Alternatives to Hollywood, Northwest Film Forum

Hollywood is a place but, more importantly, it is a style and system of filmmaking employed by the majority of American movies that are produced every year. “Hollywood” spans silent films, early sound movies in black and white, the classic color films of the 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s, and films of the past forty years, a 100 year spectrum that includes Bette Davis movies, John Ford westerns, Tom Cruise sci-fi movies and The Incredibles . What the films shaped in this style have in common are witty conceits, bold designs, and stories that almost always demonstrate that decency triumphs, that good people find each other and fall in love, that challenges are overcome, and that lessons are learned -- and all in three neatly resolved acts.

Hollywood films are built to be financial successes first and artistic successes after that, and as such they are often beautiful vehicles of distraction. Films made by auteurs in other parts of the world have less pressure to be large commercial successes and these are the kinds of films we will look at: alternative ways of making inquiries into the culture that have grown up in Paris, Rome, Stockholm, New York, Austin, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Portland: a few examples of cities that have developed distinctive auteur voices.

This class will consider a few different filmmaking styles or “languages,” alternative stories and ways of telling stories, and how outside the Hollywood system filmmakers have explored images, worlds, ideas and concerns that parallel writing, painting and other art movements of the past century. We will look at and discuss films by great filmmakers such as Jean-Luc Godard, Robert Bresson, Ross McElwee, Wong Kar-Wai, Hou Hsiao-Hsien, David Lynch, Terry Zwigoff and Gus Van Sant.

Class 1: Plot & Story
    The Maltese Falcon  (dir. John Huston) 1941
    The Passenger (dir. Michaelangelo Antonioni) 1970

Class 2: Wandering Away
    Pierrot le fou (dir. Jean-Luc Godard) 1965
    Vivre Sa Vie (dir. Jean-Luc Godard) 1962

Class 3: Breton
     Au hazard Balthasar (dir. Robert Bresson) 1966
    Mouchette (dir. Robert Bresson) 1967

Class 4: Time Indefinite
    Time Indefinite (dir. Ross McElwee) 1993
    Crumb (dir. Terry Zwigoff) 1994

Class 5: In the Mood for Love
    In the Mood for Love (dir. Wong Kar-Wai) 2000
    Café Lumiere (Hou Hsiao-Hsien) 2003

Class 6: Crime, Part Deux
    Mulholland Drive (dir. David Lynch) 2001
    Elephant (dir. Gus Van Sant) 2003