This week we screen A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, the classic spaghetti western by Sergio Leone.
Cast: Clint Eastwood
Gian Maria Volonte
Writers:Victor Andre Catena
Genre:Spaghetti Western / Action
Countries / Languages: Italy, Spain, West Germany /English, Spanish, Italian
This film was identified as an unlicensed remake of the Akira Kurosawa filmYojimbowhich was released 3 years earlier. Leone says Yojimbo was an inspiration, along with other classic Hollywood westerns and Servant of Two Masters, an Italian play by Carlo Goldoni in 1746.
Like most Spaghetti Westerns, this film was a lot more violent than American westerns due to Europe’s lack of censorship codes such as were around in Hollywood.
Though made on a low budget, Leone ushered in a then-groundbreaking filmmaking style, emphasising long, tense close-ups, widescreen camera compositions, and hauntingly unusual music by his old schoolmate, Ennio Morricone. Leone’s films have been likened to action based operas, and his style was much imitated.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:
American audiences were shocked by this film on its release in 1967. Why do you think Eastwood’s character caused such a ruckus in the 1960s? Is the Man With No Name truly “amoral,” as many commentators have called him? What are his motives?
Can you see the influence of this film’s style on today’s action movies? Think of modern directors like Quentin Tarantino, John Woo and Martin Scorsese…
Early Harvest is a yearly literary journal produced by an editorial board of upper-primary students from Melbourne’s west. It’s created during an after school program facilitated by 100 Story Building which is designed to give young writers and illustrators a platform to share their voice, and to give them confidence in their own creative output. This year they need help collecting the funds to publish the new magazine and have started a crowd-funding campaign on Pozible.
Three of FCC’s talented year 7 students, Ilan, Halima and Greta, were editors of the magazine last year and were asked to help Lachlann and the team create the video below to promote the campaign and newest edition of Early Harvest. So why not pre-order a copy via the Pozible site and help support the young writers in this fantastic program?!
This Wednesday we screen Alfred Hitchcock’s classic voyeuristic thriller, Rear Window. You won’t believe your eyes….
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Cast: James Stewart
Writer: John Michael Hayes
Genre: Thriller / Mystery
Duration: 112 min
Country / Language: USA / English
The whole film was shot on one huge set, which took months of planning and construction. The apartment-courtyard set consisted of 31 apartments, eight of which were completely furnished and had power and water connected. To fit this enormous set in the studio, a higher ceiling was needed. Hitchcock had the entire floor of the studio torn out, revealing the basement. What you see as the courtyard in the film was originally the basement level of the studio.
A critical and commercial success this film influenced many others like Brian DePalma’s Body Double, Richard Franklin’s Road Games and more recently, Disturbia, directed by D.J. Caruso. It has also been parodied many times including by The Simpsons and Saturday Night Live.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:
Take careful note of the opening scene. How does it set up our expectations of what will happen in the film? How does it introduce the characters? The closing scene is a replica of the opening but with a few changes. Were your expectations met?
Consider the use of perspective and point-of-view in this film? Notice that many of the shots are taken from Jefferies’ POV. How does this affect the tension in the film? Consider what Jefferies knows as opposed to what the audience knows…
This Wednesday 5th August, we’ll be transported to an Australia prior to white settlement and even further still into the Dreamtime when we screen the film Ten Canoes…
Directors: Rolf de Heer
Cast: Jamie Gulpilil
Narrator: David Gulpilil
Writer: Rolf de Heer
Genre: Drama / Adventure / Comedy
Duration: 92 min
Colour: Black & White / Colour
Country/Language: Australia / various Yolŋu Matha languages, English
A lot of the shots in this film were inspired by or are recreations of photographs taken in the 1930s by Donald Thomson, an anthropology professor who spent nearly two years with the Arafura Swamp people. He took more than 4,000 photographs during this time, carefully recording every aspect of daily life. One of these photographs—a picture of ten men in bark canoes—became the key image around which the film’s story was developed.
This was the first ever major Australian feature film completely filmed in an Indigenous Aboriginal language. Only the voice over of the storyteller is in English.
The canoes used in the shooting of the film were made using traditional techniques under instruction from tribal elders.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:
This film uses layered narrative – there’s a story within the story and multiple objective and subjective viewpoints. What techniques do the filmmakers use to successfully achieve this?
The stories in the film are from a long ago time and from very different cultures to our own. What cultural elements do we share with the people in the film? What is different?
Last term we ran a BOOK REVIEW COMPETITION and we received many fantastic entries from across all year levels. As promised we have selected the best six reviews (and one Encouragement Award) and the students who wrote them were all awarded with a certificate and their choice of a brand new book from a selection in the library! All of the suitable reviews (including the winners) will live on forever in our library’s catalogue in the entry for that book.
