Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Blogs Pt. 2: Cultural education

To get a more complete feeling for Senses of Cinema, I had to go back and look at some of their previous issues. Much of what I found throughout the recent issues of the journal was education on film and not in the same fashion as a lot of high-end film criticism. Senses of Cinema isn’t only about educating the educated on films they’ve already seen, it’s also concerned with exposing its readers to things they normally wouldn’t.

An article that popped out at me from a previous issue was one called Slavic Cinema of the 1970’s Revisited by Paul Hourigan. It didn’t catch my attention because I enjoy Slavic Cinema or because I am familiar with the author; Slavic Cinema is completely esoteric to me. I enjoy films from the 70’s, but (before reading this article) I was part of the ignorant majority on the country. Was it a country? Is it a country? Do they even have a film industry? What the article explained to me was that Slovakia is an independent nation and that it has had a hard time expressing its cultural identity in film. The Shop on Main Street is a film that Slovaks consider to be representative of their culture and even though it truly is a Slavic film, it won Best Foreign Film at the Oscars as a Czech film.

In the second part of his article, Hourigan unearths and describes a great number of unknown Slavic films from the 70’s, educating the reader not only on their existence, but on their relationship with the illusive Slavic culture. A quick note at the end of the article informs us that the films mentioned were supplied by the Slavic Film Institute and that they can be perused and bought at their online site. This brings to mind the importance of the DVD and how many great unknown films would be lost to time without it. Through their use the Slavic Film Institute was able to greatly prolong the preservation of cultural artifacts in these films as well as expose others to their culture through distribution of them.

1 comment:

Carl Bogner said...

Again - I read this one second - a good report on the article, though I have some questions: does Hourigan specify any qualities of the films of the 1970's or does he just relate them to some standard of Slovakian culture? Also, if he offered characteristics of this cinema, it does it compare to the 1970's cinema that you know and love? Can we speak to a global trend, or similarities? Or does each nation develop cinematically on its own path? What do you even think of study of national cinema?

(Have you seen any Slovakian films? Do you know Milos Forman's films, for example?)

Again, these questions may or not be answered in the article. I offer them as prompts/directions for you to carry your thinking further. Again, as with your other post, this is a good, engaged report. Your investment is clear. I'd just like to hear more of your thinking, ideas around the topic you encountered.