Movies about photography, movies that evoke certain artworks or genres without reproducing them, movies for which the titles are unknown, and other submissions which do not fit into the previous categories
"I just saw the recent Mona Lisa Smile movie. It has many art references throughout the film, almost a concise art history course as it follows Julia Roberts as an art history teacher at Wellesley college. In her first lecture she shows slides of the Bison in the Altamira cave in Spain (12,000 BC), the "herd of horses" at Lascaux (10,000 BC) and the Egyptian Menkaure and Khamerernebty funerary statue (2470 BC). Other ancient art is mentioned but not shown including a 'seated scribe' from Egypt 2400 BC. She is shocked because her students know the material too well and have memorised the syllabus almost word for word. In her next lecture, she shows Carcass by Soutine (1925) which is not on the syllabus and a discussion follows with her class about the nature of art. She asks questions such as "What is art? What makes it good or bad and who decides?"
The film goes right through the history of art, from the renaissance: Students are made to write an essay on the "stylistic differences between Raphael and Van Eyck"; she says of Breughel - "Breughel was a storyteller. Find the stories. Break them down into smaller pieces."; a kaleidescope-like thing Roberts is given by a male friend has the Sistine Chapel, David, Venus de Milo and Mona Lisa on it; the sistine chapel ceiling and the Mona Lisa are mentioned in several other discussions.
To Impressionism: Roberts shows her students a paint by numbers set of Vincent Van Gogh's Sunflowers, saying: "Look at what we have done to the man who refused to conform his ideas to popular taste, who refused to compromise his integrity. We have put him in a tiny box and asked you to copy him. So the choice is yours, ladies; you can conform to what other people expect, or you can..." (interrupted..) "I know, I know, be ourselves." At the end of the film the students present the teacher each with her own version of the Sunflowers painting.
And Modernism: Roberts holds up a minature Demoiselles d'Avignon by Picasso in the train at the very start of the movie, though I checked and it is shown back to the front to the camera - im not sure if this is on purpose or a mistake (the red side should be on the left, blueish side on right - it's the other way round here). She also has a discussion with her superior who is angered that on her dissertation she wrote, "Picasso will do for the twentieth century what Michelangelo did for the Renaissance." In another scene, Roberts shows her class a large Jackson Pollock drip painting and tells her students that they don't have to like it, but they have to consider it."
"In my Art Appreciation class I use Antonioni's The Passenger to introduce my students to film as art. It works with them because Jack Nicholson and the mystery make it accessible, but it is also a very carefully structured film to which all the vocabulary of visual analysis can be applied. And it is a film about perception. They often say that they will never look at film in the same way again. The girl in The Passenger is a student of architectural history, and the film provides views of Gaudi's architecture in Barcelona, and Baroque churches in Munich, among notable historical monuments. Antonioni's first name is Michelangelo, and his own training as an artist is evident in his composition and use of color."
Elizabeth Valdez del Alamo, Montclair
"How about Michelangelo Antonioni's The Passenger, 1975, with all those wonderful depictions of Gaudi's Casa Mila ..."
"This is an interesting film for its depiction of Tahitian tattoo designs (fairly accurate), the tattoo process (also accurate, though not shown close-up), and its depiction of British seafarers (the Bounty crew minus Captain Bligh, of course) trying out this unfamiliar art form on their own skins, thus revitalizing its popularity in the West. The tattoos on individual sailors are not always accurate. Bligh made a detailed record of the tattoos worn by each mutineer. They had a fair number of non-Tahitian tattoos -- stars, Latin phrases, dates, etc. -- and these are not shown in the film. These Western designs (along with the sheer number the men had) are thought by some naval historians to be evidence that there was continuing tradition European or British tradition of tattooing among seafarers even before the voyages of Cook, Bligh, et al."
Christine Whittington, Fogler Library, U. of Maine
"I use The Reflecting Skin (Philip Ridley 1990) in Art Appreciation to illustrate the use of traditional Christian iconography in contemporary film. The film is filled with symbolism, and I feel the film is incomprehensible without reading them. I have a big bunch of words (a couple of pages) about it, if anyone is interested."
