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Saturday 23 January 2021

Home - Academic - First: 3 Classic Movies Every Young Movie Buff Should See

Quite often those wishing to introduce younger generations to films of a more classic period go one, if not two, routes. Firstly, the classic films tend to be those of the older individual’s generation (often this is pure nostalgia for the era, not the art of film). Secondly, the films introduced tend to be those of the ones that introduces their own country.

While it is good to have national pride, the fact is that the world is growing ever smaller and the concept of understanding the similarities and differences of cultures other than one’s own is becoming increasingly significant.

The world has been around far, far longer than anyone has currently been living on it and encompasses more than it is virtually able to be experienced by a single individual. One of the profoundly great things about cinema is its ability to easily introduce viewers to so many different eras and locations.

Introducing and fostering an enjoyment of films from other places greatly enriches the lives of those who respond to those films. The following list includes films which may, as it happens, teach the younger viewer a thing or two and will also provide a different window into this great art form and the larger world. (Disclaimer: this list is highly subjective, not definitive, and does not include many films often featured in the articles of Taste of Cinema).

1. Nosferatu (1922)

Germany’s F.W Murnau was one of the great film makers, ever. Though he made even better films, a fine introduction for younger viewers is this first version of British author Bram Stoker’s Dracula (though this was not an official, authorized version, which almost lead to the film being destroyed per legal ruling).

Murnau brilliantly uses one device after another from the expressionistic mode of silent film making to render this story of how a small town in Germany is invaded by a vampire who was once the nobleman Count Orlock (Max Schreck, whose name means “horror” in German and, as folklore would have it, was a real vampire).

2. Napoleon (1927)

For many decades, Napoleon, largely buried due to coming on the cusp of the sound era, was somewhat unknown/forgotten, along with its supremely innovative French director, Abel Gance. British film historian Kevin Brownlow found a sample reel of the film as a schoolboy in the 1950s and, bedazzled, has spent much of his life since that time restoring this mammoth version (five plus hours) of “the Little General’s” early years, including his boyhood.The philosophy in this film may be loopy but the visuals are among the most exciting in film history, including the boy’s snowball fight in the schoolyard, the sea storm/political battle cross-edit and, above all, the years-ahead-of-its-time triptych which concludes the film.

3. October (1927)

Another all time great director was the Soviet Union’s Sergei Eisenstein, one of the creators and masters of cinematic montage. Though his 1925 film Battleship Potemkin will always be considered his masterpiece, all of his films, which deal with real events in Russian history, are worthwhile.This certainly applies to his follow-up to Potemkin, October (also known as Ten Days Which Shook the World). Though the ever disapproving government sabotaged certain sections, this film of the ten momentous days leading up to the Bolsheviks taking control of the Russian government is a vividly pictorial and thrillingly edited film (which looks uncannily like a documentary).

 

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