Sunday, June 08, 2008

Art School Survival: Movies

This is the second in a series of articles that will help you, the reader, fit in at an art school. By the time you're done reading this you'll be able to blend comfortably into a crowd at an art school, just a little bit more.

Your Favorite Movie

If you're favorite movie is ”Meet The Spartans” or some family friendly film that isn’t animated (there will be a complete Survival Guide on animation in the future) then you've just failed right now. You'll be laughed at and ridiculed. They're ok as guilty pleasures...
The top choices are: The Godfather, The original Star Wars trilogy, Fight Club, Pulp Fiction, Goodfellas, Children of Men , Lord of the Rings trilogy, Pi, The Maltese Falcon, The Wizard of Oz, Citizen Kane, The Seven Samurai, Monty Python and the Holy Grail or The Meaning of Life and a few others.

Other Movies to Know Of

In art school you’ll be exposed to many different movements and a lot of work and chat in your classes will involve talk about movies. As a basic rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to brush up on Internet Movie Database’s ( ) top 250 list and past Oscar winners for movies to see.

Movie Gods

In movies, there’s filmmakers that are considered to be universally good. The following are some directors you should know a few things about:
Francis Ford Coppola, Fritz Lang , George Lucus, Akira Kurosawa, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick,, Michel Gondry, Spike Jones, Quentin Tarantino(There’s a love/hate relationship), Federico Fellini, David Lynch, David Cronenberg, just to name a few.

Movies to Avoid or Be Careful With

As mentioned before, can be your friend. If you like any film there that has a lower then 5.0 rating might cast a shadow of uncoolness. But the saying goes, “You can learn more from a bad movie then a good movie.” You can see the mistakes they made and as you progress with your courses you’ll know how to avoid certain problems.
Needless to say, be careful on how you bring up movies. For an example, a guy wearing a Spider-man shirt might be interested in seeing the latest Marvel movie, maybe DC movie as well. But the snobby film student who watches nothing but German Expressionism might not share the same enthusiasm for it.

Prepare For Spoilers

In art school you’re almost bound to have a lesson on “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” by Joseph Campbell. Once you know about the books subject you won’t be able to watch a movie the same way. Also, depending on the course you’re taking, you’ll also learn the secrets of film making and know how they pull of many of the shots and you won’t be able to watch a movie without a little distraction. Some people can turn it off, some, like myself, can’t.

Other Suggestions

It's very important to know how techniques came to pass. Needless to say people didn’t always have bullet time or know how to use sharp angles and dramatic lighting. So it is always a good idea to look at the older movies that broke the mode. These movies are usually recognized by critics and at the Oscars, but keep your eyes open for Top X lists.
Since you are attending an art school it would be a good idea to see what other students are creating and their direction as well as what other local film makers are doing. Much like music, local talent can be a little hit or miss, but do keep an ear out for film screenings and festivals. You can also do a YouTube search for your city and see what comes up.
One other suggestion is to keep track of what you thought of a movie you just saw, IMDB, Flickster (has a very good Facebook app, share it your friends and family, compare) and several other sites allow you to rate and keep track of the movies you’ve seen. Makes movie watching a little more organized.

Just remember, this is just a tiny little guide and the real choices are up to you. But do remember to be open to new movies and classics and you’ll soon realize how far film has come.

For Part One: Music, Click HERE!

No comments: