Final Post/Hours Tomorrow

As I do a final overview of last week’s blog responses, I just wanted to thank you all again for a wonderful course. It’s been a pleasure working with all of you.

I have grading for the course completed. If you want to pick up essays or check on your grade, I will be in Stuzin 255 tomorrow (Tuesday) from roughly 10:00 to 2:00.

Remember, I cannot legally discuss grades via email, so if you want to know it before the final posting, you will need to meet with me in person.

I hope you all have a great holiday and an equally great next semester!

Week 16 Agenda

Week 16 (December 2-8)

MONDAY
Class Activity          Class wrap-up/Final essay questions
Assignments           Pursuing Imperfection in Malick’s Eden

TUESDAY
Screening              Tree of Life
Assignments           Finish final essay (due tomorrow)

WEDNESDAY
Class Activity          Tree of Life discussion
Assignments           Final blog post – class wrap-up – (What have you learned? Favorite film and why? Least favorite film and why?)

Essay 3

Those of you who missed class Friday and/or Monday missed a couple of complete class periods of discussion about how to approach the final essay. I’ve included the basics below, but you need to be sure to read chapter four of your Writing about Film text closely to gain a better understanding of the many possible critical approaches you might apply to your selected film.

Due Wednesday, December 4
2500 words (about 7.5 pages)
MLA format
Research required, including MLA works cited and in-text citations

For this essay, you will select a single film and apply a critical approach to analyze it. While you will focus on one primary approach, other approaches may overlap – for instance, if you examine Blade Runner in the context of its place in the scifi or cyberpunk genre, you will likely want to do some formal analysis that explains how films of the genre work as well as some historical analysis of where the genre was at the time the film was made and, possibly, where it has gone since.

Chapter seven of Writing about Film will be an invaluable resource in finding the best available research materials to back up your arguments.

As ever, email me if you have any questions.

Week 15 Agenda

Week 15 (November 25-December 1)

MONDAY
Class Activity          Continue final essay discussion
Assignments           Wolcott, “Prime Time’s Graduation”
Haglund, “Stop Saying That TV Is Better Than Movies These Days”

TUESDAY
Screening               Television pilots (optional)
Assignments           No blog post

WEDNESDAY
Class Activity          NO CLASS – THANKSGIVING

FRIDAY
Class Activity          NO CLASS – THANKSGIVING

Wow. One More Vote.

Well, folks, it appears we have a three-way tie, so you’re going to have to vote one more time.

Vote by 11:59 pm Tuesday. Choose only one film.

Schindler’s List, Steven Spielberg (1993)
Oskar Schindler is a vainglorious and greedy German businessman who becomes unlikely humanitarian amid the barbaric Nazi reign when he feels compelled to turn his factory into a refuge for Jews. Based on the true story of Oskar Schindler who managed to save about 1100 Jews from being gassed at the Auschwitz concentration camp. A testament for the good in all of us.

Tree of Life, Terrence Malick (2011)
The impressionistic story of a Texas family in the 1950s. The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father. Jack finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith.

Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow (2012)
Maya is a CIA operative whose first experience is in the interrogation of prisoners following the Al Qaeda attacks against the U.S. on the 11th September 2001. She is a reluctant participant in extreme duress applied to the detainees, but believes that the truth may only be obtained through such tactics. For several years, she is single-minded in her pursuit of leads to uncover the whereabouts of Al Qaeda’s leader, Osama Bin Laden. Finally, in 2011, it appears that her work will pay off, and a U.S. Navy SEAL team is sent to kill or capture Bin Laden. But only Maya is confident Bin Laden is where she says he is.

Week 14 Agenda

Week 14 (November 18-24)

MONDAY
Class Activity          Complete Spirited Away
Assignments           “Hugo: Scorsese’s Birthday Present to Georges Méliès”
Blog post – Spirited Away analysis

TUESDAY
Class Activity          Discuss Spirited Away and changes in animation techniques
Screening               Hugo (2011)
Assignments           Blog post – Hugo analysis

WEDNESDAY
Class Activity          Discuss digital versus hand-drawn animation
Assignments           WaF, Chapter 4: “Six Approaches to Writing about Film”
WaF, Chapter 6: “Researching the Movies”

FRIDAY
Class Activity          Approaching the final essay
Assignments          Blog response
FT&C, Friedberg: “The End of Cinema: Multimedia and Technological Change”


Essay 2

I’m posting the Essay 2 description here for you so you won’t need to run back to the syllabus for elucidation.

For your second essay, you will conduct a study of the formal qualities and critical issue associated with a particular film genre.  Your study should elucidate the genre you are studying, explain the formal qualities that identify a film as part of the genre, and discuss two films which exemplify the genre.  Your films must come from two different national cinema traditions. (Note: classic and contemporary “Hollywood” films count as American cinema.).  You must use both primary sources and secondary critiques in this essay.

As I have mentioned in class, there are a number of ways you can approach this essay. Remember, though, that, first and foremost, it is a study of a genre, so – as I noted Friday – you will likely spend about 2/3 of the essay discussing the genre. What are its themes? Is it responding to particular social issues? What techniques do films in this genre typically use? About 1/3 of your essay will likely be devoted to using the two films you have selected to illustrating the points you have made about the genre.

You have a lot of freedom here in terms of structure and approach, so don’t feel hemmed in by this description (one of the reasons I have left this more open-ended than the last). By all means, though, if you are worried about your approach, drop me an email and we can discuss it.