"The movie The Portrait has Gregory Peck and Lauren Bacall as parents of a female artist who comes back home from New York to paint a portrait of them. A few references to art such as when they stand up, he holds a fork as ajoke and says they are American Gothic by Grant Wood. She describes herself as an artist as being "Hockneyesque in her interpretation, Tintoretto in her scope, and in her color, very Van Eyckish.""
"La Belle Noiseuse, directed by Jacques Rivette, tells the story of Frenhofer, an aged and formerly famous painter, whose creative energies are reawakened by the visit of a young artist, Nicolas and his girlfriend, Marianne (played by Emmanuelle Beart). The title of the movie refers to the abandoned painting that Frenhofer finishes while in the company of his new muse (Marianne). While Frenhofer is played by Michel Piccoli, the hand shot in the act of drawing belongs to the French artist Bernard Dufour. The plot is a 20th-century update based on the Balzac story "The Unknown Masterpiece." While Balzac's Frenhofer is a fictional character, other character are based on actual artists: Poussin, Porbus, and Mabuse. Art historian, Dore Ashton, wrote a terrific book in 1980 called A Fable of Modern Art that is dedicated to the Balzac story and its lasting influence on several modern artists including Cezanne, Picasso, Rilke, Schoenberg, and others."
"Canvas: The Fine Art of Murder with Gary Busey and Vittorio Rossi who plays an artist who borrows money from the mob. Interesting conversation with the nasty mob boss: "I wouldn't lend you money if you were Michelangelo; I lent money to an artist once, now he paints with his feet.""
"A film that is especially helpful for discussing the question of "what characteristics make an artist?" is Portrait of Jennie from 1948, starring Joseph Cotten and Jenny Jones. Directed by William Dieterle and photographed by Joseph August, this film chronicles the struggles of an artist in New York City. One day he meets a young woman in Central Park who becomes his muse. It is her portrait that secures his fame. There is a twist, however, the young woman turns out to be a ghost! In conjunction with other films about artists, I've used this film in Philosophy of Art as one basis for discussion of how American culture constructs the idea of the artist's personality and/or psyche."
"The character Harry Donovan forges a Rembrandt painting of an old man, supposedly Rembrandt's father. The painting was lost at sea and mysteriously turns up in Spain. So the plot thickens. After the character decides to accept the job, the movie demonstrates the process of forging a Rembrandt. This sequence shows Harry recreating an oil painting and then the process of aging it. After purchasing an antique painting, the forger primes it and begins the process. After two portrait underpaintings, the forger begins the aging process. The painting is then covered with callou which is the residue from exposure to candle burnings. Antique lead figurines are exposed to vinegar vapors for rapid corrosion of the lead to obtain lead white. After the painting has been recreated the forger bakes the painting to accelerate the hardening of the paint and varnishes and create an aged look. This portion of the movie is interesting as it depicts the art of forgery."
"I have successfully used film in several of my history of photography courses, including Buster Keaton's The Cameraman, Dziga Vertov's Man with a Movie Camera, Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, Michael Powell's Peeping Tom, Antonioni's Blow Up, and my personal favorite Irvin Kershner's The Eyes of Laura Mars. Not only is this last quite good about enacting fashion photography's fascination with the postures of sadomasochism, it provided the wildly satisfying spectacle of Tommy Lee Jones explaining that he went on a murder spree because he couldn't finish his dissertation."
Jeannene Przyblyski, Mills College
"Antonioni's 1966 film Blow-Up is very interesting to use as an investigation of the status of "the image" and the complex relationship between photography and reality."
"Some submissions on contemporary photography for your excellent site.
John Waters' film Pecker is an interesting comment on the hype often generated by the art world. A young amateur Baltimore photographer called Pecker (played by Edward Furlong) is discovered by a New York art dealer (Lili Taylor). His work is hailed as the authentic voice of a young 'trash' generation, but he turns the tables on the art world when he stages his show in Baltimore, rather than in NYC. Watch for Cindy Sherman cameo where she plays herself.
