Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Head, Hands, Heart?

Reel One:  The film class got to its first full-length (and beyond!) movie this week with Fritz Lang's Metropolis. I firmly believe that a science fiction class needs to include this one - it's the granddaddy of most science fiction tropes and there's just so much going on there. I'm looking forward to hearing the extended commentary from my first-time viewers.  Silent films can be a real challenge - you have to keep up with the intertitle cards, the acting style tends to be way over the top, and there's the whole notion of "no words," but once you can get past that and allow yourself to be sucked into the story, there's quite a payoff.  Stirring music, whiz-bang effects, sensuality, a decadent society content to batten like ticks off the backs of slave workers, the eventual revolt of those workers, religion vs. technology, women as not-quite-fully-realized characters -- Metropolis has it all!  Metropolis also contains a snazzy epigraph at the beginning that Madonna shamelessly ripped off for "Express Yourself."  Watch and you can't miss it in either work.

Reel Two: Over at the Rewatch, Season Five wraps up.  Glory figures out the secret of the Key and Dawn'll have to bleed for it.  Or will the blood of another Summers do?  Saviors sacrifice and we learn this week that death is Buffy's gift.  And the counter isn't accepting returns.  It's a stunning trio of episodes that lead inevitably to a climax that still makes me tear up a bit.  (Watch Spike.  That's the secret.)  And Giles, as we already know, is not a mild-mannered librarian.  Read Nikki's comments on that part - great stuff!

Coming Soon:  Next week, the Rewatch enters the divided territory of Season Six.  Buffy has died, so has another Slayer been called?  Or did that line end with her earlier death back in Season One?  Either way, who's going to protect Sunnydale from vampires?  Who's going to raise Dawn?  And how much more loss can one group of friends take before someone snaps?  In the film class, we leave Rotwang and his Evil Hand behind in 1920s Germany and explore the "mad scientist" trope further with the American classic Bride of Frankenstein.  For my money, one of those rare films where the sequel surpasses the original.

Also:  I have a stack of books on my desk to "research gut" for my upcoming presentation in October.  It was very nice to take last weekend off and decompress from a variety of writing deadlines (including start of semester madness), but it's back in the saddle this weekend.  What?  You don't know how to "gut" a book?  Let David Lavery teach you!

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