Posts Tagged ‘silent film’

The Legacy of Silent Film

Posted 04 Apr 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Essay, Most Confusing Films of All time, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

A Trip To The Moon is one of the best of the very early silent films.

Perhaps one of the main reasons that so many of us, myself included, fail to “get” certain films, or certain aspects of film as a whole, is that we have not spent sufficient time studying the beginnings of the art form. We have not looked to the past. This, then, is a look at the first few decades of the cinematic arts, and the influence of these early films on what we see onscreen today.

When Louis and Auguste Lumiere first showed their short film The Arrival of a Train in 1895, they certainly had no inkling that, almost 100 years later, it would be the film-within-a-film in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Nor could Carl Theodor Dreyer have suspected that his 1928 feature The Passion of Joan of Arc would one day be the major inspiration for Mel Gibson’s hugely successful The Passion of the Christ (2004). But no matter where these and other early filmmakers envisioned the medium in 100 years, or whether they even believed it would last that long, the films we see today are undeniably the legacy of these pioneers of a nascent art form. Read More

Un Chien Andalou – Kill Your Symbols

Posted 17 Jan 2011 — by contributor
Category Essay, Film Reviews, Most Confusing Films of All time, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

Un Chien Andalou, Spain, 1929

Directed by Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali

in a shocking scene a man slices a woman's eye with a razorOne film that many of us have struggled for years to “get” (perhaps against the wishes of its makers) is Un Chien Andalou, the 1929 collaboration between Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali. The two notorious surrealists apparently couldn’t have been happier that their work confounded so many viewers at the time of its release, and it continues to do so today. According to Bunuel himself, “NOTHING, in the film, SYMBOLIZES ANYTHING”; if one breaks this sentence down: “NOTHING … SYMBOLIZES ANYTHING,” the truth of the film is revealed: the images, which consciously represent NOTHING coherent or rational, can SYMBOLIZE ANYTHING to any individual viewer.

Therefore, the following is one viewer’s interpretation, supplemented by the ideas of a few others, in an attempt to find a logical narrative thread in a film whose stated purpose is to have none. It is recommended that the reader see the film at least a few times for him or herself before continuing; this is much less a review of the film than a careful analysis of every image contained therein. Read More