An experiment based on Kuleshov’s work with political icons

Karl MarxMost film students will know of the Kuleshov experiment by their second year in film school.  And most historians will know who Karl Marx, Margaret Thatcher, Richard Nixon and Napoleon Bonaparte are.

Well, why not mix the simplest film experiment in history with four of history’s most debated icons? Meanwhile, we can test someone’s historical knowledge.

Try showing the following video to your friends, students or peers.  (Kids, try this with your parents.) Ask them how the other images in the sequence makes the famous people feel. Continue reading An experiment based on Kuleshov’s work with political icons

Have A Presidential Christmas

three women Protestors with sign saying - Mr President let's have a old-fashioned christmas.
Protestors ask President Harding to give amnesty to Political Prisoners, 1922.

This Christmas, you may be hearing rumors that Santa Claus was invented to sell Coca Cola.  Well, Christmas is much older the Republican Party.  It’s even older than the Pope.

The Founding Fathers inherited the tradition from the European ancestors, but in 1776 Washington’s army had little to celebrate. Continue reading Have A Presidential Christmas

Who should play the current president?

Let’s get this straight, Denzel Washington looks nothing like Barrack Obama. Ok, he may look more like Obama than Drew Barrymore does, but the resemblance is limited.

But once their mouths start moving, Obama and Washington resemble each other almost perfectly.

Remember Philadelphia? The way Washington spewed a lot of hot air, but got you thinking that you agreed with whatever he was saying? Even though you didn’t know what he was saying?

I mean, come on, they wanted a young partner to take over the firm when they retired. Tom Hanks’ character was going to die of Aids, so he’d probably die before the old jerks would retire. Sure, his employers weren’t the nicest guys, but what was he really suing them for?

And just to prove that Hank’s character was wrong to sue, the filmmaker shows him on his death bed with all these supportive people around him.

Yeah, the story was weird, and the average viewer had no idea what was going on, but you liked the people anyway.

And I have no idea what Obama stands for, but I like him anyway. Don’t ask me why, I just think he’s a great guy. A family man, a diplomat, and a smile that would disarm a soup tyrant. And boy, can he talk.

But yeah, just like Malcolm X, he doesn’t seem to do that much else. He talks, but nothing seems to happen as a result. Maybe he’s just unlucky.

Take for example his key line in his talk to the Chinese leadership: “We want to sell you lots of stuff.” Great line. But does it really help get us out of the recession?

Many actors can sit around doing nothing, and babble on and go nowhere with it. Many actors have oodles of charisma, and are so adorable you could just knit them a sweater.

However, no other living actor can come close to Obama’s ability to talk. Washington is the current master of the monologue, a forceful speaker who every screenwriter dreams of hearing his lines read by.

So yeah, if I was commissioned to make a film about Barrack Obama, the first actor I’d try to get was Denzel Washington. Nobody else in Hollywood could do the job half as well.

– Vasco de Sousa

Four films I wish I could see on DVD

INT. VIDEO RENTAL SHOP

VASCO, accompanied by a SMALL CHILD, walks up to the counter looking lost.  Two of the EMPLOYEES take a step backwards before he says a word, the third is transfixed to the television set, watching reruns of “Friends”.

VASCO

Excuse me, do you have Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.

One of the employees rolls her eyes.

EMPLOYEE 1

Pee what?

Continue reading Four films I wish I could see on DVD

Alvin and the Chipmunks, the Squeakquel

The only thing worse than a movie based on a tv show is a sequel to a movie based on a tv show.    It’s doomed to have bad jokes, endless references… wait a minute, this one was actually fun to watch!

“My favourite part is when Alvin was on a mini motorbike when he was trying to save the Chippets from Ian. Alvin got the Chippets and Ian stole this Toy helicopter and a remote control to control it from a toy shop. Then Ian was controlling the toy and Alvin and the Chippets got onto the toy helicopter and the Chippets and Alvin threw their helmets on Ian and he let go of the remote control. One of the Chippets caught it and Ian was on the floor on his back and the motorbike that Alvin and the Chippets were on was still moving on its own and it was going to Ian and it hit his willy.”
-boy aged ten

“My favourite parts are when Alvin gives wedgies to the naughty boys, and when Alvin and Simon beat up the naughty boys.”
-boy aged eight