My class is a basic overview of film history from the beginnings in the late 1800's to the American Independent movement of the 1970's. For each of the main sections, check the tabs at the top of the site. For more specific topics, such as particular directors or films, look at the blog posts on the right.
To start out, let's talk about some of the Great Films
What makes a "great film?" It's useful to look at any given top 100 list and try to figure out why some films are on there and why others might not be. Take the American Film Institute's top 100 films - tremendously flawed, but probably the most well-known of such lists. Why in the world are "Titanic" and "King Kong" on there? What's the big deal about "Citizen Kane?" And even though Quiz Show and The Shawshank Redemption are far superior to Pulp Fiction or Forrest Gump, but they aren't on there. What gives? Well, here's some general reasons for what we consider "greatness."
Some films are Aesthetically innovative. This means they have a unique style or vision, they were really well made, they influenced the look and style of later films. This would apply to "Citizen Kane" and "2001" and "Raging Bull." Those films don't look like anything else and have a unique feel to them.
Other films are Technologically important. "King Kong" was one of the first to combine animation with live action. "Toy Story" was the first computer animated feature.
Some deal with important social or political issues. "Do the Right Thing" deals with race relations in New York and America. "The Shawshank Redemption" deals with issues of poverty, corruption, and criminal justice.
Others are historically important, such as "Schindler's List" or "Saving Private Ryan" that portray historical events that we need to remember.
We also find movies that are culturally significant. When "Gone with the Wind" came out, nearly everyone in America saw it. Likewise with "Star Wars" and "Titanic." These films were such a phenomenon at the time they were released that they had a huge impact on the culture.
So, the assignment is to take a look at the list, and think of five films you think should be on there, and give some reasons why, how they pertain to these five categories.
Downloads: AFI top 100 films