This 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!