Monday, June 16, 2008

Films on 6/16/08

Five Chinese Brothers (1958) Weston Woods So my nephew heard that I wanted to get a haircut and he suggested I get one like a Chinese boy - bald with a pigtail. Later, we tried to figure out how a six year old knew about that old stereotype image. I thought it was because of the book Five Chinese Brothers. Germaine didn't remember reading it, so we watched the film. In case you forget, five Chinese Brothers get away with murder by duping local villagers who try to exact justice for the death of a small boy. It's a great kid's story but there are some underlying stereotypes (someone chimed "yeah, all those Chinese look the same"). Budding film collectors take note. This film is an iconographic film meaning it is just made up of shots that pan the illustrations in the book as someone reads the story. Weston Woods is known for doing many great animated adaptations of children's books (Where The Wild Things Are, Smile For Auntie) but they also do these dull iconographic films - so beware...

Sun: Friend or Foe (1968) Charles Cahill
Discusses the positive and negative aspects of the sun's influence on the Earth and our daily lives. Teaches basic concepts and facts about the sun. It really looks like Cahill just strung together a bunch of stock footage from other Cahill films

The Box (1973) Hans Halberstadt / Barr Films
Presents a visual and sound experience about a young boy who enjoys playing with a large cardboard box. Explains that the boy imagines that the box becomes a stagecoach rumbling across the prairie, a steam locomotive puffing through the forest, a stunt plane diving and twisting in the sky and finally a space capsule on its way to the moon. We did some digging and discovered that Hans is a big train enthusiast.

It All Depends on You (late 1960s) Fox and Assoc. AT&T
Jack Klugman (just before The Odd Couple and long before Quincy) and a young Peter Ostrum (as Charlie Bucket in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory) as his son. Tries to convince customers to dial direct when dialing long distance - to save money and ultimately for AT&T to save employing operators during off-peak times. It took a while for everybody to figure out what the hell this film was selling. I personally love films that take their sweet ass time to make their points - its maddening and so indulgent...

Fears of Children (1951) Mental Health Film Board / Bryan, Julien
Tells the story of five-year-old Paul whose mother is unduly protective and whose father is over-severe. Shows how fears which are common to children may be magnified by inconsistency in parental attitudes. This is one of Rick Prelinger's favorite films and I'm happy that I found a good copy on Ebay. I'll definitely show this one publicly soon.

Neurotic Behavior - A Psychodynamic View (1973) CRM/McGraw-Hill
Shows the basic dilemma of the neurotic and how mental defenses serve to reduce the anxiety. Takes a psychodynamic approach to neurotic behavior as it follows an episode in the life of Peter, a troubled college student who attempts to cope with reality. Holy cow, what a great film! Courtesy of Valerie and the People of Pavement 16mm archive that she just donated to the A/V Geeks archive.

Normalization - A Right To Respect (1973) Atlanta Assn For Retarded Children/Wooster Productions
So I let folks pick a film based on the title and they picked this one. Depicts handicapped persons in real life situations to illustrate what normalization is for persons with developmental handicaps. Narrated by TV actor Lloyd Nolan - a very gruff gumshoe character actor whose voice seemed very inappropriate for a film about the handicapped.

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