"small film festival" at the Berkeley Art Center
Thursday, October 23rd, 7:30 p.m.
An evening with Richard von Busack, film critic for the San Jose Metro Newspaper, co-host of Cinema Scene (CTV Santa Cruz.)
Using clips ranging from Thomas Ince's 1914 The Wrath of the Gods up
to Transformers (2007) von Busack will show how every era in film increases the technical superiority of portraying disaster, and each generation insists on a wider scope of the wreckage.
In the 1990s, as digital effects predominated, a new emphasis began on the scale of destruction over the scale of the heroism. The disaster became more lovingly imagined; the latter (in movies like Armageddon, Sudden Impact and Independence Day) were carried out by a blandly mixed group of actors. The personality of the heroes were less important than the targets of the disaster. The world's elitists got it first in the big cities, New York and Paris in Armageddon; LA in Volcano, DC in Sudden Impact. I still recall the applause (mocking or heartfelt? hard to say) when the White House was blasted by aliens in Sudden Impact. Once again, as in Ince's day, the catastrophe was back to punish the impious and the arrogant.
Then came Sept. 11, a real-life disaster anticipated in so many movies...what followed was a supposed increase in realism to match the realistic visuals. In the past, Bond deliciously averted the atomic countdown at the last second; now the nuclear bomb even goes off in 2002's The Sum of All Fears...
Free popcorn (first come, first served!)