Two Valuable Global Cinema Films*

         In the context of global cinema, there are two films, viewed this semester, that I think are the most important to me. Those films are Federico Fellini’s 8 ½ and Akira Kurosawa’s Rashômon. Both of these films are valuable to me in the context of global cinema because of the impact that they had on me when I viewed them.

         Fellini’s 8 ½ is a film that, no matter how many times I see, is still valuable in its use of thematic dream sequences and its commentary on the life of a film director. Kurosawa’s Rashômon is similarly important because of its narrative structure as well as its amazingly entertaining fight sequences that captivate me to this day.

         All of the elements that are mentioned above are what drives me to make films for a living. If I were not so captivated by these directors, I would be looking for another profession, especially one that pays better! But I have chosen this field, and it is because I feel that viewing and discussing these films is an important task that art lovers and film makers should continue throughout time.

         We should continue to discuss films like 8 ½ and Rashômon because they use new and innovative techniques like a flying man and fake rain that push the envelope of film making and contribute to the underlying discussion of film making. In this way we can put a mirror up to the art form, as well as life itself.

         It seems to me that it is important to consider the achievements of Fellini and Kurosawa because they have asked us questions with their films. In the case of 8 ½ it could be argued that Fellini is asking the question of: “Is there such a thing as director’s block?” The character of Guido is constantly searching for motivation through his exhaustion with married life and creative impotency. He is also distracted by his childhood memories that he is confronting throughout the film.

         Kurosawa, on the other hand, is posing the question of interpretation of information in his film Rashômon, where four characters give contradictory accounts of a rape and a murder, leaving the audience to decide what really happened. Through his brilliant craft of storytelling, Kurosawa is attempting to deconstruct the nature of human memory and interpretation of events that people think they remember. This was a revolutionary device at the time and directors are still picking this film apart in an attempt to recreate the structure that Kurosawa was using.

         It is these types of thought provoking films that allow viewers to watch these films over and over. It could even be argued that provoking someone to watch your film a second time because they were so intrigued by the story is what film making is all about. Sure, it is great to entertain and audience one time, but why not hundreds of times with the same audience? I think this notion should be in the back of any writer's and/or director's mind when they are looking for projects to develop.

         Fellini’s 8 ½ and Kurosawa’s Rashômon are prime examples of amazing cinematic feats on a global level. These gentlemen brought the art of film making home when they produced these triumphs and gave audiences a tangible form of art to cherish for years to come. Without these two films, I do not believe that modern cinema would exist in the way it does today. These two film makers broke down cinematic barriers and challenged the film viewer to accept a different style and/or genre of film making that challenges the conventions of its art form, instead of relying on the same old method of film making.

         These two films call to mind the essence of what global cinema represents to film makers, and I will continue to study them in the field of film making.

Brandon Boyd

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