Screenwriting Blog
Posted on by Courtney Meznarich

This Month in Filmmaking History – May 2021 Roundup

  • On this day in history

    The Celebration

    screenplay by

    • Thomas Vinterberg
    • Mogens Rukov

    The Celebration -

    The Danish black comedy film "Festen," known as "The Celebration" in English, premiered on this day in history in 1998. It is the first example of a Dogme 95 film, which was a Danish artistic movement that limited filmmakers to specific production and narrative rules as a challenge to traditionally expensive Hollywood films. The rules were meant to go back to basics, focusing on traditional values of a story such as acting, theme, plot, avoiding special effects, and even post-production sound editing.  Screenwriter Mogens Rukov and director Thomas Vinterberg wrote the screenplay based on a story told on a Danish radio station by an abused young man. It turned out later that the man made up the story.

  • On this day in history

    The 400
       Blows

    screenplay by

    • Marcel Moussy
    • François Truffaut

    The 400 Blows -

    Considered by many experts to be one of the best French films in history, "The 400 Blows" debuted on this day in history in 1959. François Truffaut and Marcel Moussy wrote the screenplay, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 1960. The film was also Truffaut's directorial debut. It follows a rebellious Parisian boy, a character who is a semi-autobiographical representation of Truffaut. He won the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Director and was nominated for the Palme d'Or.

  • On this day in history

             Academy of
        Motion Picture
    Arts and Sciences

    • Founded 94 Years Ago

    Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences -

    While perhaps best known as the host of The Oscars each year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences does so much more than hand out entertainment awards. Since its first official meeting of just 36 people on this day in history in 1927, the Academy has grown into an organization with nearly 10,000 motion picture professional members with the goal of advancing the arts and sciences of motion pictures. Louis V. Mayer, head of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), said he wanted to create an organization that wasn't a union but could still mediate labor disputes and improve the industry's image. But, as the years went by, the Academy became more focused on awards of merit. It now holds the Governors Awards for lifetime achievement, the Scientific and Technical Awards, the Student Academy Awards, the Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting, and operates the Margaret Herrick Library and the Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study. Later this year, it plans to open the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles.

  • On this day in history

    Amores
      Perros

    screenplay by

    • Guillermo Arriaga

    Amores Perros -

    Guillermo Arriaga wrote the screenplay for "Amores Perros," which premiered on this day in history in 2000. The film, part crime, part thriller, and part comedy-drama, earned a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards. It also won the Ariel Award for Best Picture from the Mexican Academy of Film. The story follows three separate stories connected by a car accident, with heavy themes of inequality, violence, and disloyalty. Dogs are also important to all of the characters somehow, and the film's depiction of dogfighting in Mexico City is said to have played a role in Mexico's outlawing of dogfighting in 2017.

  • On this day in history

    Taste of
    Cherry

    screenplay by

    • Abbas Kiarostami

    Taste of Cherry -

    Abbas Kiarostami wrote, produced, and directed the Iranian drama "Taste of Cherry," which premiered on this day in 1997. The film won the Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or. The story and style are considered minimalist, with long, leisurely shots and no background music. The film is about a man who wants to commit suicide but first attempts to hire someone who can bury him after he does so. He meets three people, and the last agrees but not without first telling a story about how he, too, wanted to commit suicide but changed his mind after tasting mulberries. The ending of the movie, without revealing too much, breaks the fourth wall.

  • On this day in history

    Cronos

    screenplay by

    • Guillermo del Toro

    Cronos -

    The Mexican horror-drama film "Cronos," written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, debuted on this day in history in 1993. Although it was Toro's first feature-length film, it is now recognized by cinema experts as one of the great Spanish-language horror films of all time for its originality, mythology, and acting. The plot centers on a mysterious device that is meant to give its user eternal life. The device is rediscovered after being hidden for 400 years. Toro created a sequel, released in 2010, titled "We Are What We Are."

