Thank you for your reply.
<<what "things" you need the film to do (i.e.,
narrative structure, formal elements, country of origin, illustrations of
society and culture or politics)>>
I'm afraid I'm something of a Luddite when it comes to video. I have ready
access to an enormous variety of things on 16mm film, so I have avoided video
to this point. Its not so much that I'm anti-video, its just that I think it
is important for film students to see films on film whenever possible and I
am fortunate to have access to the resources to do that.
I have traditionally taught film history from a chronological standpoint
using all the criteria you describe above. However, I am turning over in my
mind the notion of abandoning chronology in favor of a course based on the
development of structure, or perhaps, of themes. I haven't made any firm
decisions yet. I need to balance the teaching of the material and the
increasing tendency of students to be unreceptive to the more traditional
ways of structuring a film course. The last thing I want is to pander to the
increasing ignorance of people to history and to film history in particular,
but I think rigidity in sticking to traditional modes is unwise as well. I'm
balancing those two factors right now.
Gene Stavis - School of Visual Arts, NYC