cold War America, illuminating how various entities (corporations, labor, etc.) used television to sell that message. It is a brilliant work.
For the films, I’ll be listing them in no particular order, and providing a brief comment or video clip that I hope piques your interest. Here they are. (If you’re interested in seeing any of these films, they are all available either to rent or stream. You can check them all at JustWatch.com.)
High and Low (Director: Akira Kurosawa)
A stunning piece of storytelling, Kurosawa’s masterpiece is part kidnapping melodrama and part police procedural. High and Low is, in some ways, a combination of Rashomon‘s narrative flexibility and Seven Samurai‘s big Hollywood sensibility. It is one of my favorite movies ever made.
Bande à part (Director: Jean-Luc Godard)