An introduction to film per decade: the 1960s
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Nostalgia is a theme that's all but part and parcel with cinema, particularly within the last few years. The success of reference-driven films like Ready Player One and Isle of Dogs, on top of the endless slew of remakes and reboots on our plate show that studios and audiences alike aren't quite ready to let go of the past. Indeed, you'd be hard pressed to find a recent box office success that doesn't flirt with the idea of the past, whether directly or indirectly. With that in mind, we're taking a look back at cinema's own past, starting with perhaps the most seminal period that paved the way for film to finally be recognised as a true art form: the 1960s. 1. Psycho (1960) Psycho isn’t considered one of the most iconic films of all time just for its score. Right from the opening scene of two half-naked lovers sharing a bed, it set a new precedent for how previously taboo imagery could be shown in a Hollywood film. Even a shot of a toilet being flushed was considered daring. Then, of course, there’s the shower scene, in which (spoiler!) our leading lady is brutally stabbed to death before we’ve even reached the halfway point. For an audience used to a more classic structural model, this was unheard of. Some therefore call it the first true slasher, as well as the the ‘first psychoanalytical thriller’ due to the disturbing relationship between Norman Bates and his mother. 2. 8½ (1963) The title comes from the film being Federico Fellini’s eighth and a half feature film. While the Italian director had already made his international mark with the likes of La Strada and La Dolce Vita, 8½ went on to influence the likes of David Lynch, François Truffaut, Terry Gilliam, and even inspired a Broadway musical. The film centres around Guido Anselmi, an Italian film director suffering from a creative block while preparing to shoot an epic sci-fi, though really it’s a comedically surrealist exploration in finding happiness and acceptance through the people in your life. 3. Dr. Strangelove (1964) Stanley Kubrick’s political black comedy satirises the nuclear anxieties of the Cold War, and follows the U.S. President, his advisers and an RAF officer, as they desperately try to reverse the orders of an attack on the Soviet Union by a rogue Air Force general. It is not the most comical of situations but the razor-sharp script, as well as the central three performances from Peter Sellers (one of which includes the titular Dr. Strangelove, a wheelchair-using nuclear expert and ex-Nazi) make it one of the funniest and most memorable films of the decade. 4. Pierrot le Fou (1965)
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