“Remember where you came from”. Whether I was beginning my undergrad studies or accepting my first real job offer, these words have seemed to follow me along every step of my life journey. They likely follow you too; so, is there some hidden meaning implied in this “universal” message? Tokyo Story might provide some insight

Japanese cinema is a panther: its beauty is sleek, its action is sharp, and its presence is… mystical.

Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai is one of the most influential pictures ever created. Toho’s Godzilla has rampaged the box office for decades while providing a somber metaphor for nuclear power. If these films are the elders of Japanese cinema, then the thought-provoking animation produced by Studio Ghibli is their offspring; innovative art, crisp characters, and gripping narratives exemplify the promise of cinematic posterity.

Yet, why is Tokyo Story, with its melodramatic plot and meticulous cinematography, regarded as not only the greatest of all…


Ascertaining a universal meaning of life has proved to be a historic struggle. Likewise, defining “beauty” has proven as formidable a challenge, but hints of an answer were revealed in 1966 with the debut of Andrei Rublev

I must be frank with you. The first time I watched Andrei Rublev, I had little idea what my eyes were actually witnessing. I was in college, so perhaps there’s some leniency for this (let the record show I watched the film under my own volition, and not for any particular course). …


Underneath the romantic shell of Casablanca lies a peculiar human trait detached from emotional desire, lust, or greed. The entrepreneurial spirit of the wildcard Rick Blaine is laudable, but its the character’s selflessness that deserves the most attention

As Americans, we are highly individualistic.

Individualism is a component; scratch that, an identity of our culture. Now, part of this can be attributed to our history. America’s founding was spurred by our ancestor’s fight for independence. The idea of separating ourselves from an overseas power originated from a desire to govern on our own, trade on our own, live on our own. Sure, we sought freedom from the crown, but the endgame of this endeavor was to create something (a nation) of our own. What we eventually made was a country that adopted the opposite of the collectivist cultures…


If any of my friends or family asked for a movie recommendation, I wouldn’t hesitate in responding with Children of Men. This isn’t just because of its quality or acclaim; rather, it’s due to the picture’s relevance in today’s world, and the importance that it carries into our future

Preservation and Innovation are opposites.

There’s a famous saying by Pablo Picasso that goes, “the purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” Picasso viewed art as a form of therapy; the craft lets people express themselves in a way most other mediums can’t. If you’ve had a relatively mundane week, art offers the opportunity break away from such remedial aspects of life and explore an imaginative realm of your choosing. Art opens people up to an arena of play that’s often reserved for children. Art is liberating. Art is self-empowering. Art is… experimental.

But…


2001 balances epic spectacle with poignant, cerebral themes. In doing so, the film accomplishes what few movies do: changing the way in which we not only consider our future, but how we as humans will explore and ultimately adapt to it

Science fiction films are underscored by a pair of defining features, the first of which being the use of epic spectacle. What’s integral to understand here is that epic spectacle doesn’t necessarily mean what the name implies; perhaps the star destroyers in Star Wars are a visual wonder, or the dogfights in space are as colorful as they are enthralling. But this isn’t epic spectacle; rather, epic spectacle revolves around the idea of universe building, the ability of a film to immerse its audience in the fictitious world being created before them. …


Showcasing the mythology of the Lost Cause, Gone With the Wind’s characterization of the antebellum South and it’s alteration throughout the Civil War sheds light on an element of history often overlooked, though in the process, chooses to neglect dark truths for the sake of its own beauty

History often lets its leaders be the one to tell its stories.

Let us select a popularly referenced example to support this claim. Christopher Columbus was a master seaman; I will not deny this, nor should you. He was tasked with finding gold in Asia — believed to be directly west of his beloved Spain — with nothing but the open waters of the Atlantic preventing him. Of course, what lied beyond the Atlantic was not Asia, but the Americas. The Bahamas. The New World. The first to meet Columbus in this strange land were the Arawak Indians, an organized…


From the printing business to politics, Charles Foster Kane’s ascension in a capitalist’s world illustrates both the beauties and the horrors that distort the true meaning of achievement.

Stories build connections. They’re a communal form of education. If history is our greatest teacher, then stories are the material from which history draws upon. History, no matter how bleak or cold it may be, is the truest storyteller that there is.

That said, it’s fair to say that the most popular, effective medium of storytelling is the cinema (though I’m sure some may disagree on the inclusion of “effective”). Now, movies are many things: forms of entertainment, an outlet for social gatherings, an excuse to down pounds of popcorn and gallons of soda on an annual basis. …

Max Bittner Olsthoorn

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