Tuesday, February 28, 2012

John Pierson Presents: Richard Linklater's Guided Tour Through 17 Delectable Moments in Movie History

So, the past handful of Monday Nights I have been taking part in a Master Class series being presented by John Pierson at the University of Texas. Basically John will invite someone from the film industry and have a conversation with them about what they do, and how they got to where they are. The first week was UT Alum Zach Anner, who won his a show on Oprah's OWN Network. The conversation started with Zach's time at UT where he was a staple on Texas Student Television (he recently donated $33,000 to TSTV, part of the prize package from OWN). John continued by talking about Zach's quest to win the show on OWN and on to what he is currently working on. Last week the guest was Terry Lickona who for 30+ years has been a producer of Austin City Limits. Terry started by presenting the 20 minute video that the show produced to be presented when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which showcases some of the great acts that have performed over the years on the show. Then John and Terry talked about the process of building the show over the years and some of the chances (Tom Waits in 1979) that the show has taken as it has shifted its view from primarily local artists, to bigger and more well known acts. This week John enlisted fellow UT Professor Charles Ramirez-Berg to lead a walk through cinema with Filmmaker Richard Linklater.

Richard started by pointing out that he, like many of us, has problems coming up with a list of favourite films. He once was asked to compile a top 10 list and ended up with about 250. All films that could be his top 10 depending on his mood any particular day. The films he spoke about and screened clips from were merely moments that he really enjoyed that were readily available in his DVD collection. Most of the moments were very subtle touches, that each spoke a different concept to him, or helped him realize that so much in each film is a decision the director made. One interesting thing I'd like to note, is that Linklater talked about one of the main reasons that the Austin Film Society was created, which was to bring films (like the ones he shared clips from) to town to be screened, because home video was still in its infancy. Contrast that with the fact that I was able to fairly easily locate the clips he showed on the internet to share here with you.

1) Eraserhead - The clip he showed was early in the film. The pacing is very deliberate and slower then would be normal in a Hollywood film, which opened his mind to the fact that the director can slow down action to create mood.

2) Raging Bull - Two clips from were shown from this film. The first was the Pabst Blue Ribbon Ad which shows the level of detail that Scorsese put into the film (watch for the hand laying in the overlay). The second was this montage, which intercut home movies, still pictures, and footage of the fights.

3) 400 Blows - (one of my favourite films) Richard mentioned that this is one of the great films about childhood, and showed the scene where Antoine Doinel lies to his teacher about his mother dying.

4) Masculin FĂ©minin - More French New-Wave.

5) Carmen Jones - An example of a great character entrance. Note the amount of colour that arrives along with Dorothy Dandridge's entrance.

6) Sullivan's Travels - Socially conscious Screwball Comedy. Sadly on YouTube the clip is not present in full. Note the speed of their dialogue, and that the scene is shot in one take.

7) Sun Valley Serenade - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0034241/

9) Psycho - The moment we start cheering for Norman Bates. That little 1/2 smile.

10) M - The first "serial killer" film (and Richard considers it still the best) Here we see the first abduction, without seeing the killer's face.

12) Pickup on South Street - Watch how the story is told with no dialogue.

14) If - The ending scene, which Linklater thinks is how all teenage movies should end.

15) Two Lane Blacktop - This final race scene, but especially the way the audio fades out, and short P.O.V. shot at 1:08.

16) The General - Everyone thinks of silent films having actors overly emote physically, watch the reaction of the soldier after the train crash.

17) Detour - This scene.

No comments: