Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Brilliant 'Horror Genre' goodies - A feast!


Wow, I haven't blogged for almost a week! I am ashamed of myself. Still, I have found some 'Media Candy' here for you to get your teeth into.

An article on cyclic developments in Horror genre - Read, digest and regurgitate in the exam and you'll secure a great grade!

http://www.offscreen.com/biblio/phile/essays/return_of_the_repressed/

This is such an amazing Horror site with some brilliant links. Check out each decade to see important genre developments:

http://www.horrorfilmhistory.com/index.php?pageID=1990s

Great article about revival of the Horror genre in 1999
http://www.citypaper.com/news/story.asp?id=3663

Copy-cat killings inspired by Horror films:
http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/criminal_mind/psychology/movies_made_me_kill/1_index.html

Now for some fun - The M&M Dark Horror Movie Game in poster form above available as an interactive version:
http://images.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://candyaddict.com/blog/candy_pictures/dark_mms_horror_movie_game.jpg&imgrefurl=http://candyaddict.com/blog/2006/09/23/dark-mms-horror-movie-game/&usg=__xIUCyWYsEmbfLnvkx5TIC0IwYcA=&h=164&w=280&sz=13&hl=en&start=2&um=1&tbnid=ffOszH7aQJXucM:&tbnh=67&tbnw=114&prev=/images%3Fq%3DM%2526M%2527s%2Bhorror%2Bsearch%26hl%3Den%26um%3D1

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Cover work for Year 13 Media - Friday!



Starter: How many Horror references?

Still got a very bad back....planning on some Acupuncture today as my last resort so I won't be in. Before Easter you watched Hostel 2. Today I would like you to read the following two articles from the Guardian Film site and Film Bunnies. Whilst reading, take notes/key quotes from them in a mature and diligent fashion:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2007/may/01/gender.world

http://filmbunnies.wordpress.com/category/alex/roths-hostel-2/

I would then like you to write a detailed 750/1000 word review of the film on your blog commenting on:

1 What you find interesting about the representations of men and women in Hostel 2?

2. What do you think the future of horror is post-Roth's Hostel? Where does the genre go from here? What next and why?

I look forward to reading these this evening. Missing you already x If you finish, have a go at creating a 'Horror' character in Cube Craft. 

Create brilliant 'CUBE CRAFT' FILM/TV Characters - Great fun



















I discovered this brilliant site and I challenge you to create your favourite Film or TV Cube Character for display in the Media and Film Department. All offerings will be greatly received for a brilliant display. Download - Print - Cut - Fold - Give to Team Media!

Have Fun! 


Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Cover work for Nina - Today!


















Good morning. I'm sorry but my back is still giving me a lot of grief and despite putting on a brave face yesterday, I was in a lot of pain by lunch and today I am suffering! However, because you are diligent and concientious students I know you will stay and do the work I set here. Please do, it's in your interests and I have made the effort to post this, this morning:

Year 13 Media:

Adam is bringing in Hostel 2 and you need to finish watching this film please. When you have finished, I would like you to read the following article from the Guardian Film site. It's brilliant - and take notes/key quotes from it:


http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2007/may/01/gender.world

I would then like you to write a review of the film on your blog commenting on what you find interesting about the representations of men and women in the film and discussing what you think the future of horror is? Where does it go from here? What next and why?

I look forward to reading these this evening. Missing you already x

Year 13 Film

1. AS A MATTER OF URGENCY I NEED YOU TO PLEASE ADD A FRAME (BLACK WITH WHITE TEXT) BEFORE YOUR SHORT FILMS THAT GIVES THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION FOR THE EXAMINER:

1. SHORT FILM TITLE
2. CANDIDATE NAMES AND CANDIDATE NUMBERS

NOTHING FANCY-MANCY. JUST SIMPLE.

When complete, please tell Gerry and give him this information along with the computer you used and whether you used Final Cut or i-movie. Thank you. Burn a copy to DVD for you and DO NOT FILM OVER YOUR ROUGH FOOTAGE ON YOUR DV TAPES. 

