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The Farewell Party

High drama and lowbrow, morbid humor get stitched together in this successful tragicomedy about terminal patients and assisted suicide. Works better than expected.

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Sunshine Superman

I found Jean Boenish’s philosophical musings less than persuasive. And I don’t think my fear of heights was the reason for my bias.

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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Spare us from screenwriting teachers

From Jordan Gray, Hays, KS:

I, like many (I'd always assumed), enjoy all the different varieties of film. I love B&W, DIY digital, documentary, you name it. So I was troubled and perplexed when I attended a screenwriting workshop just for kicks this weekend, and found myself being lectured on what "type" of film makes the best screenplay. As if only one style would be worth writing.

He went on to say that the best screenplays follow the simple A to B to C structure, and have definite good guys and bad guys. Then followed with a list of movie types that make especially "bad" screenplays, because they are "boring" (a word I find subjective anyway). Among this list, the most startling to me for some reason was the inclusion of silent films.

Sure, they don't get made often these days (if at all), but to label them boring seems downright foolish and more than a little bizarre from someone who professed to have an MFA from UCLA in screenwriting (as this speaker did). "The Gold Rush," tedious? "The Passion of Joan of Arc" is hardly boring. Yet, I looked around and found the entire room nodding in agreement, as if they'd been hypnotized. I'd like to think at 25 I'm not just an old soul. Are there still those out there who consider this a valid movement in film, and would even welcome it's return? I almost asked to see his diploma.

RE: You and every other member if the class are owed a refund. It was obviously taught by a man who needs to attend a lot of film classes.

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