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Film Studies 101

The Cinema of Attractions

Classical Narrative Cinema & Genre Studies

Auteur Theory & New Wave Cinema

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Seven Samurai
One of the most thrilling movie epics of all time, SEVEN SAMURAI (Shichinin no samurai) tells the story of a sixteenth-century village whose desperate inhabitants hire the eponymous warriors to protect them from invading bandits. This three-hour ride from Akira…
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The Battle of Algiers
One of the most influential political films in history, THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS, by Gillo Pontecorvo, vividly re-creates a key year in the tumultuous Algerian struggle for independence from the occupying French in the 1950s. As violence escalates on both…
L'avventura
Michelangelo Antonioni invented a new film grammar with this masterwork. An iconic piece of challenging 1960's cinema and a gripping narrative on its own terms, L'AVVENTURA concerns the enigmatic disappearance of a young woman during a yachting trip off the…
Rashomon
This riveting psychological thriller that investigates the nature of truth and the meaning of justice is widely considered one of the greatest films ever made. Four people give different accounts of a man's murder and the rape of his wife,…
Breathless
There was before Breathless, and there was after Breathless. Jean-Luc Godard burst onto the film scene in 1960 with this jazzy, free-form, and sexy homage to the American film genres that inspired him as a writer for Cahiers du cinema.…
8 1/2
Marcello Mastroianni plays Guido Anselmi, a director whose new project is collapsing around him, along with his life. One of the greatest films about film ever made, Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 ( Otto e mezzo ) turns one man's artistic…
Cleo From 5 to 7
Agnes Varda eloquently captures Paris in the sixties with this real-time portrait of a singer (Corinne Marchand) set adrift in the city as she awaits test results of a biopsy. A chronicle of the minutes of one woman's life, CLEO…
Bicycle Thieves
Hailed around the world as one of the greatest movies ever made, the Academy Award-winning BICYCLE THIEVES, directed by Vittorio De Sica, defined an era in cinema. In poverty-stricken postwar Rome, a man is on his first day of a…
Modern Times
Charlie Chaplin's last outing as the Little Tramp puts the iconic character to work as a giddily inept factory employee who becomes smitten with a gorgeous gamine (Paulette Goddard). With its barrage of unforgettable gags and sly commentary on class…
The Seventh Seal
Disillusioned and exhausted after a decade of battling in the Crusades, a knight (Max von Sydow) encounters Death on a desolate beach and challenges him to a fateful game of chess. Much studied, imitated, even parodied, but never outdone, Bergman's…
The 400 Blows - Les quatre cents coups
Francois Truffaut's first feature is also his most personal. Told through the eyes of Truffaut's cinematic counterpart, Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Leaud), THE 400 BLOWS sensitively re-creates the trials of Truffaut's own childhood, unsentimentally portraying aloof parents, oppressive teachers, and petty…
Playtime
Jacques Tati's gloriously choreographed, nearly wordless comedies about confusion in an age of high technology reached their apotheosis with PLAYTIME. For this monumental achievement, a nearly three-year-long, bank-breaking production, Tati again thrust the lovably old-fashioned Monsieur Hulot, along with a…
The Pervert's Guide To Ideology
Cultural theorist superstar Slavoj Zizek re-teams with director Sophie Fiennes ( The Pervert's Guide to Cinema ) for another wildly entertaining romp through the crossroads of cinema and philosophy. With infectious zeal and a voracious appetite for popular culture, Zizek…
His Girl Friday
In this undeniable gem of Hollywood's golden age, Walter, a hard-boiled newspaper editor, discovers that his ex-wife and former employee, Hildy, is set to marry a wet-blanket insurance salesman. Walter, certain that this is the wrong move for a strong-willed…
Tokyo Story
A profoundly stirring evocation of elemental humanity and universal heartbreak, TOKYO STORY is the crowning achievement of the unparalleled Yasujiro Ozu. The film, which follows an aging couple's journey to visit their grown children in bustling postwar Tokyo, surveys the…
Half The Picture - Female Directors Speak Out
This celebrated film follows female directors working in Hollywood. HALF THE PICTURE uses the current EEOC investigation into discriminatory hiring practices as a framework to talk to these successful women directors about their career paths, struggles, inspiration and hopes for…
In the Mood for Love
Hong Kong, 1962: Chow Mo-wan (Tony Leung Chiu-wai) and Su Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung Man-yuk) move into neighboring apartments on the same day. Their encounters are formal and polite--until a discovery about their spouses creates an intimate bond between them. At…
Metropolis
Perhaps the most famous and influential of all silent films, METROPOLIS had for 75 years been seen only in shortened or truncated versions. Now, restored in Germany with state-of-the-art digital technology, under the supervision of the Murnau Foundation, and with…
Jules and Jim
Hailed as one of the finest films ever made, JULES ET JIM charts, over twenty-five years, the relationship between two friends and the object of their mutual obsession. The legendary Francois Truffaut directs, and Jeanne Moreau stars as the alluring…
Solaris
Ground control has been receiving mysterious transmissions from the three remaining residents of the Solaris space station. When cosmonaut and psychologist Kris Kelvin is dispatched to investigate, he experiences the same strange phenomena that afflict the Solaris crew, sending him…