American Club and Classic Movies
The Department of English Studies in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Estonia and Education USA invites everyone interested to monthly movie screenings of Classic American movies. Although American movies fill our movie theaters and TV screens, few people see the classic American movies that are internationally recognized as gems of world cinema. We are showing movies of significant directors, but not necessarily in a chronological order. Instead, the selection attempts to show movies from different genres and periods. The key unifying traits are the artistic quality and contemporary resonances of the movies. We also attempt to provide a space for discussion and questions they evoke.
Easy Rider (1969)
28 May at 18:15, Jakobi 2-129
Easy Rider was released in 1969 and citics have praised the performances, directing, writing, soundtrack, visuals, and atmosphere. A landmark counterculture film, and a "touchstone for a generation" that "captured the national imagination", Easy Rider explores the societal landscape, issues, and tensions in the United States during the 1960s, such as the rise of the hippie movement, drug use, and communal lifestyle. Real drugs were used in scenes showing the use of marijuana and other substances.
The film features the well-known song by Steppenwolf "Born To Be Wild":
The event is free for everyone as always.
Previously held events:
Taxi Driver (1976)
2 May at 18:15, UT Library (Struve 1-243, Tõstamaa seminar room)
Taxi Driver is a 1976 American neo-noir psychological thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Paul Schrader. Set in New York City following the Vietnam War, the film stars Robert De Niro as a lonely war veteran who takes a job as a taxi driver to cope with his chronic insomnia. The film also features Jodie Foster, Harvey Keitel, Cybill Shepherd, Peter Boyle, and Albert Brooks.
Critically acclaimed upon release and nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Taxi Driver won the Palme d'Or at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival. It is regularly cited by critics, film directors, and audiences alike as one of the greatest films of all time. In 2012, Sight & Sound named it the 31st-best film ever in its decennial critics' poll, ranked with The Godfather Part II, and the fifth-greatest film of all time on its directors' poll. The film was considered "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant by the US Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 1994.
Zabriskie Point (1970)
7 March at 18:15, Ülikooli 18-140
Zabriskie Point (1970) is the only film the innovative Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni made in the USA. It looks at the young people who were "willing to die, but not of boredom", to cite from the film, who transformed the American society in the 1960s. We see student protests, campus confrontations, critique of mindless conformism and, through that, get a glimpse of Los Angeles at the height of counterculture. The soundtrack, in the spirit of the time, includes music by Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead and the Rolling Stones. The film was a notable commercial failure when it was first released, but it has won recognition later on, both for its beautiful camerawork and its take on the counterculture.
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
13 February at 18:15, Ülikooli 18-140
Rebel Without a Cause, directed by Nicholas Ray, is one of the most iconic representations of teenage rebellion. The middle-class teenagers at the center of the film live in material comfort, but feel lonely and misunderstood by the surrounding culture. The film was extremely influential at the time of the release because it showed a new way of looking at troubled teens. The film is the last and most remembered screen performance of James Dean who has become the voice of youth rebellion thanks to this film.
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
5 December at 18:15, Lossi 3-307
The movie is based on Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck’s novel of the same name. It is an epic story of one family’s journey across the USA during the Great Depression in search of better opportunities. The movement westward has formed the core of the American myth; here the usually celebratory narrative is treated from a socially critical perspective. The director, John Ford, also made some of the most epic Westerns and won 4 Oscars as the best director—one of them for The Grapes of Wrath. The film features iconic performances by Henry Fonda and Jane Darwell
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
22 November, Tartu Loodusmaja
The film screening takes place within the USA culture evening coordinated by "Tartu - Rich in Cultures". More information about registration and further details can be found on their homepage.
In November we will continue with another noir film, The Maltese Falcon that brings together the talents of the director John Huston, whose directorial debut the film is, Humphrey Bogart in the role of private detective Sam Spade and the cinematographic talent of Arthur Edeson. The film is based on Dashiell Hammett’s novel of the same name and gives us the classic elements of film noir: a disillusioned private detective, a femme fatale, witty dialogue and tough realism. Hammett’s book paved the way to all the lonely and hardened private detectives in fiction; the film became a model for the genre of film noir. What better film to watch in the dark month of November.
4 October at 18:15, Lossi 3-307
Chinatown was Roman Polanski’s last American film. It was nominated to 11 Oscars and can be found in many lists of best films of all time. It tells about the debates over water use in Southern California, but in a neo-noir style, skillfully blending suspense and psychological drama. We see young Jack Nicholson in peak form. In the context of continued droughts in California, water use continues to be contested, as does the influence of money in municipal issues.
Citizen Kane (1941)
13 September at 18:15, Lossi 3-307
We began our series on with Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane, frequently mentioned as the best film of all time because of its innovative use of different cinematic techniques and as a key example of auteur cinema. In addition, the film, with its focus on a media mogul who seeks to control public discourse, creates thought-provoking parallels with today. The discussion after the screening showed the audience’s enthusiastic engagement with the film.
Images borrowed from the respective pages of IMBD.