To see a film in black and white is to go back to a time when the following were in vogue: talkies, Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable, Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe, Alfred Hitchcock, and many others were the talk of the town in their day. Nowadays black and white is utilized not just in motion pictures, but photography, music videos, and home movies as a creative form of expression.
Black and white movies (and let’s not forget tv shows like The Twilight Zone, The Fugitive, and The Rifleman) are some of my favorites. They represent a time when acting seemed more realistic—when a kiss on screen was just that and nothing more because the rest was left to the imagination. A time when the hair was slick, the screams were loud, and the plot had a way of making you think about the larger context of the message. It also signaled my fascination as a kid upon first watching in a lack of color to believe that the real world outside of the movie during those times were literally lived in black and white.
Ekstrom’s Media Resources on the 1st floor has a large array of classic film and television made in black and white available for checkout on DVD and VHS. Here are few of the notables:
What makes a city great? How are cities designed? Which comes first in city planning priorities: the person or the vehicle? These are some of the questions broached by Urbanized, a documentary film by Gary Hustwit.
A couple weeks ago I attended “Creating a Healthy, Vibrant Louisville,” one of the Sustainable City Series forums, and heard Gil Peñalosa speak about great transformative changes to cities. The Sustainable City Series was created by the University of Louisville’s Urban Design Studio to “raise the community’s awareness of better design practices for our built environment with a focus on moving our city and region towards a sustainable future.”
Peñalosa’s brother Enrique is one of the featured speakers in Urbanized. I really wanted to see the film, but the library didn’t have a copy. So I filled out the Order Recommendation Form and they got a copy!
The documentary takes the viewer around the world to see the successes and failures of cities in meeting the needs of their people. From bike lanes in Copenhagen to the streets of Bogotá, the documentary traces design decisions and the insightful programs that help turn dangerous or disconnected cities into one’s that thrive. The element that ties these programs together (or makes them fail, in its absence) is the focus on people. From a violent neighborhood in South Africa springs a safe walking zone. Government subsidies allow former slum dwellers in India to own and develop their own homes. And then there this heartbreaking story of planner-citizen disconnect in Stuttgart.
So whether you’re into design or urban planning or social change , I’d highly recommend this film.
Here’s a clip from the DVD’s extras to whet your appetite.
Urbanized is available in the Ekstrom Library SGA video collection.
Many people enjoy lists. So, here is a random Top 10 list of movies in Ekstrom’s Media Resources that are in step with Spring Break themes related to some form of student life. Media Resources is located on the first floor, east side. Movies can be checked out with your UofL I.D. For media related questions call them at (502) 852-6302. Enjoy the break!
Summary: Faber College has one frat house so disreputable it will take anyone. The campus’s only other frat house is full of white, anglo-saxon, rich young men that no one can stand except Dean Wormer. The dean enlists the help of their fraternity to get the boys of Delta House off campus.
Summary: Explores the last day of school — and one rowdy night — in the lives of a group of high school students in late May, 1976
Summary: High school senior Scott forms an online friendship with German student Mieke to get a passing grade in his high school German class. When he finds out Mieke is a buxom blonde girl, he decides to travels to meet her with his pals. The group head to Berlin and it becomes the ultimate summer vacation party.
4.Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
Summary: A comedy that chronicles the trials and tribulations of several high school students.
5. House Party (1990)
Summary: Kid, a typical teenager, has to deal with punks, an over-protective father, and beautiful best friends who want him to choose between them.
6. Legally Blonde (2001)
Summary: When a blonde sorority queen is dumped by her boyfriend, she decides to follow him to law school to get him back and, once there, learns she has more legal savvy than she ever imagined.
7. Old School (2002)
Summary: Three middle-aged men disenchanted with their lives, try to relive their youth by moving into a house on a college campus and start hanging out with a group of misfit college students, losers, and retirees.
8. Revenge of the Nerds II (1987)
Summary: Revenge of the nerds: Two freshman join the nerds in their battle against jocks using high-tech weapons only a nerd could dream of.
9. Road Trip (2000)
Summary: Josh has a major problem — besides the fact he’s in college in Ithaca, NY, and his girlfriend Tiffany is in Austin, TX. A video of him getting funky with the luscious Beth was mistakenly mailed to Tiffany and now he has three days to get to Texas before the tape does!
Summary: College freshman John (Gib) Gibson visits his friend in California during winter break. Awaiting there is a bikini-clad babe whom his friend assures him is a “sure thing”. Meanwhile, Allison, a cute girl at Gib’s college has also decided to head out to California to see her boyfriend during break. Both are thrust together on an annoying road trip, but along the way, they find each other’s company to be tolerable. Now, what will become of Gib’s “sure thing?”
