Madonna is (was, depends on who you ask) at one point considered one of the biggest pop stars in the world, so it came as no surprise when she decided to try her hand at acting. I’m no person to criticize another person’s acting ability (particularly when I have crippling stage fright), but I’m just perplexed about how her films were critical and commercial disasters. If she was one of the biggest pop stars of her time, why didn’t her film career match that same success?
With a Finger in Each Ear, We March Blindly On The Vietnam War, which had begun as a geopolitical chess match in the 1950’s, escalated into a full blown land war in 1965 when President Lyndon Johnson authorised the use of American ground troops to help South Vietnam defeat the Communist North. More than any conflict in the 20th Century, Vietnam segregated America into a civil war of ideals. The burgeoning counterculture rejected and rallied against it, even denouncing the troops themselves.
When Vêra Chytilová sadly passed away in March of last year, cinephiles across the world mourned the loss of a truly passionate and original filmmaker. Chytilová was the dangerous iconoclast of the Czech New Wave. Both the BFI and Second Run DVD decided that the world must know of her work outside of her nihilistic masterpiece Sedmikrasky (Daisies, 1966), and as such the BFI ran a series showing many of her films at their Southbank cinema, and Second Run released two of her films, Pasti, Pasti, Pasticky (Traps, 1998) and Fruit of Paradise (1970), on their excellent DVD line.
Saying you like Ingmar Bergman is like saying you like cinema. His influence and style have become more than an influence, a defining layer in the foundation of cinema. With some directors you can recall a few classic movies, but with filmmakers like Bergman, who has so many definitive credits as a director, his filmography can almost seem too daunting to follow.
In some ways, the cinema is the closest thing we can experience to travelling through time – certainly the closest of any art form. In the dark room of a movie theatre, an audience can be transported to the distant past or spectacular visions of the future, and even in watching films from the 30’s and 40’s we can look at the lives and faces of people who died many years ago. Time travel became popular as a literary device with HG Well’s The Time Machine – published in 1895, the same year that the Lumière Brothers made Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat.
The New Hollywood – The End of an Era By the late 1970’s, the film industry had undergone a renaissance. The New Hollywood movement made it so the directors were the “auteurs” of their films, and artistic freedom reigned over modern movies. Unfortunately, all great things must come to an end, and the demise of The New Hollywood movement was on the horizon.