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FILM 1701 (3)

FILM HISTORY NOTES.docx
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Department
Film
Course
FILM 1701
Professor
Michael Zryd
Semester
Winter

Description
Alea Article:  Tarzan reference: Killing black people  What is wrong with this picture?  White imperialist racism approach  What we should do is take the power that movies have and put Fidel Castro in the movies instead of Tarzan and cheer him on.  Put the spectator in a position where the only thing they can see is good guys and bad guys  Viewers naturally identify with the good guy without knowing what he represents  It‘s not working at the level of consciousness, it DULLS consciousness  Always cheering on Tarzan because he‘s the hero  Pg. 43, right hand side, top paragraph – but what happens when the identification  If you like the character, than you like his values  Form of entertainment, a distraction  You surrender your consciousness over to the drama  The emotional effect of good drama  Sucked into political values of ideology (KKK)  In Birth of a Nation you would find yourself cheering for the KKK  Certain emotions are raised –you may cry  By the end, your emotions are discharged  Alea thinks this is a waste.. why have all these emotions and not do anything with it? Why not put it to revolutionary use  Pg 48 first par – ―what i want to emphasize here is the show which seeks to take a step forward in the discovery of reality‘s most profound layers, the demythicizing show the one that makes is climb one step further in the pursuit of genuine consciousness, that is the show which produced a new spectator ....such a show thrusts spectators onto the streets, burdened with worry and with a set course to follow and they become actor in their own life‖  That is what radical art is supposed to do  He says: If this doesn‘t happen, you tend to fall into accepting things as they are  Leads to acceptance of social ills, essential  Identification  Ideology  Aristotelian drama o Identification with CATHARSIS o Emotional discharge  BRECHTIAN DRAMA o Estrangement/distancing o ―Alienation effect‖  Importance of DISCOVERY and SEEING THE WORLD ANEW  ACTION  More complex ―the emotional context....  You‘re identifying, following the story and the distancing effect comes in  Estrangement effect – discovering something  Thinking critically, you discover something that you did not know before  See the world anew, through fresh eyes  It‘s goal is to reveal something new  Godard goes to far  Alea wants us to harness energy  Pg 44: His idea: wants a balance – ―thus arose the ideas of keeping the spectators distance form play, not lose interest.... wants to estrange people from the play. He wants to integrate them  Highest goal.....social and political level  It‘s a goal to reveal something new which they thought they knew.  talking about politics and how a film form can inform an audience or can push an audience away – question on politics Espinosa Article: Perfect cinema – first cinema – production stars shiny - Hollywood, big production Imperfect cinema is third cinema - Reflexivity – important you know you‘re watching a film - People should strive for third cinema Second cinema – doesn‘t fall in a specific range – is self indulgent Battle of Algeirs – all of the actors are too pretty to be in cinema – actors belong in perfect cinema - Could be considered any cinema – 1,2,3 - WHY - First Cinema – the thriller - Second Cinema – the aesthetics of the director as author – the way the film is told - - Third cinema – the perspective of the liberation struggle - the way a film is screened changes its meaning Espinosa would say this takes away from the film because it does not suit it as well - Currently, as Hauser points out, mass art is art produced by a minority in order to satisfy the demand of a public reduced to the sole role of spectator and consumer. Bourgeoisie: The middle class. In Marxist theory, the social group opposed to the proletariat in the class struggle. Pg.5 –bottom Must the revolutionary present and the revolutionary future inevitably have "its" artists and "its" intellectuals, just as the bourgeoisie had "theirs"? Surely the truly revolutionary position, from now on, is to contribute to overcoming these elitist concepts and practices, rather than pursuing ad eternum the "artistic quality" of the work. The new outlook for artistic culture is no longer that everyone must share the taste of a few, but that all can be creators of that culture. Art has always been a universal necessity; what it has not been is an option for all under equal conditions. Parallel to refined art, popular art has had a simultaneous but independent existence. - Overcoming elitism - Everyone can be artists - Means of production has moved away into everyone‘s hands (cell phone can record a movie) - ―that is to say, an "imperfect" cinema. An "impartial" or "uncommitted" (cinema), as a complete aesthetic activity, will only be possible when it is the people who make art.