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JUMP CUT Must-see Foreign Films

Film Throughout the Decades: Thrillers

Overused: Bad Guy cliches

Education: American Film Institute

Mental Illness in film

Volume 1, Issue no. 1 December 12, 2013


Letter from the Editor

Jump Cut is a film magazine that features information about films from all genres and decades, as well as current. Jump Cut is intended for film lovers that do not only have an interest in movies that are currently being released, but also films from the past – either recent or decades old - and trivia. Jump Cut is unlike the usual movie magazine that focuses on upcoming movies and current big name celebrities and their weekly scandals. There are not many film magazines that stray away from this basic concept. Jump Cut however does, by resurrecting long forgotten movies, or excellent movies that never received a lot of publicity or became a big box office hit. The magazine does not remain in America either, as it has a section reserved for foreign film. The five main sections that will appear in every issue of the magazine are Must-See Foreign Films, Film Throughout the Decades, Mental Illness in Film, Education, and, lastly, and Overused. Previously mentioned, ‘Must- See Foreign Films’ highlights films from other countries that are beautiful, captivating, and artistic. ‘Mental Illness in Film’ focuses on characters in movies that are mentally ill and are often pivotal in the movie. It will also point out the unlikely hood of a mentally ill person acting a certain way, or the quick recovery of a character that, in reality, would either take decades or never be cured. In the section ‘Film Throughout the Decades’, one film is chosen from each decade, most commonly from the 1920’s to present day, based on a genre or a theme. Each film is rated and given a review. ‘Education features a review and information of a film school, including its alumni and whether or not they had any success in their career. ‘Overused’ is a section in the magazine that uncovers clichés, music, plots, endings etc, that have been used repeatedly in movies that make them predictable and sometimes even boring. I invite you to peruse this magazine, where you will learn of movies that you have never heard of, intriguing trivia, and read honest reviews that will make you give a movie, once ignored by the box office, a chance.

Sincerly, Taylor Friedhof, Editor


JUMP CUT

Volume 1, Issue no. 1 JumpCut.com

03 Film Throughout the Decades: Thrillers 09 Must-see Foreign Films

13 Education: American Film Institute 17 Mental Illness in Film

25 Overused: Bad Guy cliches Reoccurring characteristics of bad guys that need to end.


Blackmail (1929)

Film Throughout the Decades: Thrillers

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Film Throughout the Decades: Thrillers


1920’s Blackmail (1929) Blackmail is a 1929 British thriller drama film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Anny Ondra, John Longden, and Cyril Ritchard. Based on the play Blackmail by Charles Bennett, the film is about a London woman who kills a man when he tries to rape her. After starting production as a silent film, British International Pictures decided to convert Blackmail into a sound film during filming. A silent version was released for theaters not equipped for sound (at 6740 feet), with the sound version (7136 feet) released at the same time. The silent version still exists in the British Film Institute collection.

1930’s M (1931) M is a 1931 German drama-thriller film directed by Fritz Lang and starring Peter Lorre. It was written by Lang and his wife Thea von Harbou and was Lang’s first sound film. He had directed more than a dozen films previously. The film has become a classic which Lang himself considered his finest work.

1940’s Gaslight (1944) Gaslight is a 1944 mystery-thriller film adapted from Patrick Hamilton’s play, Gas Light, performed as Angel Street on Broadway in 1941. It was the second version to be filmed; the first, released in the United Kingdom, had been made a mere four years earlier. This 1944 version of the story was directed by George Cukor and starred Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, Joseph Cotten, and 18-year-old Angela Lansbury in her screen debut. It had a larger scale and budget than the earlier film, and lends a different feel to the material.

Gaslight (1944) Film Throughout the Decades: Thrillers

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Night of the Hunter (1955) The Night of the Hunter is a 1955 American thriller film directed by Charles Laughtonand starring Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters and Lillian Gish. The film is based on the 1953 novel of the same name by Davis Grubb, adapted for the screen by James Ageeand Laughton. Its plot focuses on a corrupt reverend-turned-serial killer who uses his charms to woo an unsuspecting widow and her two children in an attempt to steal a fortune hidden by the woman’s dead husband. The novel and film draw on the true story of Harry Powers, hanged in 1932 for the murders of two widows and three children in Clarksburg, West Virginia.

