Issue: January 2016 - Classic Film

Where are the great Canadian classic films?

If you were asked to name some Canadian classic films, titles like Goin’ Down the Road, Mon oncle Antoine, Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner or even Black Christmas may spring to mind. These are all wonderful films that are worthy of being dubbed classics, but they all share one aspect: they were all made after 1970. Each of those films has something different that keeps them in the popular consciousness, setting them apart from other movies and keeping them in the wildly varying discussion of what a classic film is, but where are the memorable films previous to 1970? Trying...

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When the camera learned to fly: F.W. Murnau and the visual achievement of silent filmmaking

The introduction of sound changed everything in cinema. It drastically altered the manner in which actors performed on screen, making dialogue the focus of their performances instead of physicality. It also reframed the visual grammar of filmmaking. While great silent filmmakers meticulously crafted a method of storytelling that relied purely on imagery, sound allowed filmmakers to be lazy and create visually drab films that relied overly on sound to engage audiences and tell stories. Furthermore, while silent filmmakers like D.W. Griffith had invented most of the tools and techniques of filmmaking — first by manipulating the rhythm of editing...

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Feels like the first time: The timelessness of Some Like It Hot

Many films we rewatch as adults are muddied by the nostalgia of youth. Movies you enjoyed in the late ’80s can age terribly — rewatching these beloved works years later can be disheartening. Some jokes fail the test of time, effects age poorly and what was once edgy can be terribly trite by today’s standards. Then there are movies we rewatch for years that comfort us, bringing us back to simpler times. For some, Pee Wee Herman movies are incessantly rewatchable for this exact reason, as well as some of John Hughes’s efforts. And then there are those that...

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Puttin’ on the ritz: The appealing classicism of the Hollywood musical

No genre stands as a stronger testament to the decadent heights and nostalgic appeal of the Golden Age of Hollywood than the musical. At the time, musicals wowed viewers with opulent sets, glamorous costumes and gorgeous stars belting out show tunes written by the best Broadway writers of the era. In the early ’30s, sound was still a new cinematic tool, fresh and invigorating to audiences that had never expected to hear a movie star speak, let alone sing. Gaining popularity in the midst of the Great Depression, the musical also offered a chance for poorer patrons to experience...

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Editor’s Note: January 2016

The new year has finally arrived and I couldn’t be happier. 2015 was starting to get a little rough and there was at least a few moments where I thought it was going to win, but I pushed through and have finally reached 2016. When January 1 rolls around, there’s always a feeling of starting over circling around you. It feels like you can make the year turn out any way you want it too. Of course, we could all do that at any time of the year, but it seems inescapable at the start of January. For myself,...

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Sympathy for the angels: contemplative biker films

“On a cycle, the frame is gone; you’re completely in contact with it all. You’re in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming. That concrete whizzing by five inches below your foot is the real thing — the same stuff you walk on. It’s right there, so blurred you can’t focus on it, yet you can put your foot down and touch it at any time. And the whole thing, the whole experience, is never removed from immediate consciousness.” — Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance In early July...

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The Soapbox: women ruled the classic film world

Nowadays, the majority of society is more socially conscious and aware of gender inequalities in almost every industry. Film is no different, with clusters of publications and activists devoted solely to furthering the presence of women in film. Stats show that the modern film industry features just 16% behind-the-scenes women, and that’s just white, CIS-gendered females. It’s unlikely many can name any of these women offhand, unless they’re A-list stars. Meanwhile, at the beginning of the motion picture industry, right through to the Golden Age, women’s names regularly popped up in behind-the-scenes roles, as well as in front of...

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