I mentioned previously that I have been taking a film class. My education seriously lacks in the visual arts department aside from photography, and I'm always trying to open my eyes and mind and improve my photography skills.
Growing up, I didn't see much movies or TV. When I moved to NYC I started actually seeing films and taking advantage of the independent screenings and film festivals. Once Netflix came about, I was almost obsessive with my watching. Despite not ever having a television, I made up for lost time and immersed myself in films. While most pop-culture film references are completely lost on me, I'm happy to cozy up to a film nerd at a party and chat about cinematic geniuses, and actors and actresses of yore.
So this film class. Lots of silent films and early talkies on the syllabus. Many of them are rarities and hard to find, so they had flow under my radar completely.
I loved the gritty Josef Von Sternberg "Docks of New York".
It was the first film to have women smoking on camera. Take that, Morocco.
The so very melodramatic Borzage's "Street Angel" was also new to me.
"Street Angel" has a much more sappy and romantic theme that leaves you overcome by the vapors.
Plus, get a good luck at Borzage himself:
Holy mother of god. He's my new favorite dead-guy crush.
Both films, like most silent films, have rather simple and slow-moving plots, but each scene is carefully composed. The beauty in both of these films is the lighting. Oh, the lighting. The light really becomes almost like a character itself, and it is used to great effect in a time when sound was not yet an option and there was no dialogue to set the tone. Do yourself a favor- watch them for the lighting. It's totally inspirational.