The Language of Cinema
The cinema is arguably the most influential art form in today's world, but it is also the most misunderstood. Many dismiss the movies as mere entertainment, while those who respond to films more thoughtfully often focus on devices and techniques culled from the novel or the stage play. This series of screenings will introduce people to the formal audiovisual language of cinema and open their minds to the unique potential of film as an art form. Each event will include a brief lecture and a viewing of a great movie, followed by a discussion of the film. Through screenings and dialogue we will engage the grammar, logic, and rhetoric of this language, as well as respond to the experiences and ideas communicated by it.
Lessons and Films:
Action as Art: Raiders of the Lost Ark (Steven Spielberg, 1980)
Saturday, March 24th, 6:00pm at our office: 14 Arrow Street, Cambridge, MA, Suite G10
Dinner will be provided - please RSVP
“Ecstatic Truth” – The Documentary as Art: Encounters at the End of the World (Werner Herzog, 2007)
Saturday, April 7th, 6:00pm at our office: 14 Arrow Street, Cambridge, MA, Suite G10
Beyond Literature I: 8 ½ (Federico Fellini, 1963)
Saturday, April 21st, 6:00pm at our office: 14 Arrow Street, Cambridge, MA, Suite G10
Beyond Literature II: 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)
Saturday, May 5th, 6:00pm at our office: 14 Arrow Street, Cambridge, MA, Suite G10
Beyond Literature III: The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011)
Saturday, May 19th, 6:00pm at our office: 14 Arrow Street, Cambridge, MA, Suite G10
Introduction: Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982)
October 30th at 7:00pm in Harvard's Leverett House (28 DeWolfe St, Cambridge, MA 02138)
Origins/Grammar: Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)
February 10 at 7:30 pm at our offices: Suite G10, 14 Arrow Street, Cambridge, MA
Perhaps no film is more victim to its own titanic reputation than Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane. Long ago cemented at the top of Great Film lists around the world, Kane is often an object of distant, sanctimonious piety— but it is seldom engaged on its own terms.
At our next screening we will strip away the years of musty reverence and experience Citizen Kane with fresh eyes. Discover why Kane is the most influential film of all time. Be dazzled by its baroque art and bravura showmanship. And unravel the mystery of Charles Foster Kane, one of the biggest and most frightening personalities in movie history.
World Cinema: Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa, 1950)
February 27th, 6:00pm at the Brattle Theater in Harvard Square
Note: This is a free screening, no need to purchase a ticket.
Akira Kurosawa exerted unparalleled mastery and influence over the world of cinema during a five decade career. In Seven Samurai, he invented modern action cinematography. Sergio Leone's seminal Spaghetti Western, A Fistful of Dollars, was a shot for shot remake of Kurosawa's Yojimbo. Early drafts of George Lucas' Star Wars were directly based on The Hidden Fortress. Steven Spielberg stole liberally from his catalogue of formal techniques. Martin Scorsese simply called him "my master."
But no Kurosawa film has more to say about human nature than Rashomon. In this innovative narrative a woodcutter finds a samurai murdered in the woods, and the story is retold from the perspective of all four people involved. As the mystery deepens, humanity's basic goodness and our very ability to know objective truth is put on trial. Join us at the Brattle Theater for a screening and discussion of this captivating epistemological puzzle.
Cinema as Language: Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
Saturday, March 3rd, 6:00pm at our office: 14 Arrow Street, Cambridge, MA, Suite G10
Dinner will be provided - please RSVP
Vertigo was disliked, dismissed, and quickly forgotten when it premiered in 1958. In 2012, an international poll of hundreds of filmmakers and critics voted Vertigo the "greatest movie of all time."
Vertigo is a film of hallucinatory, hypnotic beauty, savage power, perverse terror, and unrelenting mystery. It also represents absolute unity of form and function, revealing the unique potential of cinema as a formal language. It is a story about madness and obsession, and every shot, edit, action, and sound formally embodies the subject matter as the film folds back in on itself repeatedly. Vertigo is one of the highest peaks of 20th century art.
Program Director - Joseph Giallombardo
Joseph worked in Hollywood as a screenwriter for various production companies, developing original content as well as assisting producers in executive decisions. He has directed and produced several short films and written criticism on film, literature, and other arts.
Joseph loves to explore the way art inhabits and influences the every day life of a community, and he is passionate about introducing people to the unique potential of cinema as a formal language. He is currently spearheading AAI's lecture series on great films and working for the Rose Institute in the Boston area. He has a B.A. in History from the University of Dallas.