  • On this day in history

       Star Wars: Episode I –
    The Phantom
     Menace

    screenplay by

    • George Lucas

    Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace -

    Though it is the fourth film to be released chronologically, "Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace" begins the Skywalker saga and is the first in the prequel trilogy. The film debuted on this day in history in 1999, nearly 25 years after George Lucas wrote and directed "Star Wars" in 1977. Lucas felt that computer-generated imagery, or CGI, had finally advanced far enough to make his vision for the film a reality. Though it was the second highest-grossing film worldwide that year behind "Titanic," critics gave the movie mixed reviews. Most praised the CGI but felt the screenplay and Jar Jar Binks and Anakin's characterization fell flat. "Attack of the Clones" followed in 2002, and "Revenge of the Sith" rounded out the trilogy in 2005.

  • On this day in history

    In the Mood
      for Love

    screenplay by

    • Wong Kar-Wai

    In the Mood for Love -

    Wong Kar-Wai wrote, produced, and directed "In The Mood For Love," which premiered on this day in history at the Cannes Film Festival in 2000. The Hong Kong romantic drama tops many best-of lists and is considered one of the great works of Asian cinema. The plot centers on a man and a woman whose spouses had an affair and the love connection that eventually develops between them. Critics praised the actors' performances and Wong Kar-Wai's "profoundly moving reflections on life fundamentals," including not just love, but loss, betrayal, loneliness, and the passage of time. The film was nominated for but did not win the Palme d'Or at Cannes that year.

  • On this day in history

    The Host

    screenplay by

    • Bong Joon Ho
    • Ha Won-jun
    • Baek Chul-hyun

    The Host -

    Bong Joon-ho, Ha Won-jun, and Baek Chul-hyun wrote the screenplay for the highly anticipated South Korean monster film, "The Host," which premiered on this day in history in 2006. The film's release followed Joon-ho's successful film, "Memories of Murder," so "The Host" was released on a record number of South Korean screens upon its debut. The story follows a man whose daughter is kidnapped by a monster. Joon-ho said a deformed fish with a crooked spine that washed up in the Han River inspired the monster. Critics in the U.S. gave the film high marks upon its release in American markets in 2007. A US remake has been in development with Universal Studios since November 2008.

  • On this day in history

    The Good, the Bad,
         the Weird

    screenplay by

    • Kim Jee-woon
    • Kim Min-suk

    The Good, the Bad, the Weird -

    The South Korean Western "The Good, the Bad, the Weird," premiered on this day in 2008 at the Cannes Film Festival, inspired by Sergio Leone's "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly." Directed and written by Kim Jee-woon and co-written by Kim Min-suk, there are two versions of the script – one for the Korean market and one for the international version of the film released in the U.S. in 2010. The Korean version features several more minutes of footage and a more upbeat ending. Critics praised the film as a brilliant mashup of East meets West, but some felt it was overly violent and the screenplay overly simplistic. It remains one of the highest-grossing films of all time in South Korea.

  • On this day in history

    The Tree
    of Life

    screenplay by

    • Terrence Malick

    The Tree of Life -

    Terrence Malick's highly praised film "The Tree of Life" premiered on this day in history at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, taking home the prestigious Palme d'Or Award that year. The film features big-name talent, including Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, and centers on a man's childhood memories from growing up in Texas in the 1950s while exploring the origins of life. Malick first started the screenplay for what would become this film back in the 70s but didn't pick up the idea again until the 2000s. The story was considered an ambitious and challenging undertaking. Penn would later say that while the screenplay was "one of the most magnificent" he had ever read, it was difficult to convey the same emotion on screen. He said he felt like a more conventional narrative would have made the film stronger without lessening its overall impact. Still, the film tops many best-of lists.

  • On this day in history

    Ian Fleming

    • Born 113 Years Ago

    Ian Fleming -

    Author, journalist, and naval intelligence officer Ian Fleming was born on this day in history in 1908. Before his death in 1964, he would write 11 novels that told the stories of the James Bond, an officer in the Secret Intelligence Service known as MI6. Those stories now rank among the top-selling books of all time, and of course, have inspired a pop-culture obsession with Bond, from films to more books, to cars, clothing, and martinis shaken, not stirred. Fleming once revealed that he would write approximately 2,000 words per day over three to four hours in the morning and one hour in the evening, never looking back to read what he wrote so he could continue to move forward.

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