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Film 101

An advanced degree isn't required to enjoy watching movies. But Denver Art Museum film-series curator Tom Delapa believes that better understanding the medium's vocabulary can make the experience even more satisfying, and he aims to prove it with ABCs of Cinema, a six-week class that starts tonight.

According to Delapa, each session will focus on different aspects of the moviemaking art — sound, lighting, cinematography and so on — and cramming isn't required. "It's a totally introductory way of learning the grammar of film by very painless methods: no grades, no papers, and I show lots of video clips," he says. Material ranging from Sherlock Jr., a groundbreaking 1924 Buster Keaton flick, to Stanley Kubrick's trippy 1968 offering, 2001: A Space Odyssey, will be up for discussion, with Delapa explaining the basics using appropriate sequences. For instance, he'll illustrate cross-cutting by screening the portion of 1972's The Godfather in which Al Pacino, as rising mob boss Michael Corleone, takes part in a baptism while his minions are meting out bloody revenge against his assorted enemies. "It's a great scene for editing and montage," Delapa says, "because we see him in a Catholic church at the same time he’s basically doing the devil's work." That's the kind of coursework everyone can appreciate.

ABCs of Cinema runs from 6:30 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. Wednesdays through March 14 at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway. Tuition is $75 for DAM members and students, $85 for everyone else. Registration info is available at 720-913-0051 or
Wed., Feb. 7, 6:30-9:15 p.m.


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