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March 1995, Week 3


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Susan Denker <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 17 Mar 1995 10:44:18 CST
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----------------------------Original message----------------------------
 In discussing why film studies faculty in America don't teach more
non-American film, I think the real answer is: Unless there's a known
book or article on the director or topic, it isn't taught.  As if we don't
dare to try to think of something to say for ourselves.  No one
avoids Kurosawa whether they've seen other Japanese films or not,
because they have so many books to help them out with what to say.
Same for Ray.  To teach without a *source* is hard, but not
impossible.  It just requires a little faith in your own judgment
that the film is worth seeing and a little modesty about how much you
know.  It's amazing how much more you know after just a little work.
Wasn't that the point of graduate school?  To teach us to think
independently?  Plus, there are other resources.  There's literary,
cultural, historical, political, theoretical material that can be
brought to bear on a film.  Teaching a multi-cultural syllabus is not
hard, it just takes a little creativity.  If there's nothing written on
it, I say, do it anyway!! Your students will thank you for the effort.
Sorry if this was a speech. I really believe in the importance of global
Susan Denker
Tufts University/Museum School