Facets Film School provides a forum for discussion among film lovers, emerging mediamakers, and film veterans, encouraging an appreciation for films as an art form and means of communication, and allowing for an exploration of various film genres, techniques, filmmakers, actors, and more.
Led by local professors and other film experts, Film School courses run one evening per week for six weeks. Each three-hour class session includes a film screening in our intimate small theater, along with time for lecture and discussion. Film School courses are designed to be accessible to students of all levels, with or without any prior background in film studies.
July 15August 22, 2013
BEYOND MUMBLECORE: The DIY Generation
July 15August 19
Films screened and discussed:
The Blair Witch Project
(Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez, 1999)
Funny Ha Ha
(Andrew Bujalski, 2002)
Kissing on the Mouth
(Joe Swanberg, 2005)
(Lynn Shelton, 2009)
(Lena Dunham, 2010)
Tiger Tail in Blue
(Frank V. Ross, 2012)
The term "mumblecore" was embraced by critics to define the ultra-casual, low-fi style of an ascending independent film movement from a provocative group of American filmmakers. However, it was also used in a pejorative fashion by writers aiming to dismiss these films as overhyped and amateurish. This class aims to break down perpetuated stereotypes by exploring the distinctive styles and approaches of these tenacious trailblazers. We will see how these DIY artists managed to influence the mainstream with their raw naturalism and authentic search for new ideas. While these filmmakers are certainly united in their goal to portray truth devoid of contrivance, they each utilize remarkably different techniques, from scripted narratives to pure improvisation; from rugged handheld visuals to meticulously detailed compositions. By taking full advantage of modern technological advances and viral marketing, these fresh-faced visionaries have arguably fulfilled Francis Ford Coppola's prediction in Hearts of Darkness
that "professionalism...will be destroyed" and "movies will become an art form." Come see why cinema will never be the same again and join the debate on whether this is, in fact, a good thing.
Please note that special guests will be here for some of the screenings to talk about their films! Stay tuned!
is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association. For the past four years, he has written film reviews and interviews for HollywoodChicago.com
, as well as contributed to various publications including Time Out Chicago
and The A.V. Club
. He is also the founder of Indie Outlook
, a blog and podcast featuring exclusive interviews with some of the most exciting voices in modern independent filmmaking.
GENE KELLY AND THE EVOLUTION OF CINE-DANCE
July 16August 20
Films screened and discussed:
(George Sidney, 1945)
(Vincente Minnelli, 1948)
On The Town
(Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, 1949)
An American in Paris
(Vincente Minnelli, 1951)
Singin' in the Rain
(Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, 1952)
It's Always Fair Weather
(Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, 1955)
In an essay for Sound Stage
(1965), Hollywood song-and-dance man Gene Kelly confesses to his readers that dancing, because it is "a three-dimensional art-like sculpture," is actually not a good medium for motion pictures. In fact, the star continues, when such bodily movement is transferred to screen, most of the physical force is lost. Also missing is what Kelly calls "the personality of the dancer's whole body, which coupled with line and style, form the basis of a
dance performance." For these reasons (and others we'll explore), Gene Kelly along with his frequent co-director Stanley Donen, worked arduously to modify the way dance numbers were shot onscreen. Indeed, via special effects (Anchors Aweigh
), vigorous camera movement, on-location shooting (On the Town
), and even through the burden of Cinemascope (It's Always Fair Weather
), Kelly and Donen created and perfected something called cine-dance, or "any dancing choreographed specifically and particularly to be filmed or televised." This class will consider the concept of cine-dance and its evolution over a decade in six films starring and/or (co-)directed by Gene Kelly.
