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Thread: 2008 REPERTORY: Oldies but Goodies

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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
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    I'll try to be brief to avoid boring readers. Indeed Chris, regarding "film studies taking the fun out of movies", there was an academic movement that emerged circa 1980 as a rather extreme reaction against auterism. It applied to film existing structuralist and post-structuralist theories that followed the linguistics of Ferdinand de Saussure and extended it to other forms of communication. It was, as applied to film studies, an extremely theoretical approach often divorced from the experience of watching movies and largely detached from criticism. My conversations with film academics and my readings indicate the pendulum has swung back and film studies is undergoing a corrective period. There's much to be gained from studying the works of Lacan, Barthes, Derrida, Foucault,etc. but much to be lost when embraced dogmatically.

    Last night I watched Lorna Doone (1922), widely regarded as the best of many adaptations of the Richard Doddridge Blackmore's novel about the romance between a farmer and an aristocratic woman in 17th century Devon, England. The film is quite faithful to the novel. It was one of the films directed by Maurice Tourneur (Father of Jacques) during his years in America (1914-1926) and very much in the French tradition of pictorial naturalism that stressed the integrity of the shot, location shooting, visual authenticity, and the effects of social and physical environments on the individual. It was associated with the political Left in France. The tradition stands in direct opposition with the more widely studied Cinematic Impressionism which focused on optical experimentation and the rendering of the characters' psychological states. Lorna Doone is a consistently beautiful film, shot mostly outdoors during early morning and late afternoon, and concerned with barriers that keep apart those belonging to different social classes. The titular character was played by the extremely cute Madge Bellamy who was cast memorably in John Ford's debut The Iron Horse before gradually fading from the spotlight. Tourneur returned to France and made a number of well-regarded but (now) little-seen films during the 30s and 40s.
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 07-07-2008 at 09:22 AM.

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