Reds on the Silver Screen

An Oberlin course blog

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More thoughts on ‘Prisoner of the Causceses’

May 5th, 2011 by Geneva Tatem · Uncategorized

The camera work a lot of the time reminded me of Burnt by the Sun ( the wide angle nature shot, slow panning etc). It was also relativity interesting to see some aspects of Czech culture. As I said before, I found the film to be visually stunning, but lacking story wise. I didn’t hate the movie, to be honest it would be a lot easier to write about the film if I despised it, I am just completely indifferent to everything about this movie and I’m sorry. The characters are sympathetic enough to be sure, but the only one I really liked was the mother; solely because she delivered a beat-down on soldier half her age armed only with a clutch.
All in all, I don’t think that this was a very special film (to me at least)

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Thoughts On Prisoner

May 5th, 2011 by Geneva Tatem · Uncategorized

I honestly don’t know what to think of this film. It was boring. Very beautifully shot, but it was very uninteresting to me. I feel the same way about the other film that I saw of Bordov’s Mongol ( Nominated for Best Foreign Film in 2008, I believe) That movie was also beautifully shot and tenderly rendered but I also found nothing and no one I could really connect with.

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Thoughts on “Moscow Doesn’t Believe in Tears”

April 17th, 2011 by Geneva Tatem · Uncategorized

To be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about this film. I liked it up to a point. And then I hated it. I found Katya to be a compelling character, and I was cheering her on after the time skip. And then she met Gosha/Gopa/Curious George. Just…..ughhhhhhh. The post time skip part of the movie is a lot like your generic rom-com. Overstressed High-Powered Woman meets Hot Artistic Sensitive Man and he shows her the beauty of the world through his manly pecs and 5 o’clock shadow but they part due to a misunderstanding (via plot contrivance) but are brought back together (via another plot contrivance). Rom-Coms, in my opinion are incredibly stupid but harmless (I believe any good film is gender neutral but that’s neither here nor there). But there was something so incredibly off-putting about this film. All of the men that Katya becomes involved with are creepy jerks (especially Yura/Gosha/Curious George/Saint George the Victorious.) Katya doesn’t really learn from her mistakes romantically, she just bounces from one skeeze-ball to another. I hated Gosha, I hated Katya. I stopped hating Liudmilla after the time skip. Tonya and Nikolai I always kind of liked.
Bottom Line is pre time skip part of the film was more engaging and less infuriating than the second part, well for me that is.

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Ivan Gross-ny

March 20th, 2011 by Geneva Tatem · Uncategorized

I have been a fan of movies for a very,very long time.  But until recently, I haven’t really paid attention to how movies look. Its like a new obsession of mine. That being said, I’m just going to say this:

Ivan Grozny is probably they UGLIEST movie I’ve seen in a while. Which was very weird considering how slick and beautiful Battleship Potemkin was. Everything was just so horrible looking, it was unbearable. This had nothing to do with the cinematography of the film, which was on point as usual. It was just the way the film looked, that got me. I feel like the majority of this post is going to be pictures just to prove my point.

All of the actors were wearing stage makeup. I’m pretty sure people still use make up in film but this was just unnecessary. A little is fine, but this was just weird. Everyone, including the men (especially the men), had full on pancake make-up including lipstick and false eye-lashes on. This is especially distracting considering the camera spends 90% of the film up in everyone’s face.

I’m a sucker for historical drama’s because I love looking at the costumes. I love beautiful costumes and I thought,since this was a historical drama, this would be no be no different. But I was very wrong. Everything was over blown and gaudy and abhorrent to look at. Just look at this for example.

I know that this is a weird thing to say but the acting was also ugly to look at. I’d like to say that Eisenstein didn’t make the transition from silent to sound very well, but I have the feeling that Eisenstein did this on purpose. The acting is hammy, even for old films its hammy. The actors essentially are chewing,digesting and finally regurgitating the scenery. Everyone is flailing wildly and shouting at the top of their lungs. Its not even “So Bad its Funny”. Its “So Bad its Kinda Irritating”.

Its like Eisenstein decided to make some sort of send up of historical drama’s than actually make one. Maybe its just him once again trying to prove what a special little snowflake he is.

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The Greatest Show on Earth?

