For someone who loves independent movies, it sure took me a heck of a long time to watch anything directed by John Cassavetes.
Maybe that is because I had heard how emotionally intense his films were, tapping into a vein of real life and forgoing any sense of escapism that most movies offer. Despite that hesitation, I am deeply satisfied that I took the time to watch four great films by this stalwart of early independent film, who took many menial acting jobs so he could make something great.
Shadows, Cassevetes' first film, is a defiant statement against mainstream culture, both in terms of cinema and society. It follows three African American siblings living in New York City, two of whom are trying to pass as white. The film was shot without a script, and its black and white, 16-millimeter film stock lacks the gloss of Hollywood pictures of the same year (North by Northwest or Ben-Hur for example). With its jazz score by Charles Mingus and its focus on urban youth in 1950's, Shadows is a must see for any fans of Beat writers or early independent film.
With the success of the TV series The Walking Dead, zombies are now considered one of the most popular monsters in pop culture. People who just recently became interested in zombie-related works may be surprised to learn how long zombies have existed in the public’s imagination. The following films provide plenty of thrills and chills featuring the undead:
During the summer’s excitement over the massive, new blockbusters, many older and more unusual films are neglected and ignored. These older monster films, though they lack the digital effects and huge budgets of more modern releases, are classics of their genre, with clever performances and intriguing plots. One day this summer, you may feel compelled to take a trip back in time and see some of these legendary movies for yourself.
Come join the England Run Branch of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library for the second film in the Italian Neorealism film series, "The Bicycle Thieves" (1948) directred by Vittoria De Sica on Monday, October 24th at 7pm.
In postwar, poverty-stricken Rome, a man, hoping to support his desperate family with a new job, loses his bicycle, his main means of transportation for work. With his wide-eyed young son in tow, he sets off to track down the thief.
In the provided clip, Academy award winning director Martin Scorsese explains in his documentary "My Voyage to Italy," why "The Bicycle Thieves" was an influential film for him.
Italian with English subtitles.
Come join the England Run Branch of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library for the first film in the Italian Neorealism film series, "Rome, Open City" (1945) directed by Roberto Rossellini at 7pm on Monday, September 26th.
Roberto Rossellini’s revelation, a harrowing drama about the Nazi occupation of Rome and the brave few who struggled against it.
Rossellini's "Rome, Open City" along with other Italian Neorealist films of the 1940s and 1950s had a major impact on Academy Award winning director Martin Scorsese, who talked about their impact on his life in the video clip provided.
Italian with English Subtitles