It’s the end of the semester, a time of recognition and reflection especially for those who are graduating. To honor all the hard work of students (and faculty!) during these tumultuous times, we thought it would be nice to kick back with this fun coming-of-age 90s classic from Richard Linklater.
Dazed and Confused is about the disparate misadventures of several young adults as they graduate high school and middle school and transition into (or resist) the next phase of their lives. It features an ensemble cast and launched the careers of such household names as Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, and Parker Posey.
The film was Linklater’s second feature and has come to be seen as the founding text of his style. Set in 1976, it strikes a unique tone of comedic yet grounded nostalgia. The film bombed at the box office but has since achieved cult status over the years, regularly topping critical best-of lists.
We will watch Dazed and Confused as a group on May 19th at 7:00pm EDT and chat on Twitter during the viewing. So how does this work exactly? At 7:00 everyone hits play on the movie and Tweets along using hashtag #SPSWatchParty. Dazed and Confused is available for streaming on Amazon Prime or it can be rented on Apple TV and Google Play. As always, don’t forget to check out the resources page for extra essays and videos!
Our next film will be Bright Star (2009), directed by Jane Campion
April is National Poetry Month, which makes it the perfect time to visit this biographical drama from director Jane Campion.
Bright Star tells the story of the English poet John Keats and his relationship with Fanny Brawne. Keats died of tuberculosis a few years after meeting Brawne, and much of what we know about the poet has been drawn from their correspondence.
The film is lush and deeply romantic. Cinematographer Greig Fraser (Dune, Lion) creates a subtly gorgeous, luminous atmosphere, while the rich production design brings the 19th century to life. Lead actors Abbie Cornish and Ben Whishaw bring sensitivity and grace to their roles with intimate and sincere performances.
At the center of Bright Star is a message about art, longing, and resilience. Keats real poems are sprinkled throughout the story, including the titular poem, an ode to Fanny – his love and muse.
We will meet and discuss Bright Star on May 3rd at 7:00pm EDT on Slack. The movie will be made available to club members. You can also check out our resources page for additional reviews, essays and videos!
Our next film will be Meek’s Cutoff(2010), directed by Kelly Reichardt
Let’s celebrate woman indie filmmaking!
For our next movie we will focus on the 2010 western drama Meek’s Cutoff, directed by Kelly Reichardt. Loosely based on a true historical incident, the movie follows three families of settlers moving west in 1845 along the Oregon Trail.
Reichardt has become known for her detailed and minimalist realism, often showcasing naturalistic settings of the northwest. She finds drama in the struggles of ordinary people seeking security and happiness on the fringes. Meek’s Cutoff brings us into the grueling and mundane struggles of western settlement, subverting the traditional glory and machismo of the genre.
The film boasts a strong cast including Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, Paul Dano, and Zoe Kazan. It features gorgeous cinematography by Christopher Blauvelt and was nominated for multiple awards.
We will watch and discuss the movie LIVE on March 22nd at 7:00pm EDT. Film Club members will receive a link via email. And don’t forget to check out our resources page for additional reviews, essays and videos!
With the tragic events currently taking place in Ukraine, we wanted to take a look at this important piece of Ukrainian/soviet era cinema, and highlight one of the region’s most well-regarded directors.
Sergei Parajanov was a fascinating figure who was censored and eventually imprisoned by the authorities for his art. Shadows, his most famous film, is an homage to Ukrainian traditions and an experimental departure from soviet realism.
The movie was lauded by the international film community for its boundary-pushing aesthetics and lively cinematography. It is also one of the few films of the period that uses the Ukrainian language, as well as traditional dress and folk music. The story is a fairly basic romance, but the tone is surreal and the imagery is lavish and compelling.
We will discuss the movie on March 8th at 7:00pm EDT on Slack. Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors is available for free on YouTube and on easterneuropeanmovies.com. And don’t forget to check out our resources page for interesting reviews, essays and videos!
Our next film will be Mudbound (2017), directed by Dee Rees.
In recognition of Black history month our next movie will be Mudbound, a grounded and unflinching examination of racism in Jim Crow Mississippi during World War II.
Mudbound is the second feature from Dee Rees, who became the first black woman nominated for an Oscar in the Adapted Screenplay category (the movie is based on a novel by Hillary Jordan). The story follows two families, one white and one black, as they navigate the racist norms of society alongside the shared struggles of the rural working class.
The movie is beautifully shot and performed, with a cast that includes Jason Mitchell, Carey Mulligan, and Mary J. Blige. Although fictional, it accurately documents a time and place that remains deeply relevant to America’s ongoing challenges. Mudbound was nominated for four Oscars and received awards from the New York Film Critics Circle, Palm Springs International, the Women Film Critics Circle, and more.
We will discuss the movie on February 22nd at 7:00pm EDT on Slack. Mudbound is available for streaming on Netflix. And don’t forget to check out our resources page for interesting reviews, essays and videos!