A rather dull film, but students interested in Cindy Sherman should be alerted to her directorial debut, Office Killer. Visually the film is stunning, and is in keeping with Sherman's recurring themes of abjection, but unfortunately, Office Killer is disappointing.
Lisa Cholodenko's directorial debut High Art is a must for scholars of contemporary photography. The film delves into the relationship between a photographer and an editor from a photography journal. The film features work by many photo artists, including Nan Goldin, Jack Pierson and the late David Wojnarowicz. An interesting film for discussion focussing on the intersection between art and identity politics.
Barfly's mise-en-scène was directly inspired by Nan Goldin's landmark series from the mid 1980s The Ballad of Sexual Dependency."
"The Governess with Minnie Driver and Tom Wilkinson has some beautiful images of photography in it. When I saw this movie I was struck how beautifully the medium of photography was portrayed.
The movie Gandhi starring Ben Kingsley has a scene where he is talking to the famous photographer Margaret Bourke-White (played by Candice Bergen). This photographer visited Gandhi and took some lovely shots of him at his spinning wheel. Thus another great use of photography at the movies."
"I have another citation related to Titanic. As DiCaprio is showing his drawings to Winslet after they first meet, he shows her one particular drawing of a woman's hand placed between her breasts. The drawing is based almost exactly on one of Alfred Stieglitz's nude photographs of Georgia O'Keeffe."
"In The Pledge, at 1 hr. 33 min. 02 sec., in the middle of a short scene of a local small town parade, the camera tilts up to a shot which is based on and/or pays homage to Robert Frank's photograph Parade - Hoboken, New Jersey, from The Americans. The shot lasts about 2 seconds."
"Shadow Magic is a movie about Raymond Wallace, English entrepeneur who tries to introduce to China the latest western invention - the moving picture. He meets Liu, who becomes captivated by his "shadow magic" and decides to try and bridge the gap between West and East. There is conflict with tradition, a love story between Liu and Ling, an Chinese opera singer, and of course the beauty of the moving image."
"In response to architectural disjunctions the same is true with Home for the Holidays in which Holly Hunter plays a conservator. She is supposed to be working at the Art institute of Chicago and going to visit her parents in Baltimore, but the film was obviously shot in Baltimore and the airport that she leaves from and the Museum are actually Baltimore landmarks. The opening sequence is a good introduction to mixing paint."
"The film Mindwalk is shot on location at Mont Saint Michel and is an interesting film in its own right. I also recently showed a film called Baraka in my Asian art survey which includes various Egyptian monuments though it centers on India and the Far East. The film is stunning visually."
"Two other Audrey Hepburn movies which show some of Paris' monuments and art are How To Steal A Million and Charade. (I don't know if the post in which I mentioned Funny Face made it through or not; our server has been experiencing 'technical difficulties'). "
"Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita (1959) not only offers worthwhile images of many Roman monuments (including the baths of Caracalla, St. Peter's, the Trevi Fountain), but sets them within an arresting philosophical and aesthetic vision. As Peter Bondanella puts it: "The theme of La Dolce Vita--life defined as all facade and masquerade--is summarized in the remark of one of the female impersonators after a typically Fellinian all-night revel: 'I was all made up but now I look ghastly.' This cultural confusion finds its visual parallel in the most famous of the many remarkable images in the film--the shot of the helicopter carrying the statue of Christ with its ironic benediction over the ruins of an ancient Roman aqueduct." (from Italian Cinema: From Neorealism to the Present, New York: Frederick Ungar, 1983: 232-33.)"
"Much of the movie Amadeus was shot in Prague because it is the only city in Europe where a camera can turn 360 degrees and not see anything built after Mozart's death. It's been a long time since I've seen it, so I cannot remember specifics but is is wonderful for getting the true feel of Eastern Europe."