‖ - The motto of this imperfect cinema (which there's no need to invent, since it already exists) is, as Glauber Rocha would say, "We are not interested in the problems of neurosis; we are interested in the problems of lucidity." Art no longer has use for the neurotic and his problems, although the neurotic continues to need art — as a concerned object, a relief, an alibi or, as Freud would say, as a sublimation of his problems - Imperfect cinema finds a new audience in those who struggle, and it finds its themes in their problems. For imperfect cinema, "lucid" people are the ones who think and feel and exist in a world which they can change. In spite of all the problems and difficulties, they are convinced that they can transform it in a revolutionary way. Imperfect cinema therefore has no need to struggle to create an "audience." On the contrary, it can be said that at present a greater audience exists for this kind of cinema than there are filmmakers able to supply that audience. - We maintain that imperfect cinema must above all show the process which generates the problems. It is thus the opposite of a cinema principally dedicated to celebrating results, the opposite of a self-sufficient and contemplative cinema, the opposite of a cinema which "beautifully illustrates" ideas or concepts which we already possess - Imperfect cinema rejects exhibitionism in both (literal) senses of the word, the narcissistic and the commercial (getting shown in established theaters and circuits). It should be remembered that the death of the star-system turned out to be a positive thing for art. - imperfect cinema rejects whatever services criticism has to offer and considers the function of mediators and intermediaries anachronistic. - Imperfect cinema is no longer interested in quality or technique. It can be created equally well with a Mitchell or with an 8mm camera, in a studio or in a guerrilla camp in the middle of the jungle. Imperfect cinema is no longer interested in predetermined taste, and much less in "good taste." It is not quality which it seeks in an artist's work. The only thing it is interested in is how an artist responds to the following question: What are you doing in order to overcome the barrier of the "cultured" elite audience which up to now has conditioned the form of your work? - The filmmaker who subscribes to this new poetics should not have personal self- realization as his object. From now on he should also have another activity. He should place his role as revolutionary or aspiring revolutionary above all else. In a word, he should try to fulfill himself as a man and not just as an artist, that its essential goal as a new poetics is to disappear. - Art will not disappear into nothingness; it will disappear into everything. Andre Bazin: ―An Aesthetic of reality‖ (lots of notes in notebook) Pg. 26 – Realism can only be through artifice - What is worth preserving, what should be discarded... Contradiction that is both necessary and unacceptable - Choices are necessary but are unacceptable because reality is never achieved (reality is always striven for) - If choices have to be made, we need to make the best ones. It‘s not about how much reality you can portray, but HOW you portray it - The good realist artist must strive for reality but always realize that it is always an illusion - Realism does not come from technology, it comes from the artist, the one who makes choices. - What does Bazin say that is problematic - It is impossible for one person to take account - Tend to judge the style of the director (I don‘t like the director, so I don‘t think that film is good) - Great man theory of cinema – this person is not the only person who is affecting this film - In the production of film – the director is not the only person who works on the film - Director should not be getting all the credit - Set designers can be called artists - We don‘t just accept the discourse around a film, we look at the history - Francois Trauffaut “A Certain Tendencyy” – Course Kit reading - Cinephile - Cahiers du cinema - He is describing what he calls “A Cinema of quality” - Many of these films are adaptations - Is in the scenario, the screenplay - The director is simply “metteur en scene” - Takes that script and puts it into film (related to mise en scene) - Film that is ‘high art’ or respectable art - “Politique des auteurs” - The cinematheque Francaise - Personality or style or particular filmmaker - The auteur theory: takes root in film criticism in 1950s in France Japanese Cinema: notes in notebook In the early years, Japanese cinema was modeled off Kabuki theatre. This type of cinema introduced the presence of the benshi – an in theatre narrator. Necause of the constraints of Kabuki and the benshi, Japanese cinema was not director – centered like in the West. 1923: earthquake levels large portions of Tokyo Because of this earthquake and its rebuilding of the city, two distinct diversions of production emerged. Jidai-geki and gendai geki The transition to sound was slower but not as difficult as that of the West because of the presence of the Benshi During WWII, the Japanese modeled their film industry to that of Germany by producing an immense amount of propaganda films and censoring anyone who opposed. After the war, during the occupation, the jidai geki was pretty much eliminated as a genre because it promoted/glorified war. The Allies wanted films that showed more ―democratic‖ themes Prominent Postwar Japanese directors - Akira Kurasowa - Kenji Mizoguchi – director of Ugetsu - Yasujro Ozu Japanese cinema is seen as ―other‖ to us. So how do we deal with something that is so different? There comes this division between the ―west‖ and the ―east‖. As soon as you have this binary, things become problematic. CLASS NOTES Cultural issues of understanding and interpretation -tradition of North American film criticism of Japanese film which interprets Japanese film through Western concerns, usually positing a quality of ―Japaneseness‖ or positing a dichotomy: 2. Genres: history of Japanese cinema jidai-geki: period film -swordfight - samuri -historical romance -ghost film gendai-geki: contemporary film -comedy drama -children‘s film -gangster film 3. Resonances of war: 1945: end of WWII: American occupation, and censorship: feudal or militaristic themes banned, rush to modernization: Supreme Commander of Allied Powers, Gen Douglas McArthur led occupation called SCAP. 1952: end of occupation: beginning of ―Golden Age‖ of Japanese cinema Ugetsu set in 16th century civil war period: Mizoguchi a fanatic for historical accuracy in period dramas mujo: ―The mutability(frequent change) of all earthly phenomenon‖ (Buddhism) CLASS NOTES Facts: - 2 main forms/genres jidai-geki: period film and gendai-geki: contemporary film - Influence of Noh and Kabuki theatre on Japanese cinema (classical) - 5 major film studios in Japan, Toho, Shintoho, Daiei, Shojinko - Benshi lecturer in Japan was used in early cinema to direct eyes where to look used until 1940s - Effects of the American Occupation – (led by Gen. McArthur) from 1945- 1952 and effects of censorship Themes: - Misogyny (hatred of women) vs. women‘s rights (both in relation to American occupation, and it‘s individual films – i.e. Mizoguchi‘s Ugetsu -1952 - Isolation from the rest of the world – isolated in their structural and thematic characteristic Essay question: From what do gather the cultural identity of a country? How can we speak of a film about it‘s culture and how do we decide this? What is the relevance of ‗Japaneseness‘; will it help us to better understand a culture, or narrow our views? Discuss French New Wave French filmmakers emerging during Occupation - Claude Auntant – Lara - Jean Cocteau - Rene Clement Postwar French Directors - Robert Bresson - Jacues Tati - Max Ophuls Not only were the New Wave filmmakers influences by the artists above, they were also influenced by the documentaries of the 50s by Alain Resnais and George Franju and the independent production outside the traditional studio system Alexandre Astrue developed the concept of camera-stylo – a concept that suggests that cinema could be as multidimensional and personal as the older literary arts. This concept also introduced the concept of the director as an auteur. Most of the major directors of the New Wave were first critics for Cahiers du Cinema – a film journal started by Andre Bazin. They were all ―cinephiles‖ and were the first generation of filmmakers to be educated in film. La politique des auteurs (deemed ―the auteur theory‖ by Andrew Sarris) states that film should ideally be a medium of personal artistic expression and that the best films are therefore those that most clearly bear their maker‘s ―signature‖ – the stamp of his or her individual personality, controlling obsessions and cardinal themes. Major New Wave Figures - Francois Truffaut - Jean Luc Godard - Alain Resnais (though he was never a Cahiers critic) - Claude Chabral The French New Wave has many commonalities with Neorealism, but rather then trying to capture the reality of the message French New wave focuses on the individual. Characteristics of French new Wave - Highly self-referential - Handheld, highly mobile camera - Location shooting (therefore natural lighting) - Technical mistakes - Direct sound recording - Elliptical and jump cut editing - Improvisation - Emphasis on style – self-referential - They want to show us is that it is a film - Certain amount of handheld or highly mobile camera - Can feel how film is being made when you‘re watching it ( camera on motorcycle, you feel you are there) - Location shooting – connection to neorealism - Natural lighting (available light) - Rather than trying to create a narrative world, they would rather show you their film, and let you know that you are watching a film - They are fine with technical mistakes, they are ok - Standards that define what is a technical mistake is what they want to get rid of - Improvisation – allowing