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April 1991


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"Joseph C. Ebert" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 12 Apr 91 10:28:50 EST
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                  I N T E R O F F I C E   M E M O R A N D U M
                                        Date: 12-Apr-1991 08:56am GMT
                                        From: Joseph C. Ebert
                                        Dept: Education Comm. Center
                                        Tel No: X4759
TO: Remote RSCS/NJE Network User ( _JNET%SCREEN-L@UA1VM )
Allow me to re-introduce myself, because I think my earlier introduction fell
into the electronic abyss of e-mail purgatory.
I joined SCREEN-L a few weeks ago, and have been wonderfully refreshed by
reading (and responding occasionally to) the discussions that take place. After
spending the first week getting error messages from my listserver here at SUNY
Binghamton, it seems a couple messages actually got out.
I'm SUNY Binghamton's only Video Director. While I write, direct and produce
programs for the University (and beyond) that don't require any underlying
premise or veiled meaning or symbolic interpretation, I make it a point to
develop some programs that have some interpretive value. That is, "it's a
drama about an alcoholic, but what's the merry-go-round scene got to do with
My feeling is that many programs are merely spoon-feeding an audience with
information, and disregarding the audience's (the class) ability to come to some
conclusions of its own, either collectively or individually. So, when I can, I
think it's good to lead the audience in a certain way, and let them come to
their own conclusions. I'd much rather have viewers discuss the intent
(meaning, content, form, characters, etc.) of the program after a showing than
say, "well, that's over, let's go to the pub".
Since many of our "clients" don't want programs that can be interpreted, it's
sometimes difficult to maintain any kind of fluency in the language of the
"moving image" (I'll stay away from the film-vs.-video controversy).
So, even though I don't teach film/video/cinema, this discussion group is
wonderfully refreshing...especially the disagreements. It's difficult to keep
up with all of the correspondence, sometimes :)
One question...maybe a topic for discussion...The Hollywood Ending...
I personally dislike "the happy ending" that Hollywood seems to think
movie-goers want (maybe they do!). Of course, it has its place, I'm not saying
that there shouldn't be happy endings! But, if Fatal Attraction had ended when
Micheal Douglas put down the knife in Glenn Close's apartment (with fingerprints
and all) like it was originally supposed to, it would have been an excellent
movie...but with the evil-doesn't-ever-win mentality of Hollywood producers,
well, everything came out hunky-dory...
To what end The Happy Ending?
Is it the pursuit of $$$$?
The opiate of the masses?