"Carol Reed, The Third Man (Le troisieme Homme), for view of Vienna. And another film he made with a little boy who is lying, for fabulous architectural views in London. Max Ophuls, Lola Montes, for German or Austria architecture. And also another little movie, in sketches, where he portrays a marvelous French little church when prostitutes take a vacation out in the country. In one of Bergman films there is a restoration on a medieval or Renaissance wooden sculpture going on, which is filled with worms. Thus a reflection on God and Time and Art. Wim Wenders, Les ailes du desir (don't know the English title), when an angel coming from sky, plane, comes on to an angel column. Fabulous views of Berlin or is it Munich? Rene Clair, in La Beaute du Diable (from Faust), where Michel Simon goes around in marvelous phony architecture."
"The idea of collecting European chefs-d'oeuvres is well demonstrated in Welles' Citizen Kane, along with several references to architectural decoration and sculpture. America taking possession of European treasures."
"In Raiders of the Lost Ark (aside from the obvious props) the image of the Ark and the accouterments of the holy sanctuary and the vestments of Aaron are taken from a long tradition of printed Bible illustrations that took definitive form in the Renaissance and perhaps culminated in the engravings of Gustav Dore -- which may have served as at least one proximate source."
"Monty Python's sketch called the "Penultimate Supper" doesn't include any visual representations of art, but it does nicely parody the controversy over Veronese's "Christ in the House of Levi." I don't know which Flying Circus episode included this sketch originally, but it is also in their Live at the Hollywood Bowl video."
"The Movie The Taming of the Shrew (1967) by Franco Zeffirelli, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, recreates Renaissance Italy, not only visually but in atmosphere. The architecture is brought to life and the decorative arts are displayed in their natural settings. It is a visual feast for the Renaissance Period."
"To deglamourize the Renaissance imagery, I lectured through a projection of the street-fighting scenes of Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet. It was effective."
Patricia Trutty-Coohill, Western Kentucky U.
"Another wonderful illustration of Renaissance space comes in Zefferelli's Romeo and Juliet of 1968. I don't what palace stood in for the Capulet residence, but there are wonderful views of Juliet running from room to room around the courtyard. I've used such examples in class because, as several of the discussants have remarked, it's the only way to convey to students something of the experience of being in those places -- and the vital issue of scale."
"Brideshead Revisited, Part II, shows a number of identifiable scenes in Venice (including the Church of the Frari) and -- even more interesting, to my point of view -- a number of "back alley" scenes which show Venice's 'spontaneous architecture,' complete with laundry hanging from lines, to fullest advantage."
"I have a theory that The English Patient makes several references to the Italian Baroque artist Caravaggio. Not only is Caravaggio the pseudonym of the Willem Dafoe character, but the artist's work is especially evident in the set design of the patient's room. At certain scenes when Ralph Fiennes and Wilem Dafoe are interacting, a large drape hangs over the patient's bed, similar to the large drape in Caravaggio's Death of the Virgin."
"Any Peter Greenaway film: The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover for filmic reference to Dutch 17c. still life."
Nancy Nield, U. of Chicago
"How about the absolutely baroque sensuality and excess of the Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover?"
Patricia Trutty-Coohill, Western Kentucky U.
"The entire oeuvre of Peter Greenaway (which shouldn't be difficult to find in university towns):
Draughtman's Contract---English 18th C architecture and interiors, not to mention the contract itself (ostensibly) is to make a series of 18th C style "portraits" of the manor house.
Zed and 2 Noughts-- All about Vermeer. A character who dresses
like Vermeer's Woman with a Hat in Washington National Gallery,
and much discussion of famous Vermeer forgerer Van Meegeren Belly of an Architect--Roman Classical and Baroque Architecture thematized.
The Cook, the Thief, his Wife, and her Lover-- More Baroque, especially used in Frans Hals big group portrait as a backdrop in the restaurant.
Prospero's books-- Yet more baroque imagery, in interiors, live cherubs, over the top set pieces."
Julie Turnock, Indiana Univ.
"The Draughtsman's Contract is a 1982 British film written and directed by Peter Greenaway. Originally produced for Channel 4 the film is a form of murder mystery, set in 1694. The period setting is reflected in Michael Nyman's score, which borrows extensively from Henry Purcell, and in the extensive and elaborate costume designs (which slightly exaggerate those of the period for effect). The action was shot on location in the house and formal gardens of Groombridge Place.
