The Eight Greatest Films Ever? Four American and Four Foreign Masterpieces

Citizen Kane, The Godfather, Psycho, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Could these be the four greatest American movies ever made? Orson Welles, Francis Ford Coppola, Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick were all operating at the pinnacles of their respective talents when they created what many movie scholars and critics consider the greatest masterworks in the history of American Cinema. These revolutionary films not only defined the turbulent social and cultural eras in which they were made but successfully transcended those eras by casting a giant shadow of influence across the entire film industry that is still reflected on movie screens to this very day. Each film is noteworthy for its directorial style, shrewd presentation of narrative structure, trail-blazing technical innovations, mesmerizing editing sequences, painstaking attention to period detail, and deft handling of controversial political themes. And there's more! Of the thousands of foreign films that have been made, which four should every movie buff see? Professor Joseph Luzzi has chosen a Dolce Vita (director Fellini, Italy), Fanny and Alexander (director Bergman, Sweden), Jules and Jim (director Truffaut, France), and Ran (director Kurosawa, Japan). What makes these works so enjoyable and meaningful? And what qualities mark them as masterpieces? This portion of the presentation will explore with audiences the remarkable world of foreign cinema. The class will analyze and discuss key moments from these pieces of cinema history, as we view clips from each masterpiece. Students will learn what makes these films a foundation for any film lover's education. Marc Lapadula is a Senior Lecturer in the Film Studies Program at Yale University. He has taught at Columbia University's Graduate Film School, created the screenwriting programs at both The University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins where he won Outstanding Teaching awards and has lectured on film, playwriting, and conducted highly-acclaimed screenwriting seminars all across the country. Acclaimed Bard College Professor Joseph Luzzi teaches both film and literature. He was previously a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received the Scaglione Prize for his teaching, and at Yale where he was awarded a Yale College Teaching Prize.

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