Film History – Week 6

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I want to take a moment to tell parents to please preview any film listed here before letting your children watch them. Some of the films this week deal with mature themes and may have images that you do not want your children to be exposed to. Thank you.

1. Read The Young Oxford Book of the Movies p. 28 – p. 33. In your notebook answer the following questions:

a. Explain what the “superspectacle” movie was like and name the American director these films influenced.

b. What did WW1 do to the movie-making business in Europe? Which European country saw their film industry prosper during this time and why? Plan a family movie night to watch Hugo if you haven’t already seen it. It is wonderful!

c. Germany created a production company in 1917 to “raise the standard of German films.” What was this company called? What Expressionist film did it make, and how did this film use light?

d. What famous discovery did Murnau make? What about G.W. Pabst? Their discoveries went on to influence Hollywood? Can you think of any films where you have seen these techniques?

e. What influence did Surrealism have on the film industry?

f. Contrast Soviet Montage with Sergei Eisenstein’s editing. Explain the Kuleshov Effect. Teens may want to read more about it here.

Optional: Continue working on your film history timeline for your wall. Add in important dates and figures and films from your reading. You can get some ideas here. Also if you are interested in the UFA read more about it here.

This week’s viewing:

1. Watch the full movie of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

2. Watch a short clip from The Last Laugh and notice the ending where the camera acts as a performer.

3. Older teens might want to watch this short explaining the influence Salvador Dali and surrealist art had on Un Chien Andalou.

4. Finally you should read more about Battleship Potemkin and it’s restoration at TCM. Battleship Potemkin is such an important film in film history, so please take the time to watch the whole film and think about the editing during the Odessa Steps sequence. The acting, editing, and propaganda are still very powerful today. To learn even more about the film please visit Wikipedia.

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If you or your student is enjoying this time period and these wonderful films, you should check out European Film Gateway which has a wealth of information available for everyone.

Next time sound comes to the movies!

Film History – Week 4

1. Read The Young Oxford Book of the Movies p. 22-24 (up to Enter the Genre). In your notebook answer the following questions:

a. How did D.W. Griffith change film acting?

b. Why was Birth of a Nation such an ambitious film? Why was it criticized and banned in some cities?

c. Name the five major studios in Hollywood that rose up during this time?

d. What did Hollywood have to offer movie makers?

Optional: Continue working on your film history timeline for your wall. Add in important dates and figures and films from your reading. This week you should add information on D.W. Griffith and his films. You can get some ideas here.

2. Visit Britannica for kids and read more about D.W. Griffith.  What techniques did he develop?

3. Read more about the studio system here.

Watch the following videos (please note that some of these videos may not be appropriate for children – please preview):

While watching this short think about how Griffith uses editing.

Film History – Week 3

1. Read Oxford Book of the Movies p. 20-21. In your notebook answer the following questions:

a. How did Méliès background influence the type of films he made?

b. List some of the special effects that Méliès introduced. Which effect was unique to the medium of film?

c. Discuss how early filmmakers used editing to create a sense of realism and drama to their films.

d. Define continuity editing and crosscutting.

Optional: Continue working on your film history timeline for your wall. Click here for an excellent resource on important dates in film history.

2. Visit EarlyCinema and read the information on Méliès, Hepworth, and Porter.

3. Watch the following videos:

Finally I wanted to link this article from the Smithsonian that I read last week. It ties in nicely with this weeks work.