Thursday, March 29, 2012

Anyone Remember Kukla Fran & Ollie?

Does anyone remember Kukla Fran & Ollie from the 70s - I'm not talking about their earlier show of the 1950s era - I was too young for that.  I'm talking about the Saturday Morning kids show where they would have a bit part in between the film they were showing (kukla, fran & ollie were two puppets and a human).  I have such odd and specific memories about that show.

What I remember is that I loved the movies they showed on Saturday morning.  It was a CBS show actually called the CBS Children's Film Festival.  And the shows were all foreign films.  Many of them dubbed into English.  It's where I first saw Pippi Longstocking and The Red Balloon and a bunch of other films that really stuck in my brain.  I remember realizing they were dubbed but not caring too much because the films were compelling.

It's interesting that they thought kids were sophisticated enough to want to watch something like The Red Balloon during the middle of Saturday morning cartoons.  Sometimes I think we really don't give kids enough credit.  But I just can't see us now having such a high brow concept for children's programming.

Anyway I suspect my liking foreign films started with this show.

But I really didn't see any from the time that show was cancelled until I went to BYU in 1987.  At BYU they had the french & italian cinema (which wasn't just french and italian films).  There I saw some of these:

synpopsis:  a film that observes life rather than dramatic happenings, the title refers to apocrypha which talks of Christ visiting Italy, but stopping short of going all the way to the remote village portrayed in the film.  A doctor is sent to live here as his prison sentence by Mussolini and he ends up helping the people. It is incredibly slow but beautiful in it's own way.

synopsis:  a heartbreaking story set in a boys school during world war II where a jewish boy is hiding amongst his peers.  The story is autobiographical for Louis Malle.  

synopsis:  a film set in rural provence, largely about land rights and water rights and a little bit about unrequited love.

synopsis:  sequel to Jean de Florette, and about a lot of the same material though we also spend a fair amount of time watching Emmanuelle Beart as a shepherdess

synposis:  The Green Ray is largely about a very out of sorts french woman who wanders around france for most of the film.  The Rayon Vert refers to when one sees a green ray at sunset as written about by Jules Verne - it means that you will be capable in that moment of understanding other people's thoughts and motives.  

Have I sold you on any of these yet?  I mean, with the exception of Au Revoir Les Enfants, I don't even think a single one of these could get made in the United States - there's just not enough plot driven action for most people.  But honestly?  Those films remain some of my favorites ever.  When a foreign film isn't good it can be really awful (though I would argue no more awful than a bad U.S. film) but when they're good?  They are really really great and often surpass anything else I see in a given year.  

Last week I saw "The Skin I live In".  It was GORGEOUS.  It was like a feast for the eyes.  The colors and the photography were so good. The plot was super interesting too.  I really enjoyed it.  But if I told you the plot, I think I'd have a hard time selling you on it.  

Set in Spain.  Weird Dr. who develops a synthetic skin.  

Are you sold?

didn't think so.


I blame Kukla Fran & Ollie.  

1 comment:

Suzanne Barker said...

I saw quite a few of those era of films. Not as much now. Just watch a lot less movies than in the past.


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