ALSO I NEED FS4 WORK FROM THE FOLLOWING:

GRANT -    EVALUATION
DANIELLE-  ALL PIECES
LANGFORD - EVALUATION 

Can you e-mail me these at ninanoo@btinternet.com

NEXT IN CLASS AND HOMEWORK FOR NEXT THURSDAY:
1. Please read my most recent posting on Gendered Film 'Some Useful Notes on The Piano' and read the posting. 

2. Complete the exercise is pairs and post your results on your blogs.

Try to map out all the oppositions you think might be relevant for middle-class men and women in Victorian society. Which qualities would be expected from men rather than women etc.?

Now apply this Levi Strauss's theory of Binary Opposites to the other films we have seen. What do these play in the films?

What other binary oppositions can you identify in The Piano?
What binary oppositions can you identity in Tomb Raider and Thelma and Louise? 

If time permits, I'd like you to watch 'Persepolis' but I think Alan loaned it over Easter and he may not have it with him. It might be in my cupboard which I think I left open yesterday. If it's not in there, could you ask Alan? Thank you. 

Thank you for your anticipated hard work and I look forward to looking at the work on your blogs. I'm sorry to let you down and I'll see you soon. 

Good luck. Have Fun. See you soon x

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Year 12 Film Studies Classwork and Revision for TODAY

Good morning. I apologise, but I won't be in for your lesson today. I'm laid-up with a horrible back injury and the drugs I am taking have rendered me pretty useless. With only a couple of weeks left before the examination, I am eager for you to work on your two close-study films on Crisis in Masculinity and the American Dream. Before Easter, we started to draw comparisons between the characters and examine their links to 'The American Dream'. Today, I want you to look at my posting in the hols on Robert Bly's mytho-poetic masculinity and to spend the first hour reading the online support resources; watching the extract from 'Tough Guise' (I think there's more of it on Youtube) and making notes on the relevancy of these ideas to FIGHT CLUB AND AMERICAN BEAUTY, and if you can 'Pursuit of Happyness'.

I then want you to produce a mind-map on how these two/three movies represent masculinity in crisis making reference to specific characters, scenes, quotes from script and theorists, wider issues of masculinity in crisis echoed in culture and society (single parenting, educational underachievement of boys, rise of female empowerment in workplace and education, commercialism, comodifying culture, loosing touch with our deep sense of self because of consumerism, shifting family values etc that have led to men loosing their sense of identity). You probably won't finish it today so please finish for homework and start to read your notes, blog postings and my blog postings as preparation for the exam. You should be spendng about five hours a week revising now. Seriously!

I look forward to receiving your essays that you wrote over Easter too. You can e-mail them to me at: ninanoo@btinternet.com

Have fun and work hard. Miss you.
Ninax

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Classwork and Homework for Nina's classes on Monday

Good Morning. I hope you had a brilliant break. I'm so sorry but I can't be in. I have a horrible back injury and look like the 'Hunchback of Notredame'. Nothing too unusual in that I know, but with my added drowsy and dopey disposition from the drugs I'm on, I'm not looking or feeling great. I'm afraid it's a day of watching 'Kyle's children' and blogging for me! For you on the other hand it's WORK, WORK, WORK! Of course, your day will begin with the sixth-form photo and I hope all the glad-rags will come out for the occasion. After that, I'd like you to do the following in my lesson time:

Period 1 and 2 - Year 12 Media

1. Please create a brand new 'Blog' in blogspot for Media REVISION and all case-study work for the new topic on 'Institutions and Audiences'. 

2. Check out my blog first posting 'G322 Institutions and Audiences Working Title Films Case Study' and familiarise yourself with the question expectations. 

3. Complete the activity and analyse the two trailers for the boat that Rocked. Look at the American and British versions and on your new blog answer the following questions: Can you tell which one is for which audience? What are the differences? What does this tell us about audiences and institutions?

