Faubourg Saint-Denis

Some questions to consider:

Story – So, what happened here? Was there a break-up, or was it just some terrible misunderstanding, or what?

Vision – Is this the same story if the male protagonist wasn't blind? What implications does his blindness have on the story? On their relationship?

Note: The film is directed by Tom Tykwer, one of my favorite contemporary filmmakers. He also wrote and performed the score for this film, too, something he does in many of his films.

The Door

Some questions to consider:

Context – Do a little research into the setting for this film. By setting, I certainly don't simply mean just the time and place. What is the context for this film?

Simplicity – Once you know the story behind the story of the film, think about the decision that the director, Juanita Wilson, made to turn her focus on the microcosm of this one family's experience instead of trying to tell the much bigger story of this tragic event. Is this effective?


Bus Stop 99

Some questions to consider:

Fun – Okay, so this isn't a serious film in any way, but it involves some pretty serious filmmaking. What do you find particularly engaging and fanciful about it?

Technique – What makes this film technically solid? The director, Reto Caffi, is quite accomplished. In fact, we'll be studying one of his other short films quite closely.


Bus 44

WARNING: This film would likely be rated "R" for a brutal scene of violence.

One of the most celebrated, award-winning short films of all time, "Bus 44" has been referenced many times in other films and literature. Here are some questions to consider:

Morals & Ethics – What universal issues are at the heart of this story? What ethical and moral dilemmas are addressed and how?

Technique – Writer and director Dayyan Eng challenges us in so many ways in this film. Do you agree with what the director decides to show us and how? Or do you think it's too violent, or perhaps not graphic enough? What shots and techniques work well?

Story – What did you think of the story overall? What about the ending? What's the message here?


The Op-Doc "Paraíso" (Paradise) from the New York Times reveals the beauty and danger of three immigrant window cleaners' work on Chicago's skyscrapers. Here are some questions to consider:

Purpose – What is the fundamental purpose of a documentary? How is a documentary different from more traditional movies?

Technique – What was effective in terms of how the director and cinematographer chose to present the images in this film? Do you agree with what the director decides to show us and how? Or do you think there would have been more effective approaches? What shots and techniques work well?

Story – What did you think of the story overall? What do we learn from this film? What's the message here?

The Escape

By Neill Blomkamp

Continuing the tradition of the BMW Films, here’s the latest – “The Escape” by director Neill Blomkamp. Enjoy.