mistakes and chance to come into play - Direct sound recording - Editing- often work against continuity editing – willing to violate rules - Jump cut – feeling the edit - Bazin is the aesthetic father of many directors - Directors themselves argue with Bazin - Bazin was devoted to idea of realism in his early work, in his later writings, he centered his theories more about the figure of the artist and what the artist brings to cinema - The Impact and Significance of the French New Wave - Revitalized stagnant cinemas of the 1960s - Developed la politique des auteurs - Disregarded narrative conventions - Elaborated an audio visual language CLASS NOTES - 1954 - François Truffaut, ―A Certain Tendency in French Cinema‖ - attack on ‗cinema of quality‖ as too indebted to literature & theatre - said ‗cinema of quality‖ directors, in adapting literature to screen, merely transferred writer‘s vision: ―metteur-en-scène‖ - said the true auteur transforms material through personal expression - personal expression comes from visual style, not source story/script - 1957 - André Bazin, ―De la politique des auteurs.‖ - worries that auteurism‘s celebration of ‗genius‘ removes director from social, historical circumstances - ―the individual transcends society, but society is also and above all within him‖[sic] - ACLASS NOTES - Chaiers du cinema (founded by Andre Bazin) - Self reflexive art - Low budgets - Directors were film educated - Astruc coins term: ―camera-style‖ developed by Truffaut Themes: - Classical vs. Romantic - Characteristics: real locations, improve, jump cuts - Auteur theory FILMS WATCHED: BREATHLESS, 400 blows, Hiroshima mon amour Essay question: discuss how the film Breathless is an example of French New Wave style and ideals Politics and Third World Cinema ―Third world filmmakers conceive of cinema not as an entertainment but as a commodity produced to make a profit, but as a compelling means of mass persuasion, cultural consolidation and consciousness raising.‖ - Categorized by its unconventional production modes, such as collective production - Rejects the conventional narrative syntax of Hollywood Latin America - America dominated the Latin American film markets, even more so during WWII when the US lost their distribution with Europe. - During the war, USA hired Latin American talent like Carmen Miranda to come make American films Battle of Algeirs - 1955: Bundung Conference, Non-Aligned Movement First World (US/Europe) Second World (USSR and allies) Third World (coined by China: Africa, Latin America, Asia) Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino, ―Towards A Third Cinema.‖ -politics characterized by process and change -proposed categories of film that parallel (but NOT exactly the national categories above) • First Cinema: Hollywood, commercial, large-scale, big budget • Second Cinema: ―art cinema,‖ auteur cinema, bourgeois, concerned with individual psychology, independent production • Third Cinema: avant-garde, collective/community-based, explicitly political (though with multiple political programs), challenge orthodoxy, seeking new relation to audience - Michael Chanan, ―What determines the Third Cinema is the conception of the world, and not the genre or the explicitly political approach. Any story, any subject can be taken up by Third Cinema, Third Cinema is a cinema of decolonization, which expresses the will to national liberation, anti-mythic, anti-racist, anti-bourgeois, and popular.‖ CLASS NOTES - 3 Cinema rising against 1 and 2 nd - Liberation, struggle with identity, self reflexivity - 1955: Non-Aligned Movement First World (US/Europe) Second World (USSR and allies) Third World (coined by China: Africa, Latin America, Asia) - France colonized Algeria - FLN resistance group fought against French colonies Essay question: what is the difference between 1 , 2 and 3 cinema and how can the Battle of Algiers be placed in all three? Cuban Cinema Importance of ―class consciousness‖: understanding of how capitalism ensures divisions of rich and poor by dividing poor classes, Collective interests are deemphasized in favour of individual interests ―False consciousness‖ – those who are suckered by IDEOLOGY IDEOLOGY: a set of values that is assumed and unexamined Bourgeois culture is based on ideology as ILLUSION (of freedom, of political power, of social mobility) - Prerevolutionary Cuba had the highest film attendance rates of any Latin American country - Major directors: Tomas Guiterrez Alea and Julio Garcia Espinosa - Fidel Castro commissioned for the creation of the ICAIC, the national film institute - The films dealt with the social problems and victories of the nation - A full scale film education program - When the Soviet Union failed, the Cuban economy and thus their film industry started to fail Third world Cinema was not purely for entertainment, but instead for social change - Ideas of social justice - Ideas of social equality - Redistribution of the e
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