When can we sing? Film musicals perpetually challenge us with this question through the disruption of film’s “realistic” story worlds with song and dance. Using this question as a starting point, FilmScene 101 will explore the movie musical’s first fifty years through four films that celebrate and challenge the classic Hollywood model.
After the rain and snow of his Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Jacques Demy’s Young Girls of Rochefort steps out into sunny skies and dance-friendly plazas. A droll homage to the Hollywood musical that remains a touchstone for contemporary filmmakers.
Barbra Streisand shines as writer, director, star, and producer of this historical drama. Yentl adopts a male identity to join a yeshiva and is drawn to classmate Mandy Patinkin. Celebrating its 40th anniversary, Yentl features songs by Rochefort composer, Michel Legrand.
Judy Garland’s quirky family prepares for the 1904 World’s Fair by riding trollies and smashing snowmen to the strains of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Vincente Minnelli’s wartime film balances yesteryear nostalgia with bristly humor.
Hang on to your (top) hat as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers stumble over mistaken identities, land in Venice, and dance “Cheek to Cheek” to an Irving Berlin score. Shown on 35 mm!