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October 2007, Week 2


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"Frank, Michael" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 10 Oct 2007 22:09:08 -0400
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thanks dennis . . . i have in fact looked at the norton anthology and
agree that it's a splendid book of its kind . . . . problem is that its
kind is what used to be called practical criticism, studies of
individual films, and what i'm looking for is something more general,
more -- if i may say so -- theoretical, but accessible to beginners . .
.  i'm hoping to find essays that will introduce my students to some of
the larger issues involved in film study, issues such as auteurism,
semiotics, the realism debate, ideological analysis, cognitivsm, genre
theory, and so on . . . and i need to emphasize that i'm not looking for
the kind of essays meant to introduce starting students to these issues,
for those are almost always written down . . . instead i'm hoping to
find essays that are respectable in their own right but are also written
in ways that make them available to novice readers . . . i suspect i'm
asking for the impossible-- but maybe there are some such essays out


-----Original Message-----
From: Film and TV Studies Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
On Behalf Of Dennis Bingham
Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2007 2:37 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [SCREEN-L] pedagagical inquiry

Mike, Have you looked at the collection, FILM ANALYSIS: A NORTON 
READER, edited by Jeffrey Geiger and R.L. Rutsky (W.W. Norton, 2005)?  
Designed to complement intro texts and directed to beginning students, 
it is a chronological anthology of analyses of frequently taught films, 
beginning with ARRIVAL OF THE TRAIN AT LA CIOTAT and ending with ALL 
ABOUT MY MOTHER.  The essays are clear and jargon-free but 
sophisticated treatments of the films in their historical, authorial, 
and production contexts, with thematic and stylistic textual analyses.  
The writers are leaders in the field, often recognized authorities on 
the directors or national cinemas their given film represents.  For 
instance, there's James Naremore on CITIZEN KANE, Tom Gunning on TRIP 
TO THE MOON, Charles Maland on MODERN TIMES, Jane Feuer on SINGIN' IN 
THE RAIN, David Desser on TOKYO STORY, Marcia Landy on ROME OPEN CITY, 
Jon Lewis on THE GODFATHER, Anna Everett on DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST, and 
so on.  The editors' introduction does place the articles in the 
contexts of ideology and culture, but also provides a guide for writing 
about films, with the essays intended to model good film criticism.  
Finally, there is a glossary of film and film studies terms; this is 
similar to what would be found in an intro to film text.

I hope this helps.

Dennis Bingham
Associate Professor and Director of Film Studies
Dept. of English Indiana University School of Liberal Arts
501V Cavanaugh Hall
425 University Blvd.
Indianapolis, IN 46202
(317) 274-9825 (phone)
(317) 278-1287 (fax)

Quoting "Frank, Michael" <[log in to unmask]>:

> i once again find that i need to turn to screen-L with a classroom
> question
> among the classes i teach is an intro to cinema studies course taken
> entirely by first year students with absolutely no background either
> film study or in academic conventions . . . i'm eager to get them to
> start reading in cinema studies, and  [importantly] to learn how to
> write about cinema, by assigning good solid essays that deal with any
> aspect of the field and are [with some hard work] accessible to total
> novices . . . but i find that almost everything i know -- everything
> the anthologies or the journals -- requires a degree of sophistication
> that my students don't come close to having:  concepts and terms such
> "representation," "ideological," "the gaze," "frankfurt school,"
> "semiotic," "overdetermined," "postmodern," and the like so dot our
> texts -- are are so much taken for granted by experienced readers --
> that my students can barely get through a single paragraph . . . of
> course i could explain all of these terms and concepts, but they are
> common in our essays and play such a structuring role that in effect
> have to explain the whole essay to the class which would eliminate the
> whole point of the assignment
> the most obvious alternative is to assign an intro textbook - and
> in fact do operate on the level that i'm looking for  . . . but
> textbooks don't work the way essays work, and represent a kind of
> discourse that i'm not interested in modeling for my students . . .
> so, i'm wondering if any screen-L folks can suggest respectable essays
> [or books] on some aspect of our field [especially material that
> larger theoretical, conceptual, or methodological questions] that
> someone fresh out of high school might be able to read and understand
> thanks in advance for any suggestions
> mike
> ----
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