And the winners are:
Millie Beswick-Wright – Year 7 for her review of The Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
Abbie Liptrot – Year 8 for her review of All I Know Now by Carrie Hope Fletcher
Lily Veal – Year 8 for her review of A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
Makita Stendt – Year 9 for her review of Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson
Maddison Lewis – Year 10 for her review of Revived by Cat Patrick
Ethan Waters – Year 12 for his review of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Encouragement Award goes to Nicholas Duong – Year 7 for his review of Run by Tim Sinclair
A big THANK-YOU to all students who entered, they were all great entries! Remember, the library is always happy to accept book reviews, just follow the SUBMIT BOOK REVIEWS link on the left of this page.
You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter. If you ‘like/follow’ us you can keep up with all the library news as it happens!
This afternoon we screen the 1975 Oscar winning Dog Day Afternoon.
Directors: Sidney Lumet
Cast: Al Pacino
Written By: Frank Pierson
Genre: Crime / Drama / Comedy
Duration: 120 min
Country/Language: USA / English
The film received positive reviews and was nominated for multiple Golden Globes and Academy Awards. It won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
It was based on real life events. In August 1972 John Wojtowicz and Sal Naturale attempted to rob a Brooklyn bank and held the staff hostage for 14 hours. Though based on real events and people, John Wojtowicz claims that only about 30% of the events really happened the way the film portrays. He wrote this letter to the New York Times to tell his side of the story. His article was not published in the newspaper.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:
Do you think the filmmakers succeed in making you believe this really happened? Do you feel as though it’s happening as you watch? What techniques do they use to achieve this?
Why do you think the public were supportive of Sonny and Sal and not the police in the movie? Why were they cheering for bank robbers?
Do you think Sonny’s motivation for wanting money justified him robbing the bank and holding people hostage? Was it worth it in the end?
This week in CiNECiTY we watch Charlie Chaplin’s last ever silent film and one of his most famous pieces of work, Modern Times.
Director: Charlie Chaplin
Cast: Charlie Chaplin
Written By: Charlie Chaplin
Genre: Comedy / Drama
Duration: 86 min
Colour: Black & White
Country/Language: USA / English
This film was made after the introduction of synchronised sound to feature length films (1927’s The Jazz Singer was the first full-length sound film). Chaplin was originally going to use dialogue, he even wrote a script for the words, but after some experimenting he reverted to the silent format and just used the synched sound for effects. It was his last silent film, he eventually joined the status quo and all the films he made after this were “talkies”.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:
Why do you think the factory worker wanted to go back to jail? Why didn’t the lady want to go to jail? Did Chaplin want you to think that prison was like the factory, or perhaps even better? How can you tell?
Modern Times was made and set during the Great Depression. Do you think Chaplin was concerned about the modern, industrial world having a dehumanising effect on people? Why? Do you think these concerns are still relevant today or have we succeeded in using technology positively?
Refugee Week began last Sunday and this year The Refugee Council of Australia has chosen this line from our national anthem as the theme:
“With courage let us all combine”
This is a celebration of the incredible courage of refugees and also of those who stand up against injustice and oppression. It also “serves as a call for unity and for positive action, encouraging Australians to improve our nation’s welcome for refugees and to acknowledge the skills and energy refugees bring to their new home.”
Sara Farizan, Will Kostakis and Amie Kaufman; three of the amazing and diverse writers who spoke at the 2015 Reading Matters Conference
Some of our library staff recently attended a two day conference called Reading Matters, run by the State Library’s Centre for Youth Literature. There, we heard some amazing discussions involving a host of Australian and international authors and illustrators of young adult (or YA) literature.
One of the overarching themes of the conference was the importance of the existence of a wide variety of texts with diverse characters, each telling stories from as many different perspectives as possible. The authors who spoke of this need were themselves from very diverse walks of life, who felt the need to write the kinds of stories that they were never exposed to when they were young because YA books were predominantly written with very western, straight and conservative characters at the fore.
Readers need to identify with the characters in a book and believe that they are real; therefore books need to reflect the diversity of people in the real world. Thankfully, these days, the YA market is full of amazing and diverse stories featuring characters with many different genders, races, religions, sexualities, abilities, dreams, needs, flaws, illnesses… the list goes on and on! And this is exactly the point! Diversity is a fact of life and the stories we share should reflect that diversity or we are doing our young adults a disservice.
People learn through experience and reading is the sharing of experience. Books have the power to shape, change and even save lives, as the authors we heard speak will attest. A teenager who may not know how to deal with certain issues can safely share the experiences of the characters in a novel and thus become enlightened about how best to conduct themselves. They will learn about the consequences of certain actions. They will see other people’s points of view. It may help them comfort or support their friends or families. It may indeed change or save their life.
FCC Library endeavours to reflect the wonderful diversity of our own school community through the selection of our collection. We have novels, comics, picture books, biographies, non-fiction and short story collections which we feel have as much diversity of content and characters as is available in YA books today. Our staff love to help students select books so come and speak to us if you need anything specific or if you just want to chat about books.