Pin It
Favorite

Curriculum Vitae 

The Professor Film series is like going back to college. Without tests. Plus drinks.

click to enlarge art14297.jpg

“It’s a relationship of love and of friendship, of Europe torn by war,” Leonard Oakland says of Jules et Jim, Francois Truffaut’s groundbreaking 1962 film about a naughty — and ultimately deadly — French/German love triangle.

The Magic Lantern Theater has acoustics that recall a lecture hall, which fits the mood. The Whitworth professor tells us to pay close attention to the “the liberated camera of [cinematographer] Raoul Coutard.”

Coutard caused a hell of a stir in the ‘60s — as did all of French New Wave Film, Oakland says — by “putting aside the antiquated grammar of Hollywood.”

Oakland tells us to listen for a line of dialogue near the film’s end: “You tried to be a pioneer in love.” “What does that mean?” Oakland asks, just before the lights dim.

Then, for 105 schizophrenic, sometimes redundant minutes, Jules et Jim displays the artistic and technical sleight of hand that has informed all cinema —especially American independent films — ever since.

love complicated?” Oakland says

“Ain’t in an aw-shucks tone after the credits, disguising his palpable delight behind a hint of good-natured sarcasm.

And then the lecture becomes a seminar. He asks us what we were moved by, but film critic Dan Webster turns the question back on Oakland.

The film doesn’t do much for Webster, so he asks, “Why does it speak so much to you?” “That’s more autobiographical than I’d like to go,” he says, to laughter. Oakland relents a little, though, without getting specific: “Spiritually, this film is an autobiography of my life,” he says. “It’s not me, but it’s me.”

It seems for a moment that this will be the best part of the night: one of our town’s most august film minds talking candidly about what makes film not simply a lifelong pursuit, but a passion.

But it turns out to be just the initial breach of the floodgate, leading to a torrent of discussion — on the film’s historical context, on the characters’ psychological collapse and their lack of self-love, on the idea that these young Europeans were engaging in some kind of pioneering bohemian love, when in fact they were bound to traditional ideas of parenthood.

No, the best part of the night quickly became how a spark of passion from a man like Leonard Oakland might set an entire room alight with zeal for the movies. [email protected]

The Professor Film Series continues at the Magic Lantern, 25 W. Main Ave., on Wednesday, Nov. 11, at 7 pm, when Dan Webster hosts Shane. On Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 7 pm, EWU’s Marvin Smith hosts Blade Runner. Tickets: $5. Visit magiclanternspokane.com or call 209-2383.

Tags:

  • Pin It

Latest in Film

  • A Load of Scrat
  • A Load of Scrat

    Ice Age: Collision Course continues a franchise that keeps going only because it can
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Cats and Dogs
  • Cats and Dogs

    The Secret Life of Pets is a pure joy of the imagination
    • Jul 14, 2016
  • Ain't Afraid of 
No Feminism
  • Ain't Afraid of No Feminism

    The Ghostbusters reboot dishes out laughs with a new team of ghoul chasers
    • Jul 14, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
Too Slim and the Taildraggers

Too Slim and the Taildraggers @ John's Alley

Mon., July 25, 8 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

or

More by Luke Baumgarten

  • Chasing Whales
  • Chasing Whales

    Let's focus less on courting big companies and focus more on nurturing big ideas
    • Feb 5, 2015
  • Completely Repellent
  • Completely Repellent

    How can we expect people to find constructive uses for space that wasn't built for them?
    • Dec 30, 2014
  • Screw Big Cities
  • Screw Big Cities

    A mid-sized manifesto
    • Dec 3, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

Readers also liked…

  • Where Are the Women?
  • Where Are the Women?

    A critic's year-long deep dive into the way movies portray half of humanity
    • May 12, 2016
  • The One Who Knocks
  • The One Who Knocks

    Why an Australian indie called The Babadook became one of 2014's creepiest films
    • Dec 17, 2014

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation