Jay Silverheels – Happy American Indian Heritage Month

Jay Silverheels was a Kanien'kehá:ka actor born Harold J. Smith on May 26th, 1912. He was born on the Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation reservation, the most populous First Nation in Canada, and the only nation in which all six Iroquois nations live together. He was the third of eleven children born to Major … Continue reading Jay Silverheels – Happy American Indian Heritage Month

Made in Taiwan – Taiwanese Cinema and Television

Taiwan’s official status is complicated. Some view it as a renegade region of China, others as the sole legitimate government of the mainland (the Republic of China). Still others believe it to be an island with a unique history stretching back tens of thousands of years and with a distinct culture influenced by Austronesian, Han, and Japanese history, … Continue reading Made in Taiwan – Taiwanese Cinema and Television

Other Christmas Movies – off-beat, under-seen, non-traditional, obscure, forgotten and alternative Christmas movies

Come September of every year and kid-friendly Christmas movies began to dominate the airwaves. Movies with muppets and toys and Frosty and Santa and Rudolph. Movies like Babes in Toyland (1961), A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Christmas Carol, Christmas Eve on Sesame Street (1978), A Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation, Elf, Ernest Saves Christmas (1988), A Flintstone Christmas (1977), Frosty the Snowman (1969), Frosty's … Continue reading Other Christmas Movies – off-beat, under-seen, non-traditional, obscure, forgotten and alternative Christmas movies

Silent night – Christmas movies of the silent era

            Happy St. Nicholas Day! For your enjoyment, a little somethin' to break the monotony of all that hardcore Christmas that has gotten to be a little bit out of control... Santa Claus (1898) was directed by George Albert Smith (Weary Willie, Making Sausages), a former portrait photographer and member of the UK's Brighton Set. … Continue reading Silent night – Christmas movies of the silent era

A History of Asian-American Cinema

1INTRODUCTION TO ASIAN-AMERICAN CINEMA  Very little has been written about the involvement of Asian-Americans (and Asian-Canadians, also discussed here) in the production of film. Even though their contributions are usually overlooked, Asian-Americans have played significant roles in the formation of America's film culture since the early 20th century. In the early silent era, before the … Continue reading A History of Asian-American Cinema

Women of the Western — Female-centric Horse Operas

  Since the dawn of film theory, film critics have loved the Western; probably because its engagement with formula and its psychological subtext are so obvious, so close to the surface, that theorizing about westerns is a bit like kicking gravel and striking oil. The genre bears a similarity to tales of knights errant, who … Continue reading Women of the Western — Female-centric Horse Operas

Alice Guy-Blaché – First Female of Film Direction

  EARLY YEARS Alice Guy was born on July 1, 1873. Her French parents were working in Chile, where they owned a chain of bookstores. When Alice's mother got pregnant, the couple returned to Paris where Alice was born. Soon after, her parents returned to South America and left her to be raised by her … Continue reading Alice Guy-Blaché – First Female of Film Direction

Cinema of Burkina Faso

Background on Burkina Faso What is now Burkina Faso has been continuously inhabited for at least 14,000 years. The main indigenous population of this Sahelian region were the Yonyonse, who remained for thousands of years until they were displaced by the Mossi people of what is now Ghana only a thousand years ago. The Mossi … Continue reading Cinema of Burkina Faso

Senegalese Film

During the Colonial era, cinematic images of Africa and its people were entirely the work of Western filmmakers. The Tarzan movies, African Queen, King Solomon's Mines and others were usually filmed on soundstages half a world away from Africa and made little to no effort toward authenticity, instead trading in exoticism aimed primarily at exploiting … Continue reading Senegalese Film

Black History Month & Black Cinema

  1915 Birth of a Nation was released. It was the most profitable American film of all time until Disney's Snow White & the Seven Dwarves (1937). In this critical darling, director D.W. Griffith dramatically depicts a mid-19th century south plagued by mulattos and abolitionists who scheme to keep the white man down and raise … Continue reading Black History Month & Black Cinema