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Cinema: History and Criticism Notes, Week 12

by: annazeberlein

Cinema: History and Criticism Notes, Week 12 ENGL 212

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About this Document

These are the notes for 4/5-4/7, covering film genre, The Shining, and Do The Right Thing.
Cinema: History and Criticism
Dr. Colleen Glenn
Class Notes
Film, Cinema, film history, film criticism, the shining, do the right thing, film genre
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by annazeberlein on Sunday April 10, 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 12 views. For similar materials see Cinema: History and Criticism in Foreign Language at College of Charleston.

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Date Created: 04/10/16
Cinema: History and Criticism Notes, Week 12 Movie Genres - Rituals, archetypes, formulas - Genre – kind or type - Genre refers to a category of film that shares similar subject matter and organization of the subject matter - A set of conventions and formulas repeated through history - Helps us decide what films to go see, helps industry decide what films to make, it’s an economic factor - Even previews and trailers are distributed by genre - Genre rely on audience expectations about character, narrative, visual style - Helps reviewers and scholars discuss a film within context, it’s better understood and discussed - Pete and repeat o Why do movies repeat formulas and conventions? Why do we like it? § Predictability § We want to know what to expect - Human need for patterns and traditions o Affirm cultural values o Modern way of telling stories - Pathways into films o How filmmakers offer films that are familiar yet fresh, new variations on familiar genres o Shorthand info so we know what to expect - A moment in time o Serves a social function, like themes that are relevant to audiences at certain points in time o Genre changes over time (ex: the screwball comedy) and come in and out of vogue (ex: action movies and special effects, dystopia) - Terms o Hybrid genres – genres created through the intersection of different genres to produce fusions, such as romantic comedies or musical horror o Subgenres – specific versions of a genre denoted by an adjective, for ex: the spaghetti western or the slapstick comedy o Generic conventions – identifying feature of a genre, such as character types, settings, props, or events that are repeated from film to film (ex: the lone cowboy, the girl next door) § Plot element may be a convention § Film techniques can also be conventions - Iconography o Images or image patterns with certain connotations or meanings o Dark alleys, smoky bars o Relationship between the iconography of a film and its narrative - Stars and genre o Stars can be associated with a certain genre o When stars cross genres, it can subvert audience expectations o Generic expectations/formulas – the experience or knowledge that a viewer activates during a film allowing us to anticipate what’s going to happen § Patterns for developing stories § Often play on myths that we are familiar with in our culture - Genre during the studio system o Economics of predictability – production, regulation, and distribution of materials in ways that anticipate the demand for those materials/movies o Genre films were very useful to the studio system, allowing them to churn out product to meet demand § Affects how people are cast - Postwar film genres o The golden era fades for genre, new genres emerge and old genres are revised o Exploitation genres - Major genres o Comedies o Westerns o Melodramas o Musicals o Horro o Gangster and hard-boiled detective films o Possibly: § Romance § Sci fi § Action/adventure § Religious The Shining (1980 – Stanley Kubrick) - Opening scene o Highlights isolation of the location of the hotel o The music indicates an ominous feel o Follows Jack, like someone is watching him - Jack is a failure (as a writer, as a father, in his work) and Wendy compensates for that (as a mother, trying to escape the hotel) - Has Jack been mad from the beginning? o What about his manuscript? He’s been writing the whole time o Is he depressed? Is he anxious? o Predisposition towards mental illness? o Is it more supernatural or more mental illness? o When Jack sees ghosts, there are always mirrors around, so Jack is really seeing himself reflected back at him Do The Right Thing (1989 – Spike Lee) - The use of windows o Highlighted in Sal’s and DJ Love’s DJ booth - Diegetic music transitions us from the DJ booth to Da Mayor’s room - Hyper-saturated colors connect us to the heat of the day - There’s an inarticulateness in the community, many of the conversations are circular and nothing is really accomplished or productive - Lots of canted frames, represents off kilter viewpoints, showing people who talk down to people, also shows how off balance people are - Everyone is agitated, foreshadowing the eruption at the end - Mookie moves throughout all these spaces - Division of black and white, who makes decisions and who doesn’t, who thinks they get some say and who thinks they don’t o Sal says no brothers on the wall, Buggin’ says brothers frequent the place, so brothers should be on the wall § Sometimes you do need to cause trouble to get things done, asking politely doesn’t always get you what you need or want § Both men are being rude here, in this case the violence is too much o Colors represent anger here again, yellows and reds - What does the wall of fame mean? o Pop culture America idolizes white figures, there’s an exclusion of people of color in Hollywood, this is part of Spike Lee’s agenda - Does Mookie do the right thing in the end? - Mookie forces Pino to face the facts that all these people he loves are black people, but he won’t treat the black people in his neighborhood with respect o This conversation that they have is circular o White people can imitate black culture without respecting it - Everyone has one group that they attack, so does this speak to racism among minorities? Does this keep racism alive because the minorities are attacking each other? Or is that racist sentiment too? - Sal feels paternal toward the people in the neighborhood, which becomes problematic in the end (in the scene with Sal and Pino, there’s another window) - “There’s always gonna be a place for you here, Mookie.” – Sal o Then Mookie incites the looting of the pizzeria - They can exist in hatred until there’s an actual action of hatred and then all hell breaks loose


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