This year has passed by so quickly, and what a lot of lovely films we have watched together!  In the last term there is always the issue of too little time, but we managed to enjoy a very special film none-the-less!  Vittorio de Sica’s  1948 film : ” Ladri di biciclette” ( Bicycle thieves), brought tears to our eyes and showed us the hardships of living in the post war city of Rome.  It is hailed one of the greatest films of the neo-realism genre and one of the top films to see before you die.  The learners were able to identify elements of realism with regards to the set, actors and situations portrayed in the film. Once again, as with all good films, social commentary on society could be identified and discussed. You may wonder if films made so long ago can possibly still be relevant today. The reason Bicycle Thieves remains relevant today is because the connection between poverty and crime remains shockingly relevant – as often commented on in our own present-day society.  The film opens up many lanes of debate regarding desperation and the need of a father to provide.  Our hearts were stolen by little Bruno – whose small stature and honourable support of his dad is the thumping heart at the core of Bicycle Thieves.

In news of the future… Film club is proud to be hosting the all-new SWELLIES FILM FESTIVAL WEEK next year in the second term.  This event will be hosted from the 2nd to the 5th of April.  We will be showing one interesting film every night.  It will be an open event, so everyone is welcome to join us in our love of films.  Ticket information and film choices for the event will be made available next year – so keep your eyes open and come and support our initiative.  It is a great way to spend some family time together, since we don’t have our own cinema nearby.

Film club wishes everyone a blessed Christmas season filled with cheer, love, family and the spirit of Christ – the stuff of golden moments for sure!

This was an extremely short term for film club, but we managed to squeeze in a little technical look at films.  Our focus was on the technical development of film and how the advent of blue screen and other computer innovations in film have greatly evolved and changed the face of films forever.  One film enterprise, by director George Lucus, has hugely contributed to this evolution of film technology… you’ve guessed it – Star Wars!  His experimental techniques broke new ground and offered film goers a completely unique experience.  We therefore took a look at what exactly this process entailed then, and how it has evolved and become what it is today.  Our comparison of the first movie: “Star Wars : A New Hope” (1977) and his later film: “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (2017) allowed our newly trained eyes to notice the vast difference that these developments have made.  Some in the film industry hail these developments as the linchpin to many changes and advances that came after : in technology, filming methods, sound effects and costume and set design – we at film club can agree that while George Lucus made some interesting strides in the industry with his first trilogy; there are still so many other great directors and films that have contributed as well – and we can’t wait to discover them all.

The second term Film Club members were confronted with a very difficult but rewarding film.  We watched, iconic director, Ingmar Bergman’s film Det sjunde inseglet (The seventh seal).  This film, which debuted in 1957, is set during the time of the Black Plague and after the Crusades.  It asks existentialist questions about life and death and God.  The film tells of the journey of a medieval knight (Max von Sydow) and a game of chess he plays with the personification of Death (Bengt Ekerot), who has come to take his life. During the film learners were able to identify different perspectives of life and death as portrayed by the other minor characters as well.  The Seventh Seal is considered a classic of world cinema, as well as one of the greatest movies of all time. It established Bergman as a world-renowned director, containing scenes which have become iconic through homages, critical analysis, and parodies.  With this difficult film behind us, we then turned to something more light-hearted and endearing and watched a special film by director Hayao Miyazaki.  The film, Tonari no Totoro  ( My neighbor Totoro), is a beautiful film in which Miyazaki’s unique ability to characterize and animate REAL characters is masterfully portrayed.  Learners thoroughly enjoyed the joy, heartache and magic wrapped up in this important film.

Film critic Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times identified My Neighbor Totoro as one of the “Great Movies”, calling it “one of the lovingly hand-crafted works of Hayao Miyazaki”. In his review, Ebert declared “My Neighbor Totoro is based on experience, situation and exploration – not on conflict and threat”, and described its appeal:

“… it would never have won its worldwide audience just because of its warm heart. It is also rich with human comedy in the way it observes the two remarkably convincing, lifelike little girls…. It is a little sad, a little scary, a little surprising and a little informative, just like life itself. It depends on a situation instead of a plot, and suggests that the wonder of life and the resources of imagination supply all the adventure you need.”

It has been a busy and mind-filled term for our film club kids.  We look forward to seeing what wonderful creations they come up with after the holidays with their own personalized stop-motion project!