Oh the world of film! You can get lost in its mesmerizing illusion, drift away enveloped in plush velvets of the past, characters whispering in low voices as the world marches on. Film. Rome makes me think of Neorealism in Italian cinema with its distinctive focus on everyday life of people, their circumstances and little victories in the place they call home. Think Roberto Rossellini, Federico Fellini. Dream New Wave in France with incredible talent of Jean-Luc Godard. If you are into Art House or simply like to be engaged by art that is cinema, stay tuned – I will never pass a chance to throw some curious finds into the mix or post a video clip on an emerging artist!
Today I stumbled upon my five-volume collection of Essential Art House by Janus Film that I begged my husband to give me as a birthday gift but have since, to his great dismay, forgotten all about. As I bid goodbye to year 2014, I made a resolution to seek more educational opportunities. Since film is my passion, I have long kicked myself for not reading more books on it or chronologically studying the classics. Awhile back I took a continuing education class at Stanford University, pursuing foreign film. The class taught by knowledgeable and charming Laura Wittman was called “The Golden Age of French and Italian Cinema” and covered acclaimed film masterpieces of the 20th century, ranging from late 1930 to 1970’s. The class was fantastic and engaging covering a wide range of works. I kept the list in my mind to watch these films again one day or recommend to others. Many of them you might have seen yet plenty could also be discoveries, intriguing and pushing you to search further by reading about the era, cinematographic movements and film criticism. Without further delay, I give you the movies that proved inspiring and enchanting:
Rules of the Game by Jean Renoir (1939)
Rome Open City by Roberto Rossellini (1945)
The Children of Paradise by Marcel Carne (1945)
Hiroshima Mon Amour by Alain Resnais (1959)
La Dolce Vita by Federico Fellini (1960)
Breathless by Jean-Luc Godard (1960)
The Conformist by Bernardo Bertolucci (1970)
All these films are incredible given an often grim historical circumstances under which they were created and lack of resources pushing directors to take chances and drive the creative process by unwavering passion and dedication alone. If you are a fan of classic movies and this sample has woken up an appetite for more film, I strongly suggest checking out THE CRITERION COLLECTION – a fantastic resource for hard-to-find cinematic treasures.