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July 2008, Week 2


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Thu, 10 Jul 2008 19:04:39 -0400
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I think this is confusing a basic repertoire with a canon, in other words performance with study.  Performing arts, or at least collective ones, do have shared repertoire so that the elements and types of performance can be learned whether it's rock bands learning "Louie Louie", lieder singers tackling Schubert or actors doing O'Neill.  Of course it varies - I knew somebody who performed commedia dell'arte who said that here in the US this is pretty esoteric but more common in Europe.  As far as film having a "basic curriculum" or canon there clearly is one whether you view it by person (Lumiere, Melies, Griffith, Welles, Bergman, etc), style (silent melodrama, slapstick, musicals, neo-realism, noir, etc) or some other method.  The catch is that there isn't, and can never be, any agreement on exactly what goes into that canon - trends & tastes change, some works become overly familiar, entire genres may lose appeal (Westerns) and even commerce plays a role (I'd imagine it's tricky to teach Viaggo in Italia or Magnificent Ambersons when there's no DVD or VHS available and your library doesn't have it).  In fact there isn't even "a" canon but several, for different functions.  Isn't it in White Noise that professors play a game of trying to one up each other with what major book they have not read?  

-----Original Message-----
>From: Scott Andrew Hutchins <[log in to unmask]>
>Sent: Jul 7, 2008 3:55 PM
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: [SCREEN-L] universal standard film curriculum
>I'm often asked, especially because I have worked with small opera companies 
>both as singer and crew where most of the people are voice majors and have a 
>standard repertoire of familiarity, what films make up the basic curriculum, and 
>I generally say that aside from _Citizen Kane_ that there really is not one, and 
>then generally shock saying that I have never seen _Gone with the Wind_ in its 
>entirety.  It doesn't seem like a favorite film to teach in the film studies 
>After _Citizen Kane_, it seems to me that _Triumph of the Will_ and _Breathless_ 
>are tops, followed perhaps by _Bicycle Thieves_, _2001:  A Space Odyssey_, and 
>Am I far off the mark here?  I'm not a professor yet--I'm looking into Ph.D. 
>Scott Andrew Hutchins
> [archive site; not currently active]
>"Those who had been successful adapted themselves to the world around them, had bent their greater mental powers into the pattern of acceptable action.  And this dulled their usefulness, limited their capacity, hedged their ability with restrictions set up to fit less extraordinary people."  -- Clifford D. Simak, "Census" (1944)
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