Movie time!

Buster Keaton and train, 1956I love movies, as I guess most people do in one way or the other. A little while ago I decided dig a little deeper. I felt that I too often chose the easy pickings, you know, the super hero stuff and other types of modern “easy”  movies. I do still like them but wanted to see if there was something more for me in the old classics I seemed to have avoided before. I mean they’re not classics without reason?

I started digging at the start of the film era, with the silent movies, focusing on those that were recommended and considered classics. And did I find anything? Indeed I did.

Most of these classics are rightfully classics in an artistic sense, and not only because they gained merit because this or this movie was the first with a certain technique. If you can take the low quality these films often have, which I have no problem with, you’ll find that they can stand on their own feet with beauty, great stories and great acting.

Perhaps the most interesting part was that there were no real conventions they had to abide to in the beginning. Conventions that today most often, make the stories a little too predictable, and sometimes boring. A movie could be as short as 20-30 minutes or it could be 4, 5 hours, well even 9 hours long in some special cases.

Erich von Stroheim for example, made a couple of movies where there are really no likeable characters, something that would be almost impossible today, with all conventions in the way.

Today, when I watch Terminator 44 or something like it, I don’t react that much to special effects, I expect them to be there, and I don’t ask myself how they did it. Watching these old movies, I find myself marvel at scenes: “How did they do that!”

Some of these classics are available for free at Youtube, and if you’re interested you should watch the beautiful Sunrise, where every scene is a piece of art, or Buster Keaton’s Our Hospitality, if you want to laugh, or Chaplin’s The Gold Rush

Another interesting thing, watching these movies, is that they where made in the dawn of the mass media era, with the rise of movies, radio, and a little later TV. Anything was possible, and the world changed forever. And today, we’re in the dawn of a new change, which is changing the world rapidly, and these very mass media insitutions, that were born then, are crumbling beneath our feet. Is anything possible now? I hope so. But what do I know, I just want to produce some beautiful music.

/Pär

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