Do it Yourself Film School


Filmmaker and UC Davis professor Jesse Drew says these four films—all available on DVD—are as instructive as they are entertaining. 

“The Red Balloon” directed by Albert Lamorisse, 1956

“It’s a really great film because it’s storytelling in its most basic form. It’s in French, but you really don’t need language to feel its power. You can watch it without even hearing it.”

“Vertigo” directed by Alfred Hitchcock, 1958

“It’s really great at building suspense in a sort of simple way. It also has a nice use of background cinematography that highlights San Francisco.”

“2001: A Space Odyssey” directed by Stanley Kubrick, 1968

“It’s a big-budget sci-fi film but it has very minimal sets and a simple structure that is intelligent.”

“Harlan County U.S.A.” directed by Barbara Kopple, 1976

“It’s a very powerful film. It’s almost a vérité film. I like to recommend films that a person can look at and maybe say to themselves, ‘I can do that.’”