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Cinema: History and Criticism, Week 2

by: annazeberlein

Cinema: History and Criticism, Week 2 ENGL 212

Marketplace > College of Charleston > Foreign Language > ENGL 212 > Cinema History and Criticism Week 2
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About this Document

Cinema notes for the week of 1/18-1/22.
Cinema: History and Criticism
Dr. Colleen Glenn
Class Notes
Cinema, Film, film history




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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by annazeberlein on Sunday January 24, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ENGL 212 at College of Charleston taught by Dr. Colleen Glenn in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 34 views. For similar materials see Cinema: History and Criticism in Foreign Language at College of Charleston.


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Date Created: 01/24/16
Cinema: History and Criticism, Week 2 Film History - Nickelodeon theatres o First space dedicated to showing motion pictures o Converted storefronts (by someone who recognized the importance of film) o The audience was mainly immigrants and middle class males o Producers adopted their films to that, lots of literature to theatre conversions o Lots of short films, sing-alongs, always had musical accompaniment - The Purpose of Film: to capture reality or imagination? o Concern about what this new form of entertainment was  Would kids be allowed?  Rise of mass culture, loss of high culture o Hugo Münsterberg  Grappled with purpose of cinema  Psychologist at Harvard  Originally thought it would be mindless entertainment for the masses, but ends up loving it  “Why We Go to the Movies” (1915)  Shows how far film has come, but also questions if it should be considered art  Predicted that it would be taught in classes  Some said film is not a substitute for theatre, but is its own form of art  Argues that cinema is different, even from the theatre because of its techniques (close-up, editing, cross cutting) which mimic the actual mind more closely - Film takes off o 1910 – popular with the mainstream audience o filmmaking grows as an industry from the east coast to the west coast (better weather and sunlight) o 1914-20 – movie theatres are built, ending the Nickelodeon Era and beginning the Studio Era) o Star system  Credits at the beginning and end of movies didn’t come along until later (possible that actors were embarrassed about being part of this new fad, still unsure if it would catch on as art)  Directors were worried that they would have to pay their actors more, but it paid off because audiences came for their favorite stars - Birth of a Nation, D.W. Griffith o Innovative, light-years ahead  Complex narrative, innovative editing and camera work o Controversial, then and now  Used by the KKK until the 60’s to recruit people o Forward thinking about film, backward thinking about race (he was a Son of the South from Kentucky) o Shows how persuasive films can be o Films up until then ran about 20-30 minutes – Birth of a Nation is 190 minutes – the first “feature film” o Innovations are many  Original score written for an orchestra  Combination of original work for the film and familiar tunes  Night filming  Elaborate costuming  Variety of camera angles and setups  1500 cuts as opposed to 12 cuts in Porter’s film  Complex story  Flashbacks  Action happening in different places o Compares his movie to the Bible and Shakespeare o Invokes idealistic virtues o Adapted from “The Clansmen” o Stresses the idea that abolitionists are naïve and misguided o Stresses authenticity o Stonemans from the north, Camerons from the south  Families are involved romantically o Attention to detail o Romanticization of the Old South in Piedmont, SC o Many black people are actually white people in black face o Intermingles fiction and historical fact with the family and the beginning of the war o Recreates historical pictures with painstaking detail  Begging to be taken seriously o Depicts the war as deaths for naught on both sides  Editing allows us to travel through time and space o Masks the image (covering up corners, Irish shots) o Depicts Lincoln’s assassination o Transition from stage acting to film acting o The second part is reconstruction  Invokes authority by quoting the president  The KKK is the hero, saving the White South from the black south o Crosscutting secures our identity with the white protagonist o Long shots emphasize isolation o Repetition of locations shows progression o “A fate worse than death” trope o Traveling shot shows riders moving towards the viewer as the viewer progresses o “Ride of the Valkyries” creates lofty ideas about the heroism of the KKK, saving the town and therefore saving the nation o A superimposed image is used to portray Jesus as a savior in the KKK as well o The style changed film forever It Happened One Night - “Screwball comedy” – a subgenre of comedy popular in the 30’s and 40’s. Comedic energy is charged in verbal interactions, often with heightened sexual tension o Marriage, divorce, and remarriage is a common plotline o Class issues (post Great Depression) - Road movie – casting off traditional confines of domestic life, in this case, an act of rebellion - She’s a wealthy socialite with an overbearing father - The road is a catalyst for change o It’s the journey, not the destination o You’re allowed to change your identity - The rich and powerful get what’s coming to them


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