For your Group Exercise, I don’t want to be too directive. I just want you all to try to figure out the madness that is avant-garde cinema.
Let me suggest two approaches.
1. Find a scene in one of the films that epitomizes avant-garde film.
2. Find a scene in one of the films that is particularly problematic and confusing. (Together you may be able to get some insight into that scene and that film.)
I will be circulating, as always, and will be glad to tackle any questions about the films that you toss at me.
And, as always, have someone take notes and choose someone (probably the same person) who will summarize your discussion for the rest of the class.
First of all, share with each other what you were examining in your in-class writing assignment.
Then discuss one or both of the following questions (depending on time):
1. How does Zero Dark Thirty compare to your experience of 9/11 and the War on Terror (that is, the time period in the United States from September 11, 2011 to the present)?
2. Who are some of the directors you know that you would call auteurs? Be ready to consider whether these directors are 1. technically competent (or excellent), 2. have a recognizable personality (common themes and individual style), and 3. reveal interior meaning (underlying tension between the director’s vision and the subject matter).
As usual, start your group activity by discussing with each other what you were just writing about in the in-class writing assignment.
Then I want you as a group to make a list of three or more films you’ve seen that seem to be influenced by the French New Wave, according to the three main qualities listed below. Pick one of those films for a more in-depth discussion. If you can, pick out a scene from your film and compare it to a scene in Weekend.
Make sure someone in your group takes notes in order to summarize your group discussion when groups report back at the end of the class.
Three main qualities of the French New Wave:
- Alienation (or distancing)
For your group exercise, find, stream, and discuss an example in Far From Heaven of one or two of the following:
1. Bourgeois supremacy (capitalism, class conflict)
1. Male supremacy
2. White supremacy
Make sure someone takes notes to summarize your discussion for the rest of the class.
As usual, for your group exercise I would like you to meet with your group, briefly discuss what you wrote during the in-class writing assignment (your ideas about your paper), then stream the film of the week to find significant scenes to examine and discuss together.
Don’t bother writing up a paragraph summarizing your discussion. But do have someone take notes or otherwise be responsible for summarizing your discussion for the rest of the class when we re-group at the end of the class period.
This week the film is Apocalypse Now (Redux) and the topic of the week is sound design, so I would like you to find something interesting in the film that deals with sound design.
It would be even better if you could relate the use of sound to one of the major themes in the film.
1. War vs. Peace (specifically the Vietnam War)
2. Barbarism vs. Civilization
3. Rationality vs. Irrationality (Insanity)
4. East (Asia) vs. West (United States)
5. 1960s-1970s Counterculture (sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll)
Or focus on a particular song on the soundtrack:
- “The End” by The Doors (beginning of film)
- “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones (on boat)
- “Suzi Q” by Dale Hawkins (also covered by Creedence Clearwater Revival) (Playboy Bunnies CSO show)
- “Surfing USA” by the Beach Boys (Clean sings it a cappella on the boat)
In your discussion, focus on the editing in Psycho. Identify how one of the following elements of editing plays a significant part in one of the scenes in the film:
- Collage (comparison/contrast of imagery)
- Tempo (shot length and transitions)
- Timing (coordinating cutting, condensing and expanding time)
- Use of space (shot/reverse shot, eyeline match, group dynamics, cutaways, continuity)
Bring the film up at ELMS and stream it to find the scene you wish to discuss.
Pick a spokesperson and note-taker to summarize for the class your discussion when we re-convene to discuss the film as a big group.
For your Group Exercise, begin by discussing what you were just writing about (themes in Citizen Kane, and cinematography).
But, unlike the in-class writing assignment, please just concentrate on cinematography is Citizen Kane.
The following are the six aspects of cinematography according to your textbook.
By streaming the film, find as many instances of these six aspects as you can.
- The camera in time: long take, fast motion, slow motion
- The camera in space: height, angle, distance
- Camera movement (pans, tilts, dolly and tracking shots, aerial shots
- Lenses and filters (normal, wide-angle, telephoto)
- Film stock and filters (under- or over-exposed, film stock, color)
- Special effects (during shooting and post-production)