The introduction of Prospero's Books is simply a primer on Baroque iconography as we follow the lead actor through a fantastic castle with all the action and objects drawn from Baroque iconography."
"Perhaps these two submissions would be less useful for art history profs than for aesthetic theory or cultural studies folk. Both the British film Persuasion (released a few years ago) and the blockbuster (well, in art houses, at least) Gerard Depardieu French flick Cyrano de Bergerac rely heavily on Vermeer-influenced lighting and color. Both films predate the enormously popular National Gallery (DC, not London) exhibition on Vermeer. Zeitgeist or not?"
"Until the End of the World - (1991, Wim Wenders) has a scene that beautifully reproduces Vermeer's painting The Girl with a Pearl Earring (with the addition of a very Vermeer like window behind -- not in the painting itself). "
"Am I the first person in noticing the artistic connections of Jane Campion's The Piano? For starters, the landscape of the beach where the piano is stranded alone is very reminiscent of Caspar David Friedrich's Monk in front of the sea. And the scene where Holly Hunter is in bed with Harvey Keitel is a virtual copy of Velàzquez's Rokeby Venus, in the National Gallery, London. Just that there is Keitel instead of a mirror -- a metaphor that is closed when, later on the film, Hunter kisses a mirror, as if she were kissing Keitel."
"The General by John Boorman is a 1998 b/w movie about the life and death of a real-life Dublin criminal, Martin Cahill. One of his most spectacular crimes was an art robbery from the house collection of Sir Alfred Beit, at Russborough, about 15 miles from the city. They took a Vermeer (Woman Writing a Letter) and a Goya (Dona Zarate portrait) as well as many others. The film shows the forward planning, with Cahill (fictionally) besotted by the Vermeer, and the eventual theft, with the paintings being shoved under some earth - ouch. They were traded to a Loyalist gang, and eventually recovered and restored, with the most valuable items now on permanent loan to the National Gallery in Dublin. There are quite a number of shots of the pictures (acted by not terribly believable fakes) but the scary interest is the actual enaction of such a major theft.
Ridicule - a stunning French language film about life at the court of Louis XVI, has great interest for decorative arts fans, as well as being a terrific historical analysis of pre-revolutionary manners."
"In The Name of the Rose, the internal construction of the Great Library seems to draw its inspiration from a brilliant combination of the graphics of Mauritz Escher, Le Carceri of Giovanni Battista Piranesi, and the description of the infinite "Library of Babel," in the short story appearing in English translation Labyrinths by Jorges Luis Borges. Any others?"
"One that comes to mind is the moment in Wall Street where Gordon Gecko is walking on the beach in the early morning and talking on his cell-phone to his protege (played by Charlie Sheen), which quotes Friedrich's Monk by the Seashore. Exactly why this painting is quoted is more problematic. I think it is an ironic comment on Gecko's self image as a loner, Romantic and spititual. Any ideas?"
"In the movie The Red Violin (Le Violon Rouge) 1998, there is a comment in reference to Jacques Louis David. One of the owners of the red violin had given the violin to his prodigy and is now broke. His wife is asking him to sell the violin for money. The husband makes the comment that at least he isn't spendng money on paintings painted by people on both sides of the revolution in France. I thought this might be helpful in showing how artists had to quickly shift sides in order to save themseleves during the revolution. Such as David's switch from The Death of Marat 1793, to The Coronation of Napoleon 1805-1808."
"John Duigan's film Sirens (1994), best known for featuring several scantily clad supermodels in the cast, touches on censorship, the relationships between religion (embodied by subject matter and the church) and art, and art as a conduit for awakening sexuality by telling the story of an encounter between an iconoclastic painter who specializes in female nudes in religious/classical situations (for example, "Crucified Venus") and a clergyman. Many of the scenes in the film are based on sumptuous 19th-century paintings, especially those by John William Waterhouse."
