On Friday, June 18th, we will be discussing a short piece by Stephe Mulhall, “Picturing the Human (Body and Soul): A Reading of Blade Runner ”, and watching “L.A. Confidential”. The reading group starts at 5:00 pm, and the screening at 6:00. See you all there!
You can listen to Stephen Mulhall talk aboout Blade Runner here
L.A. Confidential (1997)
Directed by: Curtis Hanson
Starring: Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pierce, Kim Basinger
“One of the reasons “L.A. Confidential” is so good, why is deserves to be mentioned with “Chinatown,” is that it’s not just plot and atmosphere. There are convincing characters here, not least Kim Basinger‘s hooker, whose quiet line, “I thought I was helping you,” is one of the movie’s most revealing moments. Russell Crowe (“Virtuosity” and “Romper Stomper”) and Guy Pearce (“The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”) are two Australian actors who here move convincingly into starmaking roles, and Kevin Spacey uses perfect timing to suggest his character’s ability to move between two worlds while betraying both (he has a wonderful scene where he refuses to cooperate with a department investigation–until they threaten his job on the TV show).”
On Friday, June 11th, we will be discussing a short piece by John Belton , “Language, Oedipus, and Chinatown”, and watching “Blade Runner”. The reading group starts at 5:00 pm, and the screening at 6:00. See you all there!
Blade Runner (1982)
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Starring: Rutger Hauer, Harrison Ford, Sean Young
Runtime: 117 min
“The physical and spiritual landscape of Blade Runner is that of the age of technology: those remnants of humanity left behind by the off-world pioneers and settlers find themselves in a world with no sunlight, surrounded by mechanisms huge, soulless buildings, police vehicles observing their deeds from the air, flying advertisement hoardings with probing searchlights, and obscurely purposeful but aberrantly shaped monoliths dividing up the pavements and roadways. In every case, the scale of the machines dwarfs that of their human creators, a diminution which is only restored by the numbers of human beings who populate the city the ebb and flow of crowds is alone capable of making it seem that Los Angeles is inhabited by its people; but even within those crowds, it seems clear that technology threatens its human creators in some intimate way.”
On Friday, June 4th, we will be discussing a short piece by Dennis Proter , “The Private Eye”, and watching “Chinatown”. The reading group starts at 5:00 pm, and the screening at 6:00. See you all there!
Directed by: Roman Polanski
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston
Runtime: 130 min
“Roman Polanski‘s “Chinatown” is not only a great entertainment, but something more, something I would have thought almost impossible: It’s a 1940s private-eye movie that doesn’t depend on nostalgia or camp for its effect, but works because of the enduring strength of the genre itself. In some respects, this movie actually could have been made in the 1940s. It accepts its conventions and categories at face value and doesn’t make them the object of satire or filter them through a modern sensibility, as Robert Altman did with “The Long Goodbye.” Here’s a private-eye movie in which all the traditions, romantic as they may seem, are left intact. ”
On Friday 28th we will be discussing a short piece by Elisabeth Bronfen , “Femme Fatale: Negotiations of Tragic Desire”, and watching “The Big Sleep”. The reading group starts at 5:00 pm, and the screening at 6:00. See you all there!
The Big Sleep (1946)
Directed by: Howard Hawks
Starring: Humprey Bogart, Lauren Bacall
“Bogart himself made personal style into an art form. What else did he have? He wasn’t particularly handsome, he wore a rug, he wasn’t tall (“I try to be,” he tells Vickers), and he always seemed to act within a certain range. Yet no other movie actor is more likely to be remembered a century from now. And the fascinating subtext in “The Big Sleep” is that in Bacall he found his match.””
On Friday 21th we will be discussing a short piece by Deborah Knight , “On Reason and Passion in The Maltese Falcon”, and watching “Double Indemnity”. The reading group starts at 5:00 pm, and the screening at 6:00.
See you all there!
Directed by: Billy Wilder
Starring: Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurrey, Edward G. Robinson
“”Double Indemnity” has one of the most familiar noir themes: The hero is not a criminal, but a weak man who is tempted and succumbs. In this “double” story, the woman and man tempt one another; neither would have acted alone. Both are attracted not so much by the crime as by the thrill of committing it with the other person. Love and money are pretenses. The husband’s death turns out to be their one-night stand.”
From Friday May 7th till the Middle of June we will be screening the classics of film noir, and doing some reading on the side. The screenings will take place every Friday at 6:00, an Zrinyi 14, room 412, and the reading group will gather at the same place an hour earlier, at 5:00pm. For Friday 7th we will be reading a short introduction by Mark T. Conard, “Nietzsche and the Meaning and Definition of Noir”, and watching “The Maltese Falcon”. See you all there!
THE MALTESE FALCON (1941)
Directed by: John Huston
Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lore
Running time: 101min
“To describe the plot in a linear and logical fashion is almost impossible. That doesn’t matter. The movie is essentially a series of conversations punctuated by brief, violent interludes. It’s all style. It isn’t violence or chases, but the way the actors look, move, speak and embody their characters. Under the style is attitude: Hard men, in a hard season, in a society emerging from Depression and heading for war, are motivated by greed and capable of murder. For an hourly fee, Sam Spade will negotiate this terrain. Everything there is to know about Sam Spade is contained in the scene where Bridget asks for his help and he criticizes her performance: ”You’re good. It’s chiefly your eyes, I think–and that throb you get in your voice when you say things like, ‘be generous, Mr. Spade.’ ” He always stands outside, sizing things up. Few Hollywood heroes before 1941 kept such a distance from the conventional pieties of the plot.”
From Friday May 7th till the Middle of June we will be screening the classics of film noir, and doing some reading on the side. The screenings will take place every Friday at 6:00, an Zrinyi 14, room 412, and the reading group will gather at the same place an hour earlier, at 5:00pm.
We will start with the progenitors of the genre such as Maltese Falcon and Double Indemnity and probably end with some modern classics of neo-noir like the Blade Runner or even Miami Vice.
We will be reading texts about the movies we are watching and their connection to different philosophical topics. For Friday 7th we will be reading a short introduction by Mark T. Conard, “Nietzsche and the Meaning and Definition of Noir”, and watching “The Maltese Falcon”. See you all there!
For the copy of the reading please write to firstname.lastname@example.org