Wait Until Dark (1967) Wait Until Dark (1967) is a suspense-thriller film directed by Terence Young and produced by Mel Ferrer. It stars Audrey Hepburn as a young blind woman, Alan Arkin as a violent criminal searching for some drugs, and Richard Crenna as another criminal, supported by Jack Weston, Julie Herrod, and Efrem Zimbalist Jr.. The screenplay by Robert Carrington and Jane-Howard Carrington is based on the stage play of the same name by Frederick Knott. Hepburn was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress (losing to Katharine Hepburn), and Zimbalist was nominated for a Golden Globe in the supporting category. The film is ranked #55 on AFI’s 2001 100 Years…100 Thrills list, and its climax is ranked tenth on Bravo’s 100 Scariest Movie Moments.


Taxi Driver (1976)

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Taxi Driver is a 1976 American vigilante film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Paul Schrader. The film is set in New York City, soon after the end of the Vietnam War. The film stars Robert De Niro and features Jodie Foster, Harvey Keitel, Cybill Shepherd, and Albert Brooks in his film debut. It is regularly cited by critics, film directors and audiences alike as one of the greatest films of all time. Nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, it won the Palme d’Or at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival. The American Film Institute ranked Taxi Driver as the 52nd greatest American film on their AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) list. In 2012, Sight & Sound named it the 31st best film ever created on its decadal critics’ poll, ranked with The Godfather Part II, and the 5th greatest film ever on its directors’ poll. The film was considered “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant by the US Library of Congress and was selected to be preserved in the National Film Registry in 1994.

Blow Out (1981) Blow Out is a 1981 thriller film, written and directed by Brian De Palma. The film stars John Travolta as Jack Terry, a moviesound effects technician from Philadelphia who, while recording sounds for a lowbudget slasher film, serendipitously captures audio evidence of an assassination involving a presidential hopeful. Nancy Allen stars as Sally Bedina, the young woman Jack rescues during the crime. The supporting cast includes John Lithgow and Dennis Franz.

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Se7en (1995)

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Seven (sometimes stylized as Se7en) is a 1995 American thriller film written by Andrew Kevin Walker, directed by David Fincher, and distributed by New Line Cinema. It stars Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, with Gwyneth Paltrow, R. Lee Ermey, andKevin Spacey in supporting roles. The newly transferred David Mills (Pitt) and the soon-to-retire William Somerset (Freeman) are homicide detectives who become deeply involved in the case of a sadistic serial killer whose meticulously planned murders correspond to the seven deadly sins: gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, pride, lust, and envy. The film was released in the United States on September 22, 1995. Grossing $327 million at the box office internationally,Seven was a commercial success, and received positive reviews from most critics.


Insomnia (2002) “Insomnia,” the first film directed by Christopher Nolan since his famous “Memento” (2001), is a remake of a Norwegian film of the same name, made in 1998 by Erik Skjoldbjaerg. That was a strong, atmospheric, dread-heavy film, and so is this one. Unlike most remakes, the Nolan “Insomnia” is not a pale retread, but a reexamination of the material, like a new production of a good play. Stellan Skarsgard, who starred in the earlier film, took an existential approach to the character; he seemed weighed down by the moral morass he was trapped in. Pacino takes a more physical approach: How much longer can he carry this burden? The story involves an unexpected development a third of the way through, and then the introduction of a character we do not really expect to meet, not like this. The development is the same in both movies; the character is much more important in this new version.

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Must-See Foreign Films The Seventh Seal (1957) The Seventh Seal (Swedish: Det sjunde inseglet) is a 1957 Swedish drama-fantasy film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. Set in Sweden during the Black Death, it tells of the journey of a medieval knight (Max von Sydow) and a game of chess he plays with the personification of Death (Bengt Ekerot), who has come to take his life. Bergman developed the film from his own play Wood Painting. The title refers to a passage from the Book of Revelation, used both at the very start of the film, and again towards the end, beginning with the words “And when the Lamb had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour”.[Rev. 8:1] Here the motif of silence refers to the “silence of God” which is a major theme of the film.

Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983) Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (Japanese: Senjō no Merī Kurisumasu “Merry Christmas on the Battlefield”), also known in many European editions as Furyo (Japanese for “prisoner of war”) is a 1983 Japanese film directed by Nagisa Oshima, produced by Jeremy Thomas and starring David Bowie, Tom Conti, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Takeshi Kitano. It was written by Oshima and Paul Mayersberg and based on Laurens van der Post’s experiences during World War II as a prisoner of war as depicted in his works The Seed and the Sower (1963) and The Night of the New Moon (1970). Sakamoto also wrote the score and the vocal theme “Forbidden Colours,” featuring David Sylvian, which was a hit single in many territories. The film was entered into the 1983 Cannes Film Festival in competition for the Palme d’Or. Sakamoto’s score also won the film a BAFTA Award for Best Film Music.