is a lecturer of Media and Cinema Studies at DePaul University. When she is not teaching, Kelli researches two rather disparate fields: Shakespeare in film and popular culture, and also the film musical genre, specifically the star image and work of Hollywood song-and-dance man Gene Kelly. Follow Kelli on Twitter at @kellimarshall and/or read more about her take on Gene Kelly, film, and her adventures in higher education on her blog, MediAcademia
NOSTALGIA FOR NOTHING:
The "Bad" 1950s in American Cinema, 1970Present
July 17August 21
Films screened and discussed:
The Last Picture Show
(Peter Bogdanovich, 1971)
(Terrance Malick, 1973)
(Kathryn Bigelow and Monty Montgomery, 1982)
Last Exit to Brooklyn
(Uli Edel, 1989)
Far From Heaven
(Todd Haynes, 2002)
Good Night, and Good Luck
(George Clooney, 2005)
Nostalgic representations of 1950s American culture abound in contemporary cinema. Since the early 1970s, "The Fifties" has stood as perhaps the most fertile period in Hollywood and is remembered with fondness by numerous American directors and audiences. While many of these films celebrate the idyllic promise of happier times, there were also dynamically complex social and economic forces that defined this era. In this class, we will examine cinematic depictions of the 1950s as a time of great change and growth amid the idealized conventional portrayals of family life in America. Starting with Peter Bogdanovich's The Last Picture Show, arguably the initiator of the 1970s nostalgia film boom, we will watch and discuss the influence of 1950s America, and how this narrative represented the portrayal of crime, poverty, and agitation. We will see a stark contrast to the common perception of "The Fifties" as a period of leisure and material comfort. What does it mean to us today as we revisit this period of American prosperity and consumerism? How do these films prompt us to reconstruct the idea of "nostalgia," since it literally means a "longing to return home." This yearning for "home" is usually much more complex than a simple desire for an actual locale and every culture (and subculture) has its own version of nostalgia. In this class, we will discuss the effects of nostalgic representations in cinema as they relate to postmodernism, irony and the future.
KATE NEWBOLD is an advanced PhD candidate at Northwestern University, where she is studying memory and archiving in postwar American media. Since 2008 she has taught several courses at Northwestern on a variety of media topics, including nostalgia and popular culture, film analysis, media adaptation, and history of animation. Her publications include essays on archiving media memories from the 1950s and have appeared in academic journals such as Spectator and Velvet Light Trap.
THE WALK AND TALK OF AARON SORKIN
July 18August 22
Films screened and discussed:
A Few Good Men
(Rob Reiner, 1992)
(Harold Becker, 1993)
The American President
(Rob Reiner, 1995)
Charlie Wilson's War
(Mike Nichols, 2007)
The Social Network
(David Fincher, 2010)
(Bennett Miller, 2011)
"Our responsibility is to captivate you for however long we've asked for your attention. Aaron Sorkin
"Walk and Talk" is a distinctive storytelling-technique in which a number of characters have a conversation en route. The most basic form involves a walking character that is then joined by another character and on the way to their destinations they talk. Variations include interruptions from other characters and walk and talk relay races, in which new characters join the group and one of the original characters leaves the conversation, while the remaining characters continue the walking and talking. This shooting technique was popularized by screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, who came to television via theater, first used it on the TV dramedy Sports Night and later developed it for the hit drama The West Wing. Because of Sorkin's trademark rapid-fire dialogue and extended monologues, the walk and talk would become widely known as Sorkin's signature move. In this course we will take a look at each of Sorkin's feature films and examine the walk and talk of his characters. Why is this technique so effective in captivating viewers interests? And what does his success say about our relationship to politics and gender roles in America?
CHRISTINA WRIGHT is a film theorist, instructor and screenwriter. She holds an M.Phil in Film Theory and History from The University of Dublin, Trinity College. Christina is also a Character Education Specialist and is the Program Director of two film/drama based character education programs: The Character Reel (for children and youth) and Soul Cinema (for adults).
All of the instructors and programs listed herein were selected by Charles Coleman, Facets Film Program Director.
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Facets Film School classes are an integral part of Facets' mission to make the best in classic, world, and independent cinema accessible to all.