As part of our homeschooling, Dudeboy and I sometimes flesh out a subject by viewing a film that pertains to that time in history or the like. For example, last year when we studied WWI, we watched Gallipoli (1981 AU), Paths of Glory (1957 US), All Quiet on the Western Front (1930 US), and Lawrence of Arabia (1962 UK). Discussions ranged from the motivations of the film makers and whether the film was historically accurate, to why certain events resonate and become important. All that to say, we have been watching more than a few classic films (Dudeboy is quite fond of the Kurosawa samurai films). Sometime ago, Dudeboy had viewed a few of the early short silent films by Georges Méliès (see our Méliès Malcolm film), but he became completely enthralled with silent feature films when we saw the restored version of Fritz Lang’s visually stunning Metropolis (1927 German) at the Belcourt in Nashville at the end of July. All of which has prompted me to start keeping a record of what he/we are watching. So, here is the first installment of Kingdom of Fife Film School. We will list the films viewed each month, and Dudeboy will rate the films (scale of 1 to 5). Also, he might make a comment or two.
- The Red Balloon (short film) 9 stars [1956; FR; watched 8.31.10]
- The Mummy 8 stars [1932; US; watched 8.29.10]
- Valkyrie 8 stars [2008; US; watched 8.28.10]
- Un Chien Andalou (short film) 6 stars [1929; FR; watched 8.26.10]
- The Adventures of Prince Achmed 9 stars [1926; German; watched 8.25.10]
- Humorous Phases of Funny Faces (short film) 9 stars [1906; US; watched 8.25.10]
- Vampyr 6 stars [1932; German; watched 8.23.10]
- The Golem: How He Came into the World 9 stars [1920; German; watched 8.19.10]
- The War of the Worlds 8 stars [1953; US; watched 8.15.10]
- The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari 6 stars [1920; German; watched 8.5.10]
- Nosferatu 10 stars [1922; German; watched 8.2.10]
The three minute Humorous Phases of Funny Faces is generally regarded as the first animation. Click here to view this short animation.
The Adventures of Prince Achmed is the oldest surviving full length animation. It was made entirely with manipulated cutouts. Take a gander at the documentary The Art of Lotte Reiniger, (part 2 here), which shows the techniques used to render this visually amazing film. BTW, it took Reiniger three years to make the film.
The Red Balloon (or Le Ballon Rouge) won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 1956.