Reading journals

| March 22, 2014

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Assessment Criteria
Ability to identify key issues, concepts, arguments that are found in the weekly readings.
Ability to explain major ideas/concepts.
Ability to apply ideas/concepts (eg. to examples from films/by engaging with other writers).
Presentation and bibliographic referencing.
Readings 1:
Reviews of Do The Right Thing?, in Mark Reid (ed.) (1997), Spike Lee?s ?Do the Right Thing?, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 134-152.
These reviews provide you with some contemporary responses to the film you will be watching. What criteria are the critics using in making their judgments of the film? How do they differ in style and approach from the more academic writing in the second reading?
Marilyn Fabe, ?Political Cinema: Spike Lee?s Do the Right Thing?, in Closely Watched Films: An Introduction to the Art of Narrative Film Technique, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004: 191-206.
Fabe?s approach is less concerned with judging the film than with trying to explain how it works, and setting it in a broader context of film techniques and film history. Make notes on the explanation Fabe gives of the film.
Screening
Do the Right Thing (US, Spike Lee, 1989, 120 mins)
Reading 2
Timothy Corrigan and Patricia White, ?Exploring a Material World: Mise-en-Sc?ne?, in The Film Experience, Boston: Bedford/St. Martin?s, 2004, 42-74.
Corrigan and White?s book is one of the most recent introductory textbooks, and it offers a checklist of the various components of mise-en sc?ne. Make sure that you have grasped what they are, and carry out some of the activities they suggest. Note what they have to say about the mise-en sc?ne of Do the Right Thing, which you watched last week: does their account enrich your understanding and appreciation of the film?
Screening
Rebel Without a Cause (US, Nicholas Ray, 1955, 111 mins)
This classic film about teenage angst expertly uses mise en sc?ne to convey complex social meanings and to provide visual clues to develop our understanding of the characters and their relationships.
reading 3:
?Authorship and Cinema? (extracts) in Pam Cook (ed.), The Cinema Book (3rd edn.), London: British Film Institute, 2007: 387-390; 398-402; 405-407; 410-411; 413; 416-417; 474-483.
These extracts review the ?classic? version of auteur theory?a way of ascribing value to a film by identifying stylistic and thematic features across the body of films made by a single director?and then examine the critical revival of interest in the approach in recent years.
Robin Wood, ?Vertigo? in Hitchcock?s Films Revisited, New York: Columbia University Press, 1988.
Wood?s chapter on Vertigo is an attempt by an auteurist critic to reassess his original estimation of the film in light of later developments in film studies.
Screening
Vertigo (US, Alfred Hitchcock, 1958, 124 mins)
Alfred Hitchcock is one of the most highly regarded cinematic auteurs of all time. The critics of French film magazine Cahiers du cinema recognised him as a master of both cinematic mise en sc?ne and narrative suspense. As you watch the film, note how Hitchcock emphasises the act of looking and spying and the extent to which we experience the narrative unfold through the perspective of the central male protagonist Scottie played by James Stewart.
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