Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Movies -- What is a Western? Off geographic topic, but great film series on the Western

By Ruth Ellen Gruber

What is a Western? The Autry National Center in Los Angeles is hosting a great-looking film series on the Western that will explore the development of the movie genre, locating it in the broader social and cultural context and linking it to other pop culture genres.

What is a Western? Film Series

The Autry National Center announces the creation of a new film series that explores how movies have both mirrored and influenced larger social and cultural issues in the American West. It will challenge popular notions of what a Western is by showcasing various genres that can arguably be considered Western. All films will be tied to the Autry’s collection and current exhibitions, providing the audience a unique perspective on the objects and artifacts as they are viewed through an interpretive cinematic lens. Jeffrey Richardson, Associate Curator of Western History and Popular Culture, will offer key insights into each film before and after the screenings.
Other genres will include film noir, focusing on industrialization and urbanization in the mid-20th century; beach films from the 1950s and ‘60s, highlighting the youth revolution and social changes; urban police films from the 1970s and ‘80s, exploring the movement away from traditional Westerns in rural settings to urban locations; and space films, which incorporate the same conventions of traditional Westerns and launch them into outer space.

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