Editor’s Note: As prefrosh, we’re sure you heard all about the University’s renowned film program, including our weekly Film Series. Here are some of last year’s highlights and Wesleyan student favorites.
The first work by legendary director Jean-Luc Godard, this is arguably the quintessential French New Wave film. If Godard’s groundbreaking style and narrative don’t make your heart jump, the on-screen chemistry between Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg will.
Down By Law
This 1986 film by independent film icon Jim Jarmusch features Tom Waits as a DJ, John Lurie as a pimp and Robert Benigni as, well, a jovial Italian man. With its New Orleans setting immortalized in black-and-white and a script that is at once caustic and hilarious, Down By Law is the perfect jailbreak comedy.
Marcel Camus’s dazzling re-telling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth is a feast for the senses. Set in Rio de Janiero, the Academy Award-winning musical is shot in vibrant Technicolor and scored with the sumptuous music of Antonio Carlos Jobim.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
If the fact that this extravagant (read: awesome) action-film classic isn’t enough to get you to see it, maybe watching the Governator give thumbs up while lowering into a vat of molten steel is.
My Beautiful Laundrette
Sexuality, racism and class struggle cross paths in this romance set in1980s London. A seminal piece of New Queer Cinema, Gordon Warnecke and Daniel Day-Lewis give unforgettable performances.
Children of Men
Alfonso Cuaron’s 2006 mega-thriller features Clive Owen as a battered man on a hopeless mission, a dystopian Britain’s answer to James Bond. A plague of infertility has robbed the world of children, and the last expectant mother on Earth, a hunted immigrant played by Claire Hope-Ashitey, needs him to keep her safe. Necessary viewing for Cuaron’s breathtaking cinematography and the infamous “blood-on-the-lens” scene.
Travolta’s comeback, Tarantino’s masterpiece, Samuel L. Jackson’s finest hour—you name the star, this movie set his name in stone. A hodgepodge of interconnected stories depicts a Los Angeles torn apart by crime; Kathy Griffin’s moment in the spotlight as a hysterical bystander perfectly mirrors a typical audience reaction. Required cultural knowledge, bundled with not a few laughs.
The Science of Sleep
A one-second time machine and a calendar of disasters are just two of Gael Garcia Bernal’s inventions in this surrealist collage, directed by Michel Gondry. Bernal plays Stephane, a young man too caught up in his dreams and inventions to notice the world around him. Worth watching for the top-notch stop-camera animation.
Thank You for Smoking
Sin becomes savory in this caustic lampoon of Big Tobacco and its millions of addicted customers. Aaron Eckhart plays Nick Naylor, a ruthless lobbyist so good at his job that he is, as he tells his son, the “Sultan of Spin.” Try to control yourself when Naylor proves to his son that chocolate is better than vanilla.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Alright. We lied. Eternal Sunshine never appeared in the Film Series, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t required viewing for all college students. Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet prove that everyone else’s relationships are just as screwed up as yours in two hours of mind-bending and image-erasing beauty.