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Must-See Foreign Films


Raise the Red Lantern (1991) The phenomenal success and international acclaim of Raise the Red Lantern, cemented Zhang Yimou’s status as a leading figure in world cinema and reaffirmed the vibrancy of Chinese cinema. Though the film was the topic of great political controversy in China upon its release, it received armfuls of awards from Belgium, Italy, the United Kingdom and a nomination for an Academy Award. This sumptuously photographed drama, set in Northern China in the 1920s and based on the novel Wives and Concubines by Su Tong, stars Gong Li as Songlian, the fourth wife of an elderly landlord. Songlian is a college student who has been married off by her stepmother, so it is with tremendous frustration that this woman, who had hopes of using her education to broaden her horizons, now finds herself reduced to a small enclosure at the beck and call of her husband. Despite being given a maid (Kong Lin) and luxurious surroundings, she feels trapped inside the cheerless walls.

Upon her arrival, Songlian realizes that she must keep one step ahead of her rivals, the three other wives. She also learns of her husband’s tradition of lighting a lantern outside of the house of the wife with whom he intends to spend the night. During the first night together with her husband, she finds he is called away to tend to his spoiled third wife (He Caifei). Songlian then becomes acquainted with his other wives -- his first wife (Jin Shuyuan), an elderly woman who ignores Songlian; the third wife, an exopera singer; and the second wife (Cao Cuifeng), who offers Songlian friendship and helpful advice. But it turns out that the second wife’s motives are not exactly innocent--she is conspiring with Songlian’s maid to undermine both the third wife and Songlian. Raise the Red Lantern is a moving exploration of power in a suffocating world of ossified tradition and naked ambition-a masterpiece of 1990s world cinema.

Must-See Foreign Films

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Fat Girl (2001)

The Lives of Others (2006)

Young love is idealized as sweet romance, but early sexual experiences are often painful and clumsy and based on lies. It is not merely that a boy will tell a girl almost anything to get her into bed, but that a girl will pretend to believe almost anything, because she is curious, too. “Fat Girl” is the brutally truthful story of the first sexual experiences of a 15-yearold sexpot and her pudgy 12-year-old sister. The movie was written and directed by Catherine Breillat, a French woman who is fascinated by the physical and psychological details of sex. The film has a shocking ending, which Breillat builds to with shots that are photographed and edited to create a sense of menace. This ending leaves the audience stunned, and some will be angered by it. But consider how it works in step with what went before, and with the drift of Breillat’s work.

The Lives of Others (German: Das Leben der Anderen) is a 2006 German drama film, marking the feature film debut of filmmaker Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, about the monitoring of East Berlin by agents of the Stasi, the GDR’s secret police. It stars Ulrich Mühe as Stasi Captain Gerd Wiesler, Ulrich Tukur as his boss Anton Grubitz, Sebastian Koch as the playwright Georg Dreyman, and Martina Gedeck as Dreyman’s lover, a prominent actress named Christa-Maria Sieland. Released 17 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall marking the end of the East German socialist state, it was the first noticeable drama film about the subject after a series of comedies such as Goodbye, Lenin! and Sonnenallee. This approach was widely applauded in Germany, though some raised doubts that a real Stasi officer might ever have undergone the transformation of the film’s main character towards a person caring for the fate of potential dissidents, and even protecting them. Many former East Germans were stunned by the factual accuracy of the film’s set and atmosphere, resembling a state which had molten withWest Germany and subsequently vanished 16 years prior to the release.

Must-See Foreign Films


Fat Girl (2001)

The Lives of Others (2006)

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Education The American Film Institute

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Education


AFI is America’s promise to preserve the history of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. AFI provides leadership in film, television and digital media and is dedicated to initiatives that engage the past, the present and the future of the moving image arts. As a non-profit educational and cultural organization open to the public, AFI relies on the generous financial support from moving arts enthusiasts like you to provide funding for its programs and initiatives. Among the most selective film schools in America, AFI’s Center for Advanced Film and Television Studies in Los Angeles offers a two-year conservatory program where students specialize in fields including directing, producing and writing, often coming to the institute after working in the industry

or having attended other schools. Its “fellows” are typically more mature (average age is 27) and benefit from speakers and teachers drawn from the highest levels of the industry, supported by the full weight of AFI itself. Comparing it to crosstown rivals UCLA and USC is a bit of apples-and-oranges, given its small size and emphasis on specialization, but AFI’s glittering parade of alumni, from David Lynch to Darren Aronofsky, remains unrivaled when it comes to auteur filmmakers.

