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film, cinema, movies

I am going to teach a film class in the spring. It's exciting putting together the syllabus. Going to use Monaco's How to Read a Film and a selection of articles from Film Quarterly. Still thinking through film selections. It's interesting to think about the words film, cinema, and movie.

Film: art
cinema: stage/world
movie: propaganda/consummed w/out critical thought

all three seem to need reflection/analysis. For some reason I really enjoyed watching Eyes Wide Shut. A lot of people I have spoken with think it is Kubrick's worst film. An embarrasement.

I am really excited to watch some Brekhage when it arrives. I would like to use his films in class. May also use Juliet of the Spirits (Fellini), The Birds or Vertigo, Blade Runner.

I took a film theory class in graduate school, so hopefully some of the discourse will return to me.

It's a rainy day in North Carolina. Another storm coming through. The darkness outside usually means sluggish students in my morning classes. I am feeling a tad sluggish myself.

Well, off I go. Rainy walk to school. I wish I still had my wellingtons. I miss my wellingtons.

Get Yourself a Pair


Tony Tost said…

One possibility could be Jean Cocteau's Beauty & the Beast -- beautiful black & white, very dreamlike. It is in subtitles, but the story is familiar so it will lessen students' anxieties. Plus, Brakhage cites Cocteau as a big influence. Also some interesting writing by Brakhage available: Telling Time, which collects a series of essays he did for a (I think) Canadian magazine, also a Selected Prose (which I think is less interesting) -- there's a Guy Davenport essay floating around that's on Brakhage as well. It might be in Geographies of the Imagination.


Chris Vitiello said…
My fave books on film:

Abstract Film and Beyond, Malcolm Le GriceThis was published in the mid-70s but has great information about the development of abstract film from the very beginning of the medium, the narrative of which is a useful model for thinking about other media. It's unfortunately out of print and hard to find---abebooks would be the first place to look.

Visionary Film, P. Adams SitneySitney coined the controversial term "Structural Film," his concept of which is elaborated in a chapter of this book. He goes through the major categories of experimental filmmakers, detailing the careers and films of the most notable individuals. The Harry Smith and Kenneth Anger chapters are among the most-often-read things in my whole house. It's in print---in fact a revised edition came out from Oxford University Press in 2001 or 2002.

A Critical Cinema, vols 1-3, Scott MacDonaldThe spines of these three books of interviews with "independent filmmakers" add up to 3.25 inches on shelf space. Each book has about 20 interviews in it, with almost every notable experimental filmmaker represented, as well as a couple of more commercial names sprinkled in. MacDonald has written several other good books on films, including "Avant-Garde Film," which could be useful to excerpt alongside "How to Read a Film."

I have all these books so next time you're in Durham you can set a spell and thumb through them.

postpran said…
Tony and Chris,

Thanks for the solid recommendations. Fountains to you both. I am excited to discover the world of experimental/abstract film. I will check out those books Chris.

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