Lecture 2 Notes
Lecture 2 Notes M50 - Introduction to Visual Culture
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by bloodiris0312 on Saturday October 1, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to M50 - Introduction to Visual Culture at University of California - Los Angeles taught by B.N. Sampson in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 4 views.
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Date Created: 10/01/16
ENGL / FTV M50 Notes 29.09 Week 1 Lecture 2 Narratives/Genre The Western First Western movie 1903 The Great Train Robbery, developed through repetition in Hollywood drama. Wasn't taken very seriously, as it was a B-movie (mass produced, low budget). John Wayne: actor in many B-western In-cap scene: come live with me, I have a ranch John Ford Western silent film director who transitioned into sound pretty well. Many silent films, the big / classic Western: The Iron Horse and 3 Bad Men Plotlines: laying out the railroad and 3 outlaws who help people 1930s directed non-Western films: The Informer and The Long Voyage Home 1939Stagecoach, returns to Western, a summary film that revitalized the Western genre. Trailer doesn't have anything particularly new—archetypal characters, typical story, essentially a summarization of everything in the genre. HOWEVER, Ford brought reality in, giving interest to characters and landscape, with an unconventional push-in close-up that made John Wayne a star. John Ford spent quality time developing character relationships, emphasizing the difference between social standing and the relationship between male and female protagonists. He made Monument Valley the West for most people (it's in Arizona). John Ford also took special care in angles and stunts in action scenes, which were short but concise with full utilization of the atmosphere and music to heighten to the tension Example of composition done well: in beginning stagecoach leaves the town (symbolizing civilization) towards the untamed, unknown wild; repeated at the end, emphasizing People vs. Wild theme. "Saved from the blessings of civilization." Paradigms centering around avoidance of choice 1. Characters open-ended 2. Outlaw vs. official hero: Age, women/domesticity, the law 3. Ideological conflicts reduced to character conflicts 4. Ideological conflicts never TRULY resolved Reflected in the Western Simplifies outlaw vs. official hero conflict This makes the conflict very clear. Western highlights our unconscious prejudice towards youth, vigor, courage, immaturity, inherent wisdom, no overthinking. Women are reduced to simple, clear roles—the good (conformist) with high morals and a secondary role, and the bad (deviant) woman with low morals, low class, and a untraditional gender role. Western also uses the setting that there is just enough law for life to not be an anarchy, but not enough that people take it into their hands Societal ideologies and conflicts made plain and essential Every Western has white civilization in the middle of the wilderness - decrease population and roles and conflicts become extremely simple. Contemporary examples are “Lost” and “The Walking Dead”. Stories America tells itself about itself Grappling with the myth of manifest destiny, the West is a mythology etched deep in the heart of America. The Western is American self-image, so it can comment on the problems of American society: societal prejudice, problems of civilization, limits of the law, wilderness as a testing ground for each individual. Western was a result of the Great Depression, and it became a classic when it began to comment about American crises. It is the perfect visualization of the dilemma over choice. Western films Red River post-WWII disillusionment, the peril of dictatorship, the necessity of youth to face their icons. Fort Apache evil of sacred establishments, history built on lies and myths. Darker Westerns Winchester '73 obsession, hatred and revenge, threats to masculinity. High Noon societal cowardice, conformity, the futility of pacifism. Shane film about the West itself, mythology of the Western. Theme: the homestead vs. the horizon "You could just move on from your problems into the wild." There's always another frontier; thisi is central to Western mythology. John Ford in 1946 takes a lot of time in developing homestead vs. horizon. On of his movies begins with the opening of a door and the closing of a door; it also shows the price of living in civilization. Example: Rick in Casablanca vs. Luke Skywalker in Stars Wars Wants a home, with community and a place to go to vs. no rules and adventure. The Hobbit "The world is not in your books, your bags; it's out there," says Gandalf, so Bilbo goes out. But, "I miss my books, and my armchair, and my garden; that's where I belong," says Bilbo to the dwarves. Essentially, the reason he goes out on an adventure is for to get a home for the dwarves. UP About age, the Western, icons, home, horizons, with the most unique aspect: a home LITERALLY brought into the horizon. Disguised Western: a conscious engagement with American / Western paradigms Official vs. outlaw hero The outlaw hero is Muntz, "adventure is out there!" He represents the horizon, and is modeled after Charles Lindburg, first pilot to fly across Atlantic (American icon). As with Muntz, Lindburg had some problems—he was racist, there was the Lindburg baby incident, but most importantly the American icon was a Nazi sympathizer. Muntz symbolized American expansionism, colonial pursuit, and domination. The official hero is Karl in a complicated way, as he never had to choose who he really is until now. Ellie embodies the spirit of the Western, and Kar’s home isn't pure domesticity—the vibrant colors and the relationship between Ellie and Karl are nothing like the traditional family. In fact, there was no mark of the domestic—an in-between of the homestead and horizon, Karl never had to engage with the community. BUT, Karl's venture into the horizon gives him a community. There’s a child and pets—completing the domesticity he never had. Everyone is missing a form of their community. In a sense, Ellie teaches Karl that the people you meet are your adventure, i.e. another way not to choose. Conclusion: Dreams are a good thing if they don't trap you.
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