Students are guaranteed the freedom to make a thesis film and are given access to SAG members for their casts and $13,500 in financing. If you know where you’re going, AFI can get you there. TUITION $38,416 for first year; $37,112 for second year (plus $8,033 for thesis) DEGREES MFA, certificate of completion NOTABLE ALUMNI Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life), David Lynch (Blue Velvet, Erasure Head), Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan) “I love AFI and would be nowhere without it.” -- David Lynch

Education

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“I love AFI and would be nowhere without it.” -- David Lynch

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Education


Three-Week Training Workshop: Fulltime classes and instruction. Some evenings and weekends may be required. Pre-Production: Approximately five weeks from the end of the training workshop session until the first production begins shooting. Production: AFI provides lighting, grip and camera equipment that can be used for a five-day shoot (permission to use a nonAFI digital camera is possible through a formal request). Equipment pick-up and drop-off times are specified. Participants are responsible for damaged and missing equipment. AFI provides limited insurance and requires shooting/location permits, compliance with AFI’s SAG Deferred Agreement and other production paperwork. Post-Production: Participants are required to find editors for their projects. Projects must lock picture within the assigned 30 days, regardless of whether editing takes place on or off campus. On-campus editing facilities are available during specified hours.

The Directing Workshop for Women (DWW) at the American Film Institute is a hands-on film training program committed to educating and mentoring participants in an effort to increase the number of women working professionally in screen directing. The DWW offers participants intensive training in narrative filmmaking in an innovative program. Each participant is required to complete a short film by the end of the program. DWW is open to women with three years of professional experience in the arts. The program is tuition-free though participants are responsible for raising funds for their projects. At the time of the DWW’s launch in 1974, women made up less than 10% of working directors. Over 275 women have taken part in the DWW since the program was launched and 25% have gone on to direct professionally, many of whom have won awards in directing from the Director’s Guild of America, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Among the DWW’s alumnae are Maya Angelou, Anne Bancroft, Ellen Burstyn and Lesli Linka Glatter.

Education

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Mental Illness in Film

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Mental Illness in Film


Media has long been fascinated with mental illness. It has been depicted in almost every genre of film from horror (Shutter Island) to romantic comedy (50 First Dates). Sometimes these depictions are good and sometimes they are more than a little problematic. And we as an audience are so fascinated with mental illness. You can see it in reality television, the news, and of course film. These films often sensationalize what it means to have mental illness, even in cases where the films are based on true stories. They should not be viewed as accurate portrayals of mental illness. Nevertheless, we are going to explore what these films depict and how well they do it.

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

Generally deemed one of the finest American movies ever made, one could perhaps argue the extent to which “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” is actually about mental illness. Unlike most of the films on this list, Jack Nicholson’s Randal P. McMurphy isn’t overtly mentally ill; he’s nominally the one sane man surrounded by a group of lunatics, pretending to be crazy only in order to get away from prison, where he’s serving out a statutory rape charge (try getting away with that little bit of backstory in a studio release these days...). But as McMurphy becomes a leader to the inmates, and embroiled in a feud with head Nurse Ratched, director Milos Forman is careful to show the more unstable side of his hero too, although generally falls down on the side that it’s not so much the inmates who are crazy, it’s society, man.

It’s easy to mock the anti-conformism message of the movie, and its take on some of the inmates, some of whom are used more for comic relief than anything else, can be unenlightened. But it’s important to note the context. Czech director Forman fled his homeland in 1968 after the Soviet invasion, and McMurphy’s time with the inmates, at once fiercely individualistic and highly democratic, is something of a celebration of American virtues, and a warning not to let those values be subdued or suppressed by society. And of course, Forman’s case is helped by one of Jack Nicholson’s finest performances, along with extraordinary support from Louise Fletcher, Brad Dourif, Will Sampson, William Redfield, Christopher Lloyd, Danny DeVito  and more.

