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July 2008, Week 2


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Mike Chopra-Gant <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 10 Jul 2008 20:49:28 +0100
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It depends what your aim is. Citizen Kane, although well received
critically at the time and since, was pretty much ignored by contemporary
cinema audiences who, on the whole, thought it was awful. So if you are
following the conventional route of film studies, looking at film as art
and emphasising aesthetic concerns then Citizen Kane may be an acceptable
choice. On the other hand, however, if you have any concern for cinema as
a social institution and the historical dimensions of film exhibition then
in my opinion Citizen Kane (and many of the other films in the film
studies Canon) is not a particularly instructive example. As I said, it
largely depends on what you think film studies is (or should be) all


> 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
> community.
> 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
> _Yojimbo_.
> Am I far off the mark here?  I'm not a professor yet--I'm looking into
> Ph.D.
> programs.
> --
> 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)
> ----
> Learn to speak like a film/TV professor! Listen to the ScreenLex
> podcast:

Dr. Mike Chopra-Gant
Reader in Media, Culture and Communications

020 7133 5050
[log in to unmask]
SKYPE: mikechopragant

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Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite