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Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

His film education is sorely lacking

The Boy is very interested in film, and as a serious film buff has watched thousands of movies. He is a real expert in several genres: teenage American Pie type movies, serious modern films, and anything I would determine to be a 'guy' movie. Like with bombs and explosions and Bruce Willis. You know what I mean?

Even with classes of film studies under his belt, there is one genre that he is sorely lacking. That would be the classic 1950's B movie, like Charlie Chan and Vincent Price films. He's never seen any of them, and what is a good film education without a chance to view the worst of the worst?

Fortunately, we have all of a sudden begun to receive a channel that is all B movies all the time. If you're in Boston, it's channel 7-2 if you have digital TV already set up. Today we got to see a bit of a really stinking rotten Frank Sinatra movie with Edward G Robinson. It was so bad it was good. It was like one of those Mystery Science Theatre movies, where you laugh your ass off at how absolutely terrible the acting is.

After Frank came a real black and white Charlie Chan film. The Boy had never even heard of Charlie Chan. What kind of an education is he getting, anyhow? We only watched bout a half hour, because really, how much racist Number One Son jokes can you stand? But we had many comments. Like how come Number One Son is actually Asian, but Charlie is a white guy with a lot of tape around his eyes? Riddle me that, Batman.

Next week is a Vincent Price week, and they are going to show a few of his better movies. The Boy has never seen Price in action, which is such a shame. We'll have to check those out as well. And goodness only knows what else this channel is going to dig up next. It's really amazing just how bad every single movie is. But my feeling is, the classic B movie is just as important to watch as a good A list film, if for nothing else but to learn the pitfalls in film you should avoid.

The other genre they have skipped in film class are foreign films. I think it's because the teacher doesn't believe that the kids can sit through a subtitled movie, but I think that's totally wrong. Most kids can, and will sit through just about anything if the film is good enough. I know the Girl can't read as fast as the subtitles, so she's not in that group, but the Boy certainly can and has read subtitles for films in other languages. I feel that they are missing out on some of the best films ever made, like Spirit of the Beehive, Jean de Florette and Manon of the Spring, Wild Strawberries, and Children of Paradise. It's a shame that they aren't able to study those films in class, but I've made it a priority to introduce the Boy to at least some of those, thanks to our local public library which has a fabulous collection of foreign films.

If you could teach film studies, what films would you make your kids watch? What are your favorite films that you would want everyone to see?

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3 Comments:

OpenID madgetastic said...

My favorite subtitled movie is Europa, Europa. Which I imagine would be especially moving for a Jewish boy.

22/3/09 4:32 PM  
Blogger hschinske said...

What about Kurosawa? Not that I've seen any myself. I'm mostly going by Helen De Witt's _The Last Samurai_, which has tons of references to _Seven Samurai_.

22/3/09 8:16 PM  
Blogger Carmi said...

70s disaster flicks. It doesn't get any better than Shelley Winters in the overturned boat!

23/3/09 11:38 AM  

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