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THTRFLM 1T03 (114)
Lecture 2

1T03 week 2 reading.docx

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Theatre & Film Studies
Peter Cockett

1T03 week 2 reading: Film As Cultural Practice 01/17/2014 Film in the Realm of Culture • One of largest commercial endeavors in LA, beating out the military as city’s industrial base • Have emotional /moral impacts on human beings • Have a way of relating to the viewer • However, compared to other art forms, film is often viewed as exploitative, commercial, stupid • Many producers believe that targeted audience is between 15-35, who need vicarious experience delivered in violent, sexual, banal ways • People who enjoy the “better” side of film are left with this assumption as well • Fear that cultural standards are being lowered by popular culture/mass media causes distrust, condemnation, and cynicism • We still love movies/television Culture as Text • Some truth in every negative statement about popular culture • Need to find broader definition that considers negatives about pop culture, but also sees all of its seriousness/playfulness • Culture – the texts of our lives, the pattern of beliefs, acts, responses, artifacts we produce/comprehend everyday • Coherence, system, order are the highlights of what makes up a text • Anything with known boundries is a text • Culture is a text: • Made by people in history • It can be “read” and understood – can make perfect sense of their behavior Subcultures • The culture’s culture is what we think of as the difficult, personal art we have to engage deeply to understand • This is considered “low” culture • Popular culture is often scorned by “high” culture • The difference between cultures often create stereotypes • Pop culture commodities are not a product of individual imagination, but calculations of large corporations marketing toward a certain environment • Even wider, more profound, potentially dangerous splits between subcultures who enjoy products of pop culture Media and Cultures • The roots are complex and often changing • In European culture, the “serious” production of the arts goes back to the MiddleAges • Belonged to the royal courts • “lower classes” had arts based on traditions • the rise of the middle class during the Italian Renaissance brought high culture out of the palaces and into the public • C18th: middle class expanded across Europe, creating their own culture • Novel was developed, aiming at middle class women who liked to read • Melodrama (drama w/ music) was born of the novel • Melodrama was form of satisfaction; communal expression of a class desire for stability, place, confirmation of values • Music Hall became popular by mid C19th • For pop culture to become mass culture, storage/distribution methods have to be developed • This became easier once technologies were developed • Film, radio, newspaper were initial forms of storage/distribution • Large pop culture by late 1920s • Late 1930s: television • 1970s: VHS • early 2000s: DVD • studios now had the idea that films were worth preserving • “high” culture shrank; remains in museums, theatres, etc. • popular culture is dominant around the world • American film is most dominant around the world The New Web • Worldwide web created new screen which communities/cultures formed • Space where movies (big/small) can be made/discussed • More interaction with viewers • More income for producers Theories of Culture: • Cultural studies looks at various texts within context of cultural practice (work, production, daily life) • Examines form/structure of cultural texts as they create meaning • Thinks about meaning as an ongoing process built out of relationships/imagination The Frankfurt School • The Frankfurt Institute for Social Research (1924) • Functioned to integrate study of sociology, psychology, culture, politics • Because of important left-wing men, institute was closed down in 1933 • Many moved to America • Core
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