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Great Brown South - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
cbertsch
cbertsch
Great Brown South
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From: babyiwasshot Date: December 3rd, 2007 10:58 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

more on academic film crit.: last one, i promise

I haven't taken ENGL 300 because the films they watch are really just filmed plays. "Old guard," academic critics so revere movies made BEFORE 1960 because thse films are INCREDIBLY literary; one can analyze Shane in the same way that he/she does the book, because the movie is damn near a play.

Try to get Dr. White to analyze Godard's Tout Va Bien or Kar-Wai's Chungking Express and she may (big "may," here; I don't know her) be utterly LOST! Why? It's THOROUGHLY cinematic, which means that it's as much a VISUAL experience as it is literary, but many academic critics dismiss all that is "visual" as superficial "spectacle." The reason that Tarantino and Woody Allen are so revered by academic critics, in fact, may be due to the fact that their movies are shaped like modernist NOVELS.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: December 4th, 2007 01:43 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: more on academic film crit.: last one, i promise

I hear you on Blood Simple from a plot standpoint. But I still think Fargo is closer in spirit to No Country For Old Men because of the way the latter two films handle landscape. Also, although the terms "noir" and "Western" are overused, certainly, I do think they are appropriate here.

As for your other point, it might interest you to know that Professor White is way into Godard and would surely love to discuss his work. It's important to remember, as far as your critique goes, that English 300 is A) billed as "Film and Literature" and B) a class that Gen-Ed students take. When I taught 300, I showed Dziga Vertov's Man With a Movie Camera, one of Godard's chief inspirations, and Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow Up, a film that indulges in some of Godard's everything-goes aesthetic of experimentation and found that many students in the class lacked the training and perhaps also the capability to engage with film as form in the way that those pictures require.
jstgerma From: jstgerma Date: December 4th, 2007 02:42 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: more on academic film crit.: last one, i promise

When I took 300, we watched Tank Girl, Terminator 2, and Josie and the Pussycats, among others, and I'm still pretty sure our poor teacher found that many students lacked the capability to understand the films as anything but entertainment.

The only thing better than Gen Ed English classes are summer Gen Ed English classes.
From: babyiwasshot Date: December 4th, 2007 02:47 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: more on academic film crit.: last one, i promise

Hah. See; I suspected I'd eat my words here. It's bad, I suppose, to reason that the content of a course reflects the confort zone/proclivities of the instructor....Then again, part of me thinks it SHOULD: the student's not a customer so much as he/she is a subject; he/she pays to be CHALLENGED, not accommodated.

I was also unaware that 300 was a gen. ed., which would certainly explain the dumbing down that goes into planning it, yet this is an issue with regard to which I'm EXTREMELY unforgiving: if the students are lazy and refuse to even ATTEMPT to "get" film as form, or are simply not intelligent enough to get film as form, then I say (a) "fuck 'em" and (b) "fail 'em" because they are clearly--using my own experience to inform this opinion--making the students who are either intelligent or assiduous enough to "get it" suffer on account of their ignorance. Further, they're making the reputation of the faculty suffer, as well (as my earlier misconception so clearly evinces)--plus it has GOT to be an aggravating experience for an instructor, attempting to transcend the apathy of the students and the failures of the public education system in teaching them.

I own Blow-Up, although it's currently being borrowed by Prof. Gallego; I lent it to him on account of similarities I saw between it and Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 (the bands featured in both, the overarching paranoia and questioning of reality, the counter/pop-cultural aspects, etc.; both capture the sixties really well, though they're set in different regions).

Vertov's influence is more prevalent in later Godard, such as Tout Va Bien (which some have read as a cinematic critique of Althusser) and the highly obscure flicks like Vent d'est, but perhaps also in the earlier films, as well.

As for the coens; my chiding was referencing the plotting specifically. ou're right; the setting becomes a character in many of their films (making them, perhaps, "gothic" in a way): lebowski=LA; fargo=upper midwest; no country=texas; arizona=arizona; etc.
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