Mental Illness in Film

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A Woman Under the Influence (1974)


It’s not entirely surprising, when one watches “A Woman Under The Influence,” to learn that it started life as a stage play, written by John Cassavetes for his wife Gena Rowlands, who wanted a role that reflected the life of the modern woman. When she read it, Rowlands allegedly realized that the part would simply be too tasking to perform eight times a week, and so Cassavetes decided to immortalize it on film instead. And thank god he did, because otherwise one of the most extraordinary turns in the history of the medium would have been lost. Funded and distributed by the director himself, the film doesn’t attempt to do much more than depict the marriage between blue collar Nick (Peter Falk) and his wife Mabel (Rowlands), a loving mother who, consensus begins to develop, may have some mental problems. Cassavetes is at the peak of his game as a filmmaker, claustrophobically depicting the ever-busy, tiny family home of Mabel and Nick. But really, it’s the actors’ show, and Rowlands is titanic -- flighty, vivacious and heartbreaking as her personality collapses into genuine mental anguish. She verges on being over-the-top and melodramatic in places, but there isn’t a gesture or expression that feels anything other than truthful. Falk, while less showy, is certainly her match, exasperated, loving, oppressive, and subtly indicating that Mabel might not be the only one in the marriage “under the influence.”

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Mental Illness in Film


An Angel At My Table (1990)

While, Jane Campion’s 1989’s debut “Sweetie” brought her to international attention and acclaim, further applause  came with the following year’s “An Angel At My Table.”   A harrowing and yet beautiful biographical and psychological portrayal of the New Zealand poet Janet Frame, the drama, chaptered into thirds, chronicles her povertystricken childhood leading up to a misdiagnosis of schizophrenia which lands her in a mental institution for eight electroshock treatments, and then her tentative steps towards something resembling a normal life. While three actresses play Frame at different stages of her life, the picture is anchored by a tremendous performance from underrated Australian character actress Kerry Fox (who was also in Danny Boyle’s debut “Shallow Grave”) as the adult version of Frame. The film won several prizes at the Venice Film Festival   that year, including the Grand Special Jury Prize, and tells its story with great intensity, and yet also with calm, intimate human detail that’s compassionate, but never mawkish. Originally produced as a television miniseries, and running nearly three hours, while it can be trying for some audiences, it’s an absorbing portrait worth enveloping yourself in.

Mental Illness in Film

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Overused: Bad Guy Cliches

The Joker as seen in the Killing Joke (1988) graphic novel

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Bad Guy Cliches


The Evil Laugh

After the villain has cooked up some nefarious plot, the tactic of cueing up the evil laugh track ensues. It’s creepy, sure, but is also used a lot. Villains who have used it: The Joker, Cruella de Vil, Dr. Evil, and just about everyone who’s got crazy eyes. Why it should be retired: I’d like to see a villain celebrate in a way that isn’t laughter—like, a bottle of wine, for example.

Bad Guy Cliches

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The Foreign Bad Guy

Alan Rickman in Die Hard (1988)

Hollywood is being really on the nose about that whole idea of not trusting foreigners thing. Villains who have used it: The Sheriff in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, Tai Lung in Kung Fu Panda, and Dr. Elsa Schneider in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Why it should be retired: It’s not that a bad guy can’t have an accent, but if I’ve learned anything from watching Homeland, it’s that some of the scariest bad guys are the ones living RIGHT NEXT DOOR. (They also have American accents.)

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Bad Guy Cliches


Is He Dead Yet? Even though you’ve just watched the bad guy die, chances are that within 30 seconds they’ll be back and ready for more killing.Villains who have used it: Pretty much any franchise film— think Friday the 13th or Scream—where the villain MUST return to keep the series going. Why it should be retired: Even though it can entertaining, at some point the audience will become tired of the villain constantly popping back up from the grave and wish that he would die just so the good guy can win and the movie or long-running franchise can be over with.

Samara, the antagonist in the The Ring (2002) and the Ring 2 (2005).

Henchmen with Terrible Aim The bad guy isn’t just bad, he’s also got a bunch of willing cohorts to help with his devious plans. Villains who have used it: Patrick has a whole cult in Martha Marcy May Marlene, and in The Matrix Agent Smith is the leader of a gaggle of other Secret Service agents. Plus, who can forget Gaston, and his band of torchwielding villagers?! Why it should be retired: The henchmen are always awful at their jobs. And if the hero’s ultimate triumph is going to mean anything, maybe the villain shouldn’t be able to dispatch an army of faceless bad guys who have terrible aim?

Bad Guy Cliches

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