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March 2001, Week 2


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Christine Becker <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 14 Mar 2001 13:25:04 -0600
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Josh Gunn wrote:
>Again, I am more than a little amazed about the attitude some folk take
>toward students!  I find that my students are generally open to learning
>about all kinds of film--from "cinema" to the "movies," as long as I seem
>passionate about both.  They can read Metz and Mulvey too--just have to
>walk them through it.

In response to this and the earlier comment that Bordwell doesn't like
theory: I lead my intro students through Mulvey and most of them get it,
and while they don't always buy the theory, they enjoy seeing how theory is
used to support a particular argument about a film (plus it helps them to
feel smart when they figure her out). I then have them read Noel Carroll's
response to Mulvey, and then introduce them to cognitivism and then
formalism. From there, I show them how similar theoretical concepts
underlie the Bordwell-Thompson analytical approach in Film Art, which
they've been reading for about five weeks prior to this. Students have a
tendency to accept info-laden intro textbooks like Film Art as "the truth,"
and it's helpful to show them that even though it may seem like a simple or
even dry approach, there are still complex theoretical principles in play
that affect how the information is presented, and these are principles that
some in the field disagree with, just as some disagree with Mulvey.

Christine Becker
University of Notre Dame

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