This Weekend’s Film Festival Celebrates Visual Effects

6 06 2007

With the Visual Effects Society Festival this coming weekend, I thought it would be a great idea to center This Weekend’s Film Festival on movies featured on the VES’ 50 most influential visual effects films list. The lineup comes from a sampling of four-star films from across the list. I selected one film from the first ten films on the list then another one from the next ten films and so on.

What struck me when I looked over the complete list of 50 films (which you can find here) is that for the most part they’re all good films. The list does seem to skew toward recent visual effects accomplishments, but it doesn’t leave out many of the obvious landmark achievements of yesteryear. Many of the films are some of the greatest entertainments of all time. So does this mean that great visual effects only appear in great films or is it that we only remember the great visual effects if they are in great films?

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CITIZEN KANE (1941) (****)

6 06 2007
Check Out the Trailer
Check Out the Trailer

Widely considered the greatest film ever made, and for good reason, CITIZEN KANE matured filmmaking by combining established techniques with new innovations. No first film has ever been as influential as Orson Welles freshman turn behind the camera. The fact that he also starred in, co-wrote and produced the film only heightens the accomplishment. But does the label of “the greatest film ever made” hurt it? I’m sure the label and it’s stark black & white cinematography scare away younger audiences, who have all seen THE GODFATHER (which is often a close second as the greatest of all time). What those film viewers are missing is a thoroughly modern film. Made over 60 years ago, the film has not aged a bit.

In a now very common way, the film starts at the end. Charles Foster Kane dies, uttering only one word — Rosebud. Then a newsreel fills us in on Kane’s life. When the newsreel ends, a group of reporters argue whether the report really captured who Kane was. So they set out to discover the meaning of Rosebud. This begins a series of interviews of the people that knew Kane.

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