Category: Film

Paul Newman – “Plastic Jesus”

Happy birthday to Cool Hand Luke. Actor and director Paul Newman was born on this day January 26, 1925 in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

The Legacy of Danny Kaye

The wonderful Danny Kaye was born David Daniel Kaminsky of Ukrainian immigrants on this day January 18, 1911 in New York City. The humanitarian, actor, dancer, singer, and comedian’s film legacy alone includes numerous classics: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947), A Song Is Born (1948), The Inspector General (1949), Hans Christian Andersen (1952), …

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Hayao Miyazaki Brought Manga to the Masses

One-of-a-kind animator, artist, and masterful storyteller, Hayao Miyazaki brought delightful “manga” (Japanese comic books) and “anime” (Japanese animation) films to venerating audiences via Studio Ghibli, which Miyazaki co-founded with director Isao Takahata in 1985. Some of the first Studio Ghibli films made were Castle in the Sky (1986), My Neighbor Totoro (1988), and Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989), receiving recognition and …

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Soviet Film Wednesday: The Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas (1951) was directed by the prolific Soviet animation duo of Valentina Brumberg and Zinaida Brumberg, who were also known as the “Brumberg sisters” as well as the “grandmothers of Russian animation.” Some of their most well known films are Little Red Riding Hood and Ivashka and Baba-Yaga. Not your typical Christmas story, it begins …

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Soviet Film Wednesday: “Singing Cat” from Tale of the Fox

Here is a charming excerpt, “Singing Cat,” from Ladislas Starevich’s first animated feature, and often regarded as his finest work, The Tale of the Fox (Le Roman de Renard), made with his daughter Irene in 1941. Ladislas Starevich was born in Moscow on August 8, 1882 and moved to France following the Russian Revolution. He …

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Soviet Film Wednesday: Samoyed Boy

Made in 1928, Samoyed Boy was one of the first films directed by the Brumberg sisters, along with directors Nikolai Khodataev and Olga Chodatajewa. It is the story of a boy who fights corruption in his village, then goes on to study in Moscow. It may be best known for its innovative animation; the mesmerizing waves are stunning …

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Soviet Film Wednesday: Russian Sugar Ad

Here’s a little treat for Wednesday: a jam ad created for Russian Sugar directed by Yuri Norstein. It was one of a group of Russian Sugar commercials made by Norstein between 1994 and 1995 that used cutouts and drawings for the animations (a bit past the Soviet era but still delightful and created by beloved …

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Soviet Film Wednesday: Enchanted Desna

Enchanted Desna is a film that gives us insight into the mind of Aleksandr Dovzhenko as a child, growing up by the Desna river. Directed by Yuliya Solntseva, the film is an “autobiographical film story” by her husband, Aleksandr Dovzhenko. Both thought-provoking and beautiful, the film elicits memories and introspection from its viewers. For instance, …

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Soviet Film Wednesday: Night on Bald Mountain

Night on Bald Mountain is a film set to the music of the same name by Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky, and arranged by his fellow Russian composer, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.  The film was created by the inventors of pinscreen animation, Alexandre Alexeieff and his collaborator Claire Parker. Alexeieff was born in Kazan, Russia in 1901 and died in …

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Soviet Film Wednesday: Viy

In this 1967 film, a young seminarian stays the night in an old woman’s barn during his travels. During the night, the old woman casts a spell on him and flies on his back through the night. When they touch ground again, she suddenly turns into a young girl. Frightened, he runs away. Soon after, …

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