March 13th, 2011 by Geneva Tatem · Uncategorized

Being the geek that I am, I adore musicals. In fact, I feel I love musicals a little too much. There are some exceptions, but If it has singing in it I will be watching it. So when I heard we were going to be watching Circus, I was kinda excited.
And then I watched it.
I’d have to say it was the most irritating viewing experience I’ve ever been a part of . Those were the Worst Subtitles in THE HISTORY OF FILM. But it wasn’t just the atrocious subtitles that had me head in hands, rolling my eyes in the dark. The movie was beautiful to look at for sure. But this movie hasn’t aged that well at all. It was just so cheesy. Even for Musical standards it was cheesy. I think the message at the end of the movie was what did it in for me. Believe me, I’m all for racial equality, but during the finale of the musical I was making this face:

(But I do realize that there was more racial equality in the USSR than there was in the US)
When the movie ended, I shrugged it off. And then I started thinking about it. This movie didn’t really have any racial equality in it. At the surface it definitely did. The Soviet People Accept and Love all Communist People no matter what because the Soviet People are made of Rainbows and Puppies.
I’m going list the two main things ( in no particular order) that undermine Circus’ message.
1. This one is very minor, but there aren’t really black characters in the film. Yes, there are people are in it but they aren’t characters. We never learn their names (including the baby’s) they really don’t have lines, and we don’t learn anything about them. They are just there. All the main characters (any one that speaks,really) are white.
2. Marion’s problems/depression stem(s) from the fact that her child is black. The fact she is run out of America, the fact that she is in that abusive relationship with Kneishitz, etc. It comes off as if she is ashamed of him ( She’s only seen crying over him. When the reveal is made, She faints etc)

This is just something I noticed. Feel free to challenge my thinking ( You won’t get trolled, I swear)

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Red Saints

March 6th, 2011 by Geneva Tatem · Uncategorized

We all learned in history class that the Soviets didn’t believe in religion . But religion, or at least some aspects of it, are ingrained in our society. Even the most communist of communists were probably made to go to Sunday School when they were younger.  The Messianic archetype is prevalent in most mediums of fiction, including film. But when it comes up in a society that considered region to be a crutch  and opiate of the masses you can help but do a double take.

For example in Battleship Potemkin:

The priest is in cahoots with the officers on this ship in order to keep the sailors oppressed. His antiquated methods are a weapon against the sailors and all Soviet peoples.  Priests and religion must be done away with!

Vakulinchuk on the other hand:

Was a brave noble sailor who fought and died for what was right. His death was not in vain , because of him people were finally able to come to consciousness and be saved…
I guess this also speaks to the double standard in Soviet Film (i.e. If its used by us that means its ok).

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Musical Musings

February 20th, 2011 by Geneva Tatem · Uncategorized

Through the movies we’ve watched, we’ve been able to see ( or rather hear) the evolution of music in films. From Twilight of a Woman’s Soul where the music is non-existent to films like Battleship Potemkin and Man with a Movie Camera where it is so much more than an extra perk ( like , in my opinion, the music in Mr.West was).

In my opinion, the music in the films Potemkin and MwaMC was one of the reasons why the movies are great. What I mean to say is, without  music, the viewing experience of both films is goes way down, especially in MwaMC.  Before you go rolling your eyes, I have evidence to back up my claim.
The Climax of Battleship Potemkin.

With music, you can feel the tension of sailors who may or may not be going to their deaths. You hear the machines whirring faster and faster. And at the end you feel the triumph of the sailors as they sail to freedom as their comrades look on. Now watch it with out the sound. Its literally: Clip Inter-title Clip Clip Inter-title Clip until the end.  The music is doing a lot of the emotional manipulation along with providing sound effects. Compare that to Mr.West, where the music literally doesn’t matter at all. You could play “Chopsticks” over the film and it would have the same effect.

And with Man with a Movie Camera, the music really ties the film together.  Without it all the film would be an hour of  montage.  In Potemkin, the film had a narrative so even without the music you could watch it. Man with a Movie Camera, the music is absolutely integral. And the use of sound and music in MwaMC is absolutely fascinating. You could literally hear  machines working in the film.

Well that’s all I have to say about that. Your opinions on what I have to say are very welcome :3

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Hello There!

February 15th, 2011 by Geneva Tatem · Uncategorized

I like movies!! :)

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Hello world!

February 14th, 2011 by Geneva Tatem · Uncategorized

Welcome to your blog. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

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