"I can’t precisely define an Art Film, but I knew I was seeing one when I saw these. I could also call them Adult Films, if that term hadn’t been devalued by the porn industry. These are films based on the close observation of behavior. They are not mechanical constructions of infinitesimal thrills. They depend on intelligence and empathy to be appreciated. They also require acting of a precision not necessary in many mass entertainments. They require directors with a clear idea of complex purposes. They require subtleties of lighting and sound that create a self-contained world. Most of all, they require sympathy. The directors care for their characters, and ask us to see them as individuals, not genre emblems. That requires us to see ourselves as individual viewers, not “audience members.” That can be an intimate experience.”
This piece on NPR made me want to add this book to the To Read list - and go to a monastery - and it’s a nice, short book too.
…I stopped to see a friend, and when he heard the purpose of my trip — to step outside the daily round of distraction and obligation — he pulled a book off his shelf and suggested I might want to take it along for the journey. It was called A Time to Keep Silence
by Patrick Leigh Fermor, and I quickly fell under its spell.
At a mere 95 pages, it is a short read, yet nothing about it makes you want to rush. In the mid-1950s, Fermor, an English travel writer who as a young man once walked from Holland to Turkey, became interested in the life of monks. He decided to visit several Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries in France. A Time to Keep Silence is the record of those visits and it accomplishes something that few books do: It replicates in style and rhythm the very experience that it seeks to describe. The writing is spare, exactingly precise, and then occasionally quite beautiful, just as the life of the monks we hear about are pared down, highly concentrated, and every now and then sublime. In short, it’s a book about the contemplative life that delivers the reader into a contemplation of his or her own.
Alfred Hitchcock, the master of suspense, directed more than 50 feature films during his long career. Today, his work is admired worldwide, and he’s considered one of our finest directors. Although many of his landmark films remain copyrighted, some of his important works, particularly his early ones, have slipped into the public domain.
Open Culture has catalogued 15 Alfred Hitchcock films that you can watch online – completely for free.
Three of my favorites are
The 39 Steps - Free - One of Alfred Hitchcock’s first hits. British thriller is based on the novel with same name by John Buchan. (1935)
The Lady Vanishes – Free – British thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Stars Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave. (1938)
The Man Who Knew Too Much - Free – Starring Peter Lorre, this film was the most acclaimed film of Hitchcock’s British period. Hitchcock remade the film for an American audience with Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day in 1956. (1934)
How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot! The world forgetting, by the world forgot. Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind! Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resign’d; Labour and rest, that equal periods keep; “Obedient slumbers that can wake and weep;” Desires compos’d, affections ever ev’n, Tears that delight, and sighs that waft to Heav’n. Grace shines around her with serenest beams, And whisp’ring angels prompt her golden dreams. For her th’ unfading rose of Eden blooms, And wings of seraphs shed divine perfumes, For her the Spouse prepares the bridal ring, For her white virgins hymeneals sing, To sounds of heav’nly harps she dies away, And melts in visions of eternal day.
excerpt from “Eloisa to Abelard” by Alexander Pope
Advanced Placement in American high schools has become an enormously popular trend, boasting an annual participation of almost 2 million students taking classes in the more than 30 available subjects.
The perceived advantages for students taking Advanced Placement (AP) courses are that they have the opportunity to show their mastery of college-level work to college admission officers and are also able to skip a broad array of introductory level undergraduate courses in many colleges — providing that they achieve a grade of three or higher on a year-end exam (scored on a scale of one to five)…
Over the past decade, however, a growing number of important and influential dissenters have openly rebelled against the trend. [They]contend that AP forces teachers to conduct superficial and mechanical survey courses. They argue the frenetic pace required to cover all the material on an Advanced Placement year-end exam leaves no time for the flexibility and in-depth topic studies conducive to more effective learning..