Posts Tagged ‘El Mariachi’

Library of Congress Adds Movies to the 2011 Film Registry

January 5, 2012

What do Forrest Gump and A Cure for Pokeritis have in common? They are just two of the 25 films added to the Library of Congress’ Film Registry for 2011. The Film Registry was established by an act of Congress in 1989 and its mission is to preserve films that are “…culturally, historically or aesthetically significant…” This year’s group brings the number of films in the registry to 575 and to say that this bunch is a diverse lot is an understatement. In addition to Forrest Gump and A Cure for Pokeritis, there are films about addiction (The Lost Weekend) an early example of computer animation (A Computer Animated Hand) and Charlie Chaplin’s first full-length film (The Kid).

I must say that it is wonderful that the Library of Congress has a film registry and that those at the registry are working hard to preserve this part of American culture. In doing this blog, I’ve come to the opinion that as far as the United States is concerned, there should be no demarcation line between high culture and popular culture, since it all deals with our hopes and dreams as a people. Whether it is Huckleberry Finn trying to find his place in pre-Civil War Missouri or Luke Skywalker staring at the suns of Tattoine and wanting more than just the farm life with his aunt and uncle, American culture deals with a restlessness that comes from wanting to find out either what is around the bend or what a person is capable of doing or becoming. That’s one of the reasons why American culture is our best export, since the only limit is one’s imagination.

In case you are wondering, the films that made it on to this year’s list are:

  1. Allures (1961)
  2. Bambi (1942)
  3. The Big Heat (1953)
  4. A Computer Animated Hand (1972)
  5. Crisis: Behind A Presidential Commitment (1963)
  6. The Cry of the Children (1912)
  7. A Cure for Pokeritis (1912)
  8. El Mariachi (1992)
  9. Faces (1968)
  10. Fake Fruit Factory (1986)
  11. Forrest Gump (1994)
  12. Growing Up Female (1971)
  13. Hester Street (1975)
  14. I, an Actress (1977)
  15. The Iron Horse (1924)
  16. The Kid (1921)
  17. The Lost Weekend (1945)
  18. The Negro Soldier (1944)
  19. Nicholas Brothers Family Home Movies (1930’s-40s)
  20. Norma Rae (1979)
  21. Porgy and Bess (1959)
  22. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
  23. Stand and Deliver (1988)
  24. Twentieth Century (1934)
  25. War of the Worlds (1953)

“It’s the stuff that dreams are made of.”

Sources:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/2011-national-film-registry-list-is-announced-gump-bambi-deemed-worthy/2011/12/27/gIQA56wbLP_story.html

http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2011/11-240.html

“Filmed” with Whatever

March 31, 2011

Do wonders never cease? Not only can the iPhone™ let you surf the web, take photos and has loads of cool apps that lets you do anything from find the nearest coffeeshop to listen to your favorite radio station, you can also make a movie with it.

I’m not talking about something high school kids make in a few minutes and upload to YouTube to so that others can laugh at their sophomoric hijinx (i.e. burp and fart jokes). What I am talking about is South Korean director, Park Chan-wook who was given $130,000 by a South Korean cell phone company to make a movie with an iPhone™. While this has the feel of a promotional venture, Park isn’t the first director to use tools that weren’t exactly high end in order to make a movie.

Christopher Nolan, of Batman and Inception fame, made his first film, Following with limited equipment and a ‘crew’ of people who had day jobs. While it didn’t become a blockbuster, it is respected among the cult film aficionados. Independent director Lena Dunham shot Tiny Furniture on a Canon EOS 7D, a still camera that sells for $1500 and she got a nomination for Best Cinematography from the Independent Spirit Award.  Robert Rodriguez’s budget for El Mariachi was only $7,000 and the movie was financially and critically successful.

So, will the next Scorsese, Lucas or Cameron use off-the-shelf equipment and work with a budget of thousands, maybe tens of thousands of he or she is lucky enough to get that much money. Most likely yes. Still, it is important to remember that in the end it isn’t so much the equipment that makes a good movie, rather it is good storytelling. After all films like Star Wars, Love Story, Avatar, Gone With The Wind, and When Harry Met Sally captured the popular imagination the way that they did because films had a good story to tell and each of them told it well. Pyrotechnics, animation and 3D will have the audience saying “Wow”, but without a good story, it is just an exercise in visuals.

So, who knows what the tech heads will dream up. It could be something that you hold in the palm of your hand, use to order pizza on a Friday night and inspire a future Oscar winning director. Something to think about the next time you make a phone call on your smart phone or happen upon a bunch of teenagers filming fart jokes on an iPhone™.

Sources:
http://www.ebertpresents.com/episodes/episode-108/videos/88

http://blog.koldcast.tv/2010/koldcast-news/the-15-cheapest-movies-that-went-on-to-become-cult-classics/