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No, Thanks, I’ll Pass on Watching Twilight Tonight

Summer is fast approaching. Yes, there are still tests, projects and finals. However, you’ll soon be basking by the pool, sipping lemonade, and your biggest worry will be picking which new restaurant you want to try for girls’ night out. With all the extra time to lounge around, you’ll probably end up watching a few movies here and there.

I won’t deny my love for rom-coms and movies like Mean Girls and Zoolander, but I’ve always felt like I was missing out on the rich and incredibly extensive world of film. This semester I’m taking a class called Development of the Motion Picture (RTF 314). This class has made me fall in love with film. One of the biggest reasons I enjoy this class so much is because of the man that teaches it. Professor Charles Ramirez Berg’s passion and enthusiasm for film is contagious. He’s funny, entertaining and has this weird quirk of colleting every any penny he sees. Sometimes during class lectures, you’ll see him randomly bend down and pick up something and it would be a penny, which he’ll giddily announce to the class.

During class, I would eagerly try to soak up everything because I realized that I knew close to nothing. Besides lectures, the class also holds required film screenings every Tuesday night. The films for this class do a good job of following the course objective, which is to give an introductory understanding of the history of world cinema. In other words, with all the free time that’s headed your way this summer, watch a few of these movies and do a little research. Before you know it, you’ll be on the path to becoming that hipster film buff you’ve always wanted to be.

List of films we watched for class (in the order of our film screenings):

North By Northwest (1959, d. Alfred Hitchcock): Don’t let Cary Grant’s good looks distract you from the famous cornfield and crop-duster plane scene.
Easy Street (1917, d. Charlie Chaplin): Who can resist the charming Charlie Chaplin and his adorable little moustache?
The General (1927, d. Buster Keaton): You’ll be surprised by how entertaining a silent film can be, especially with Buster Keaton’s performance.
M (1931, d. Fritz Lang): Pay attention to Fritz Lang’s clever usage of sound in his first sound film. 
Singin’ In The Rain (1952, d. Gene Kelly & Stanley Donen): Don’t worry, it’s normal to feel the urge to sing and dance after watching this movie.
His Girl Friday (1940, d. Howard Hawks): If you feel like the characters are talking really fast and interrupting each other, you’re correct. His Girl Friday is noted for its rapid-fire dialogue.
The Grapes of Wrath (1939, d. John Ford): You’ll probably want to watch a comedy after this. It’s a bit depressing. 
The Rules Of The Game (1939, d. Jean Renoir): Renoir uses deep focus style filming throughout the movie, so the things happening in the background are important too.
Citizen Kane (1941, d. Orson Welles): Often considered as one of the greatest films ever. The fact that this was Orson Welles’ first movie should blow your mind.
The Bicycle Thieves (1949, d. Vittorio De Sica): You probably want to stay away from this movie if you only like happy endings.
Sunset Boulevard (1950, d. Billy Wilder): Gloria Swanson goes all out in her performance as Norma Desmond.
The 400 Blows (1959, d. Francois Truffaut): Childhood, we’ve all been there. It can be hard. Yes, it’s in French so bear with the subtitles.
The Graduate (1967, d. Mike Nichols): A tale of a young and confused recent college graduate that gets involved with an older lady. Don’t let the year 1967 stop you from watching it. The movie is entertaining, surprisingly fresh and funny. 
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004, d. Michel Gondry): It’s hard for a movie to go wrong with Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, but don’t expect a conventional romance/drama movie.
Run, Lola, Run (1998, d. & sc. Tom Tykwer): Who doesn’t like a fast-paced foreign crime thriller movie?
Bedhead (1990) award-winning short directed by Robert Rodriguez when he was a UT-RTF student.

So put down that chick flick and try one of these films the next time you decide to do a summertime movie night!

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