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December 1993


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Robert Withers <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 27 Dec 1993 20:52:46 EST
text/plain (45 lines)
On Tue, 28 Dec 1993 14:36:12 +1200 Harriet E. Margolis said:
>>  Robert Withers <[log in to unmask]>  writes:
>>> For my introductory film course for undergraduate education majors (paired
>>> with an education course on literacy and whole language) I tried showing
>>> "Sherman's March" as an example of a kind of direct first person film that
>>> connects the personal and the political.  The problem is, the film is
>>> about a half-hour too long and bogs down too much at first with an
>>> extended profile of a would-be actress who is not very sympathetic.  So
>>> many of the students didn't connect.
>        Ouch.  It pains me to hear this, both because, as a Tar Heel (as is
>McElwee) SHERMAN'S MARCH _does_ speak to me, and because I'm currently
>planning to show it in our department's intro Hist & Crit course.
     I had trouble with this film the first time I tried to watch it myself.
Something about the pacing -- and that actress.  But having tried again, I
found it compelling and unique.   Every film class is different, though.  The
group I showed it to was all-female, New York urban environment, education
majors.  Some liked it, of course, but not enough got interested.
>                If the Maori material sounds of interest, ask me about them
>in a couple of weeks.  Then we can explore their availability in the
>States.  Merata Mita, it may help to know, appears as an entry in _The
>Women's Companion to International Film_.
>        TONGUES UNTIED is wonderful, but it is likely to pose problems,
>given its subject matter.  It's certainly poetic, but not obviously first
     Yes, and the first person aspect is very important.  It ties in with
things the students are doing in their paired education class, and it also
serves as a point of comparision with two other films I show, "Sugar Cane
Alley," which is a conventional realist narrative film based on a first person
memoir, and a video version of Anna Devere Smith's "Fires in the Mirror," in
which she presents a series of first person "impersonations" of people she has
interviewed about racism and the Crown Heights deaths and riots in Brooklyn.
So I was looking for something that was even more directly first person, and
also dealt with political/social issues.  Don't know if your Maori film is
like that. But thanks for the response.
Robert Withers
Film Department              That was zen, this is tao . . .
Brooklyn College
Brooklyn, New York 11210     Bitnet:   [log in to unmask]
(718) 951-5664               Internet: [log in to unmask]