Kim Rhodes, Hollins University
"The whole film is set at Australian artist Norman Lindsay's studio (which I've been to - it's a tourist attraction now) in Springwood in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. The start of the film has Hugh Grant walking past paintings in the Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney which include: Spring Frost by Elioth Gruner, The Golden Fleece (1894) by Tom Roberts, Still Glides the Stream and Shall Forever Glide (1890) by Arthur Streeton, Bailed Up by Tom Roberts and Chaucer at the Court of Edward III (1847-51) by Ford Maddox Brown."
"Bertrand Taverner, Un apres-midi a la campagne, for the end of the nineteenth century aesthetics and the use of the painting in and in relationship with the atelier of an old painter who was very popular in times when academic painting was at his peak."
Robert Derome, Universite du Quebec, Montreal
"On the subject of art in movies, has anyone mentioned the lovely French film Sunday in the Country? Many of its scenes recall French 19th century art and one of the characters is a painter."
"One suggestion for the list would be Home Alone with Macauley Caulken. The scene where he puts aftershave on his face is a hilarious take on Edvard Munch's The Scream. Although a short clip, it does get my students excited and usually leads to a good discussion of "Did he know what he was doing or is it coincidence?""
"The mask the killer is wearing in Scream (Wes Craven) references E. Munch's painting The Scream."
"And what about What Dreams May Come, the not so great movie which Robin Williams starred in. As I watched I saw the potential of a High School or College Art History extra credit assignment in the making. Many of the scenes were unabashed knock-off's of 19th and 20th century works of art by Gericault, Maxfield Parish, Magritte and many more. It has been a couple of years since I have seen it so I am now having a tough time recalling all of the references. I did not notice this movie in your very good list!!!!!"
"In the recent film Being Julia, the title character (played by Annete Benning) is wandering around what looks like the Tate, in London, with a friend. The movie is set in 1938. They come upon a painting of the character Julia - who is a famous stage actress - done as though by Tamara de Limpicka. Julia's friend states "he didn't get your eyes right.""
"I would like to add two movies that have taken inspiration from my favourite artist, Edward Hopper. The first is The Last Seduction, with the wonderful Linda Fiorentino, and although it does not show Hopper's work, you may find, (like other people have), that many interior scenes are inspired by his work. Particularly notice the empty interior of Linda's house after she has set herself up with a new identity. The lighting of Linda alone in the empty lounge is stunning. In the same vain look at Primary Colors with John Travolta and Emma Thompson, and try and argue that the scene as John enters the neon diner has not used Hopper's prevailing influence to exactly set Travolta's mood."
"In Psycho, the Bates house was inpired by Edward Hopper's House by the Railroad, and its Gothic horror is interesting contrast to the streamlined, modern motel (where the real scary stuff happens). The Birds was influenced by Hopper and the landscapes of Edvard Munch."
"I've always used The Matrix as an example to explain Jean Baudrillard's view on post-modernism (Simulacra). I know it is not a topic that only addresses art, yet it is a very important issue to consider when talking about contemporary art."
"This was originally a book by Ayn Rand but was made into a movie starring Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal. The entire movie is based upon Cooper's character who is an architect shunned for his innovative ideas. An excellent movie as well as one almost entirely centered on modern architecture."
"Book and screenplay adaptation by Ayn Rand. 1949, directed by King Vidor. Black and white. Melodrama galore. The best movie about architecture and ideology ever made. The hero, Howard Roarke, is loosely based on Frank Lloyd Wright. Roarke wants to pursue modern designs, contrary to what his clients seem to want -- historical revisitations of Classical, Baroque, etc. He stands firmly by his principles, and, in typical Hollywood fashion, wins in the end. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the melodramatic 1940s, be prepared. An intellectual soap-opera of aphorisms, angst, and architecture: A must see film."
"I think you should include the Jacques Tati movies which include continuous references to modern architecture as a form.
Mon Oncle, 1958, is based primarily around the contrast between M. Hulot's old style, slightly run-down, apartment and his sister's modern house with endless gadgets and electric motors to do the simplest tasks and the effort made to make these devices work.