4. Classwork and homework: undertake detailed research into 'Working Title Films' and produce an A3 INSTITUTION mind-map that shows consolidated evidence of your research with branches on: 

Company History
Institutional Profile
Genre 
Messages and Values Working Title Films communicate about Britishness
Success in Britain and America

Here are some sites to help: 
http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/michaelwalford/entry/working_title_history/

Year 13 Film: Periods 3/4

1. AS A MATTER OF URGENCY I NEED YOU TO PLEASE ADD A FRAME (BLACK WITH WHITE TEXT) BEFORE YOUR SHORT FILMS THAT GIVES THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION FOR THE EXAMINER:

1. SHORT FILM TITLE
2. CANDIDATE NAMES AND CANDIDATE NUMBERS

NOTHING FANCY-MANCY. JUST SIMPLE.

When complete, please tell Gerry and give him this information along with the computer you used and whether you used Final Cut or i-movie. Thank you. Burn a copy to DVD for you and DO NOT FILM OVER YOUR ROUGH FOOTAGE ON YOUR DV TAPES. 

NEXT IN CLASS AND HOMEWORK FOR MONDAY
1. Please read my most recent posting 'Some Useful Notes on The Piano' and read the posting. 
2. Complete this exercise is pairs and post your results on your blogs

Try to map out the oppositions you think might be relevant for middle-class men and women in Victorian society. Which qualities would be expected from men rather than women etc.?

What other binary oppositions can you identify in The Piano?
What binary oppositions can you identity in Tomb Raider and Thelma and Louise?

Good luck. Have Fun. See you soon x

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Robert Bly's mytho-poetic masculinity

Tyler Durden: We're a generation of men raised by women. I'm wondering if another woman is really the answer we need.” Fight Club


The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.... A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of manhood....
It appears as if men had deliberately chosen the common mode of living because they preferred it to any other. Yet they honestly think there is no choice left."
 
(Thoreau, 1854/1971, p.8)


Like femininity, masculinity operates politically at different levels. At one level, it is a form of identity, a means of self-understanding that structures personal attitudes and behaviors. At another, distinct but related level, masculinity can be seen as a form of ideology, in that it presents a set of cultural ideals that define appropriate roles, values and expectations for and of men.

What does it mean to be a man in today’s culture? Susan Faludi, feminist theorist and Al Gore consultant, argues in Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man that modern men are suffering from an identity crisis of epic proportion. If feminism has redefined what it means to be a woman in contemporary society, so it has also redefined what it means to be a man. But how? For better, or worse? The films we have studied, all deal with 'The American Dream' and central to this ideological framework is the notion of masculinity in crisis. We are going to be comparing American Beauty; Fight club and in part 'Pursuit of Happyness' to explore this idea. Here are some resources to support our comparative study:



A super article on the resurrgence of 90's representations of masculinity in crisis in film:
http://www.salon.com/ent/movies/review/1999/10/15/fight_club/


A useful 'reader' with some excellent quotes on masculinity:
http://www.newmedia.lincoln.ac.uk/rmoore/pdf/action-men.pdf




These two links are from 'Media-ed' and support their programme 'Tough Guise'. The first is a study guide and the second a transcript of the programme. Brilliant insightful reading. 

Masculinity in crisis Links :


Thursday, 16 April 2009

It's Ladies night...oh what a night!

Here's a fabulous 'Gender' website full of brilliant links, essays, reviews and goodies to support you with your development of a debate around 'Gender' representations in the films we have studied. With an essay due-in n ext week, some wider reading around the three texts studied will definately support you with your writing.




Plus, a couple of extra goodies on Thelma and Louise and The Piano:

http://www.mith2.umd.edu/WomensStudies/FilmReviews/T/thelma+louise-mcalister


http://www.mith2.umd.edu/WomensStudies/FilmReviews/the-piano-mcalister

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Some useful notes on 'The Piano' by Jane Campion


















The Piano - Melodrama and representations of Gender through Binary Opposites

The colonial dimension of The Piano (it is set on a ‘plantation’ in New Zealand), points us neatly towards a further set of theoretical ideas suggested by the social anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss. Genre theorists borrowed Strauss’ idea of a conflict structure based on binary oppositions to explain how many genre films were constructed. The oppositions which we can find in colonial melodramas are striking and provide us with useful insights into how a colonial narrative produces meaning. These narratives are based on ideas and values that the characters are likely to have had at the time. Consider the following oppositions:

White Settler ‘Native’

