Last Saturday marked the sixteenth annual Screenagers film festival. This year, the Bay Area’s young filmmakers, accompanied by their friends and families, took shelter from the rain at Berkeley’s Pacific Film Archive to watch the short films of over fifteen youth directors. Many of the community members packed into the museum’s screening theater were Berkeley High School students, there to support the curators of the festival, ten juniors from the Communication Arts and Sciences learning community.
The Monuments Men documents the search and attempts of a small group of American art lovers to protect all of the masterpieces that Adolf Hitler stole from countries that Nazi Germany invaded. George Clooney was obviously very heavily invested in this film, as he not only starred as one of the main characters, but also directed, produced, and co-wrote the screenplay. His efforts did not go to waste, and the product was a balanced and heartfelt account of the brave men’s adventures.
One of my very favorite movies is called Where the Road Meets the Sun. I first saw it at a film festival in San Francisco and got to meet the director, Mun Chee Yong. I bought it for myself a few months later on DVD. There are a lot of reasons why this film has stuck with me throughout the past two and a half years since I first saw it. First of all, the cinematography completely pulls the viewer into the story and makes the the story easier to understand. It is also very aesthetically pleasing.
Restaurants come and go on Shattuck. Sometimes it’s devastating (RIP Sumo Grub) and sometimes we forget to notice. The most recent storefront to leave was held by Casa Bernal and previously Amanda’s Organic Burgers. Both had a fair amount of success and were popular destinations for high school students looking for a quick bite.
It’s that time of year again, when Valentine’s Day rolls around and Berkeley High puts on the much anticipated and completely student-run performance of Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues. BHS has been putting on this internationally famous show for thirteen years, which has also been performed in over 140 countries and translated into 48 languages.
Although most high schoolers have already surpassed the targeted age of children’s movies, some can still be entertaining. Many classics remain interesting today, regardless of the age of the viewer. However, The LEGO Movie is definitely not one of such films. Though it may succeed in entertaining the young and relatively simple-minded audience to which it is targeted, the entire movie is essentially an hour-and-a-half-long advertisement for LEGOs. The writers clearly put little thought into the plot, resulting in a decidedly boring and unoriginal film.
The release of Frozen this past year has reignited allegations against Disney for its narrow portrayal of race and femininity, which, unfortunately, are as founded as ever. With its release of Snow White in 1937, Disney established a trend in their female narratives: women are naïve and obedient, good at cooking and cleaning (Snow White), or conniving, irrational and jealous (the Evil Queen). In the context of the era, it is hardly off-message with other portrayals of gender. One would think, however, that by 2013 Disney would have figured it out.
Perhaps the majority of a film’s beauty lies in its imagery. However, imagine if that imagery was irrevocably removed from your life. In 1983, the writer and theologian John Hull went blind, leaving him with only remote visions of his wife, children, and former life. Notes on Blindness, directed by Peter Middleton and James Spinney, explores his story.
Comedy and the joy that comes with laughter are essential aspects of human nature. Plato is reported to have said that “even the gods love jokes,” and the therapeutic value of laughter has long been recognized. As psychologist William James put it: “We don’t laugh because we’re happy, we are happy because we laugh.” Among the many blessings of the internet age in which we live (along with not needing multi-volume encyclopedias or dictionaries) is the fact that the very best standup comedy is available for watching at a moment’s notice. Here is a look at some of today’s best standup comics.
Can “real” art be done on an iPad? David Hockney thinks yes. His exhibit, David Hockney: A Bigger Exhibition, shown at San Francisco’s De Young Museum, proves that a tablet and your fingertips are all the tools you need to create masterful art, and anything you lose in aesthetic, you can gain back in creative ingenuity.