FilmBar offers the ‘Duel’ benefit of film facts and fun

(Sierra LaDuke/DD)
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If politeness has ever held you back from asking for clarification during a movie, then FilmBar’s Film School is the place for you.

ASU Professor Joe Fortunato begins every film screening by warning the audience: “There’s gonna be a guy talking during the movie.”

Unlike the annoying whispers of people in movie theaters, Fortunato’s live commentary serves a valuable purpose of enlightening and entertaining his audience.

FilmBar’s monthly Film School, which started two years ago, gives local cinephiles the opportunity to learn about the filmmaking process, from stories about the film’s creation to trivia and bloopers.

“I love introducing people to something new,” Fortunato said. “It’s become a mini-community. It pretty much sells out every time.”

In a typical screening, the first five or 10 minutes are spent introducing the film. After the movie begins, Fortunato will periodically pause it to offer an artistic analysis of the clip. He can discuss anything, from a notable shot or impressive camera techniques to bloopers, which are always an audience favorite.

“It adds about 15 minutes to the run-time,” Fortunato said.

Once the credits roll, the discussion opens up to the audience and it functions as a book club for movie buffs. Fortunato said this interaction appeals to a wide audience and that notable films are a frequent feature.

Past films include “Citizen Kane” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Every other month the FilmBar Film School switches to the Spielberg Film School.

The next film will be a departure from the famous films the Film School’s audience is used to. Fortunato will analyze “Duel,” one of Steven Spielberg’s earliest films, on Nov. 6.

“‘Duel’ is about as obscure as it gets for Spielberg,” Fortunato said.

One of the central focuses of the night will be its relation to “Jaws.”

“‘Duel’ was the template for ‘Jaws,’” Fortunato said. “It’s often described as ‘Jaws with a truck.’ They both share the lineage of a leviathan beast that is mindlessly pursuing prey.”

“I want people to have fun first and learn second,” Fortunato said. “I want people to leave with a new appreciation for a film they already love, or is more or less an American or worldwide classic.”

“Duel” will play at the FilmBar Film School at 7 p.m. on Nov. 6. After that, the school will return on Dec. 4 with “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Contact the columnist at sosulli2@asu.edu

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