Playtime, 1967, again is a full-length commentary on the contrasts between high-art architecture in the modern era and simple shelter."
Rob Lovett, RMIT University
"I've just used Playtime (1967) in an Introduction to Architecture course. It includes a number of wonderful sequences that play with the monotony and regularity of International Style architecture, with entertaining results. Another good Tati film that deals with modern domestic architecture is Mon Oncle (1958)."
"Robinson in Space, by film-maker and architect Patrick Keiller, is a journey through the landscapes of present-day England. The fictional character Robinson documents a landscape of poverty and dilapidation. He quotes Oscar Wilde: 'It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible...' His journey is presented in fascinating static shots of the spaces visited (factories, ports, heritage sites, etc.), while a voice-over comments the images in an often satirical way."
"Michael Winterbottom's Code 46 is a love story (featuring Tim Robbins and Samantha Morton), set in a not so distant future. The film provides a fascinating view of a world in which spatial segregation is maximized: wealthy, futuristic cities are radically closed off for non-citizens; outside the cities there is only desert whith shanty towns. Technological innovation has brought the tools for maintaining this division between haves and have-nots, but some people resist. (The city shown in the film is Shanghai.)."
"You might add to the list my following favorites from teaching contemporary art. I've shown clips from Atomic Cafe about WW2, the Bomb, and "Atomic design" in pop culture. Many of my students have no connection and little knowledge of WW2, this video they've remembered long after the class "Art After 1945" has ended. Jazz musician Thelonious Monk is mentioned in the writings of Jack Kerouac and others of the Beat Generation and I love to show the documentary footage of "hipster" Monk walking the streets of NYC and playing in concert; these are in the marvelous documentary Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser. I've been looking for Roger Corman's film Bucket of Blood that is about a "beatnik" sculptor who sculpts by encasing his sitters/victims in the works (a B-movie horror film cross between the myth of the mad genius artist and 19th c criticism of Rodin, in the person of a "beatnik" who may have been played by Jack Nicholson, but I don't recall)."
"I thought I'd throw in another example that I use to illustrate Soleri's urban city plans for the future. It is hard for my students to visualize a world without natural resources and energy. Therefore, I recommend viewing Soylent Green to get an idea of what life could be like in a world polluted and overpopulated."
"Today I covered the late 1970's in Art Survey
II. I utilized a great film clip of Manhattan, by Woody Allen
(1979). The footage I used was about 5 min. long and began where the
main characters go to a gallery and meet-up with the Diane Keaton character.
The clip is great for showing students what the gallery scene in NYC
was and is still like (intellectualizing the simplistic). Very funny
and worth viewing."
"Steve Martin's LA Story had that wonderful roller skating scene in the LA County Museum."
Robin Masi, School of the MFA, Boston
"Memorable line: "Some of these buildings are over 20 years old!" Classic portrait of SoCal life features more fun at LACMA than anybody ever really has."
"The lead, Harris Telemacher, played by Steve Martin, is a weatherman who doubles as a performance artist videotaping himself rollerskating around LACMA. I don't recommend that you go out and try this -unless, like Martin, you are on the board of directors at your local museum. Telemacher bypasses some fine art, including a Morris Louis and a few Hockneys. He is, of course, asked if he has ever tried the Guggenheim. The funniest scene in the movie is an (over) interpretation of an abstraction (can't recall who painted it) that reinforces the notion that a painting is worth a thousand words."
Jason Rosenthal, NYU
"L.A. Story was actually an intensely art-focused film. Steve Martin, who wrote the script, also happens to have a significant art collection, and I believe, his own museum in Los Angeles. One of Martin's favorite artists is David Hockney, and I am convinced the first series of shots of L.A. during the opening credits are largely references to Hockney's art. Anyone who has seen his painting of swimming pools, and how he catches the shimmer of the water will probably agree with me the use of water in the initial montage is not a coincidence."
"In the made-for-television movie The Heidi Chronicles, Jamie Lee Curtis plays an Art Historian. While the film is more about her personal transitions through the decades, there are great museum shots worth seeing."