SMC to screen the works of Sam Fuller

Santa Monica College film buffs brace yourselves and get ready because a major series of film screenings are coming your way.

The screenings will feature director Samuel Fuller from December 5 through 7 in the HSS 165. If you're an indie film lover and prefer movies with relatable messages, Fuller is a director who will speak to your inner-film geek. Known in cinema for defying the norm and intentionally making “B” movies, Fuller typically created films that included subtle but powerful messages, perceived by most viewers as ambiguous.

Professors Josh Kanin, Alan Buckley, Steven Kaufman, and previously Salvador Carrasco, all decided to come on board to co-host the feature of the film series on Fuller. They will be joining SMC's Communication and Media Department in association with the Social Sciences Department. Joining attendees includes Samantha Fuller, the late filmmaker’s daughter.

The first film of the four in the series, "The Typewriter, the Rifle & the Movie Camera" will be screened on December 5 at 2:30. The film is about the British Film Institute and features rare footage of Fuller and an interview with Tim Robbins. The film will also include commentary from Martin Scorsese, Jim Jarmusch, and Quentin Tarantino.

"Pickup on South Street" is a spy thriller focusing on the Cold War and Red Scare hysteria when a pickpocket steals a wallet and unveils top secret government information. It will be screened on December 5 at 6 p.m.

"White Dog", shelved until 2008 ironically, due to debates concerning possible racist undertones, the opposite of Fuller's intentions. It was only released twenty-six years later after The Criterion "cleaned up" the content. "White Dog", a disturbing story about a trainer who attempts to retrain a dog to kill and only kill African Americans, touches on racism, sexism, and violence. Fuller often presented these themes in his films as a call to action. The film will be screened on December 6 at 6 p.m.

The "Big Red One", to be screened on December 7 at 6 p.m., honors America’s veterans in memory of Pearl Harbor by recollecting Fuller’s own experiences in the U.S. Army infantry.

Controversial, and often times noncommercial, Fuller directed these films because he believed in the messages behind them.

His film style veers towards realism, often directing documentaries or semi-autobiographical movies. Though Fuller's films didn't break box offices records, his work is not dismissable. The authenticity of his films remained intact while also enveloping passion.

These movies not only offer conversation starting, entertaining material, but there is also a lot of philosophy behind the writing which delves into the social issues that plague each generation.

Fuller’s breadth is more than meets the eye; he is a screenwriter, director, social activist, and soldier in World War II. He dealt with a lot of race relations, political and socioeconomic issues of his time. “His work was controversial but remains relevant to today’s issues (think Ferguson, Missouri),” said Buckley. Before becoming a director, he was a news reporter and soldier, which Buckley believes reflects in his work. “I hope students will learn how theatrical films can inform them about these issues and that they will reflect on the problems of race, poverty, injustice, and war in their own times.”

Kanin finds Fuller's social conscience noteworthy and honorable in the way he exposed corruption and injustice in his movies. "His moves and their subjects are prescient in their own way and they are just as relevant today as when they were released." The works spanned through time, probing new discussion topics to different audiences.

Fuller has been regarded by some in the film community as a maverick of sorts. Kaufman believes he is a philosopher; “One who focuses on the flickering image, and not the classroom, to enable others to think more critically,” he said.

You can see in his movies that he speaks through his passions and writes about important issues not only relevant to him but to the rest of the world. Kaufman sees Fuller as both an artist and philosopher who sought to reveal the complexities of the universe, recognizing the presence of evil and the value of goodness.

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