Watch the Film! Over the years many books have been adapted for the big screen. Sometimes the film adaptation is spot-on (e.g., The Lord of the Rings). Others are more “loosely” based; varying from things like the country setting to plot (e.g., Apocalpyse Now, I Am Legend). Nevertheless, what’s great about this is Ekstrom’s Media Resources has several of them available on DVD for checkout in the SGA Collection. Just bring your UofL I.D. and you can check out 3 of these movies at one time.
Here are a few suggestions from the library staff:1. Apocalypse Now Based on Joseph Conrad’s novella, “Heart of Darkness.” 2. Diary of a Wimpy Kid Based on the novel in a series by Jeff Kinney. 3. He’s Just Not That Into You Based on the self-help book authored by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. 4. I am Legend Based on the 1954 novel by Richard Matheson. 5. Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Fellowship of the Ring, Two Towers, and Return of the King) Based on the fantasy novels written by J.R. R. Tolkien. 6. No Country for Old Men Based on the novel authored by Cormac McCarthy. 7. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Based on the 1962 novel by Ken Kesey. 8. The Color Purple Based on the 1982 novel by Alice Walker. 9. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Based on the short story written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. 10. The Help Based on the 2009 novel by Katheryn Stockett.
Remember: Media Resources is located on the 1st floor, East side.
Directed by Steve McQueen
by Ashley McKenzie
Michael Fassbender gives an amazing and heartbreaking performance as Bobby Sands, an imprisoned IRA member who initiates a hunger strike in the prison where he and his fellow members are being held. A bit draggy in the set up of the story, it eventually evolves into a fast paced journey of a man who does not believe in giving up without a fight. And fight he does, going three solid months without food, just for the right to be called a member of the Irish Republican Army—which the prison has been refusing to recognize. The cinematography is raw and uncensored, forcing you to observe the conditions these men went through during their inhabitation of the prison without leaving a gap large enough for your own interpretation. Even though it is up in your face, whether you’d like it there or not, Hunger has honesty. This is something oft forgotten once the movie is in actual production. You watch a man suffer, and he suffers for a cause in which he truly believes.
Steve McQueen hits all the marks to draw you into the plot and more than likely send you out crying because of his grasp on humanity. Hunger is dark and poetic. It’s miserable, yet brilliant and by the end you’ll find yourself pleading with the main character in hopes that he will finally eat something that is placed in front of him. As the outsider looking in, you question his morals and methods during his protest that lasts a grueling 66 days, and you wonder if you can say that it’s worth it or not. McQueen questions us as viewers, and that’s what makes for an intriguing plot of a movie that has the potential to be dry and leave us all wondering what we just spent the last hour and a half of our lives watching.
Whether it be horrifically burned into your brain or put onto your ‘watch again’ list, Hunger is a hard movie to forget.
Happy Halloween! Fancy a movie to get you in the Halloween mood? Movies are available for checkout at Media Resources with your UofL I.D. on the first floor of the Ekstrom Library or call them at (502) 852-6302.
To give you some ideas here are some blood-curdling favorites from the Reference Library Staff:
1. Alien vs Predator
Plot: Two lethal creatures, the alien and the predator, use the Earth as a battleground.
2. The Blair Witch Project
Plot: Three student filmmakers set out into the forest to film a documentary on a legend known as The Blair Witch. As they become lost in the woods, an unseen evil begins to stalk and harass them. They soon realize that what they are filming is not a legend, but their own descent into a horrifying encounter with the supernatural.
Plot: Carrie, a shy highschooler with growing telekinetic powers, is abused by her classmates and her religiously fanatical mother. After being the brunt of a joke at the Senior Prom, Carrie uses her telekinetic powers to destroy her classmates and her mother.
Plot: On a black and unholy Halloween night years ago, little Michael Myers brutally slaughtered his sister in cold blood. But for the last fifteen years, town residents have rested easy, knowing that he was safely locked away in a mental hospital … until tonight. Tonight, Michael returns to the same quiet neighborhood to relive his grisly murder again … and again … and again. For this is a night of evil. Tonight is Halloween!
Plot: Ten strangers are brought together at a motel because of a savage rainstorm. All take shelter at a desolate motel run by a nervous night manager. Relief in finding shelter is quickly replaced with fear as the ten travelers begin to die, one by one. They soon realize that, if they are to survive, they’ll have to uncover the secret that has brought them all together.
6. The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Plot: A mixture of fantastical rock opera and horror movie spoof. A couple of ordinary kids have car trouble one dark and rainy night and knock on the door of a looming gothic mansion. They are stunned to learn that they have stumbled into an ongoing convention of kinky characters, hosted by Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a mad scientist from the planet Transsexual.
7. The Shining
Plot: A young boy and his parents spend the winter in a resort hotel which is possessed by ghosts.