Civilised
Savage
Educated
Ignorant
Controlled
Wild
Sexually restrained
Sexually promiscuous
Moral
Amoral
Rational
Superstitious

You can probably come up with further oppositions which explain how the Victorian settlers viewed ‘native’ peoples. These are not necessarily presented as straight opposites. Rather, they map out a terrain. The European melodrama is rarely interested in the ‘colonised’ peoples, so the main work of the melodrama narrative is to look at the struggle of white male and female settlers to develop a healthy emotional state in the midst of the overpowering ‘otherness’ of the colonial environment. Usually it is the white woman who ‘succumbs’ – this always been thought more shocking than the white male with the ‘native girl’. In terms of mise en scène, it is worth thinking about the colonial environment, in which the heat, the scents of spices and exotic flowers, the strange animals and spectacular landscapes all appeal to the senses (‘arouse’ emotions) more than the familiar ‘home’ environment.

In The Piano the woman is drawn, not directly to a native (Maori) figure, but instead to a white man who has ‘gone native’ – in some ways an even more despicable figure for respectable society than the native male (who can sometimes be stereotyped as the ‘good native’ or the ‘noble savage’). The white man who adopts native habits has not only betrayed his own culture, but has also degraded what is worthwhile in native culture. When you see The Piano you should find little difficulty identifying sequences in which these binary oppositions are emphasised and which clearly propel the narrative forward. What makes The Piano particularly interesting (and perhaps led to some of the controversy over reactions to the film) is that the central woman character is also trapped in another set of oppositions – as a woman in the strictly patriarchal Victorian society. She has been sent/brought to New Zealand essentially as a piece of male property. Her transgression – the affair with Baines – is doubly marked, she has both broken out of her marital relationship, her enslavement as property, and sullied herself with a ‘degenerate’ man.

It is this double marking or ‘over determination’ which makes The Piano so much a melodrama. We have emphasised so far that melodrama mise en scène is expressive and excessive – everything seems to be exaggerated, almost to the point of hysteria. In this context, over determination can apply to both the events – piled on top of each other – and particular aspects of the mise en scène. To take just one example, much comment has been made about the costumes in The Piano. The woman wears a crinoline – a voluminous skirt supported by a rigid cage. This is both supportive (the woman and her daughter use the crinoline as a tent when they are landed on the beach) and restrictive (as she tries to cross the uneven and boggy ground – the endless rain is also a potential sign of sexual release). This supportive/restrictive clothing also provides great erotic excitement for the man in terms of what it hides and obstructs him from accessing.

The double marking of the woman in The Piano means that the colonial ‘discourse’ or argument is to a certain extent obscured by the feminist discourse – does our positive response to what the woman achieves by breaking out of her unhappy marriage prevent us reading the colonial discourse?

Exercise
Try to map out the oppositions you think might be relevant for middle-class men and women in Victorian society. Which qualities would be expected from men rather than women etc.? What other binary oppositions can you identify?

Some Useful Definitions when exploring gendered cinema at a macro level:

Woman’s Picture – like youth pictures, these films are defined by their audience address rather than by specific themes or styles. The central characters will be women and the narratives will centre on issues important to women. Some films may be ‘romances’ or comedies. Many of the 1940s melodramas were targeted directly at the disproportionately large female domestic audience during the war years. They were often disparagingly termed ‘weepies’ or ‘tearjerkers’. A more modern variant is the idea of the ‘chick flick’.

Defining Melodrama - Action films tend to be ‘goal-orientated’ - they progress to a particular resolution such as the war is won, the killer is captured etc. Action narratives have conflicts which are tackled through action - characters go out and do something. It follows from this that the editing of sequences to represent movement by characters is of central importance. By contrast, melodramas are about relationships between characters and the resolution of a melodrama narrative concerns the restoration of one or more relationships, or their replacement by others. In a sense, melodramas are more ‘circular’ than ‘linear’. The conflicts in melodramas can often not be resolved by ‘action’, it is the failure of characters to act or even to speak about ‘the problem’ which creates the conflict. The emotional struggle in a melodrama must be expressed or ‘displaced’ in some way. Instead of the editing of action sequences, melodramas deal in mise en scène, performance and music.

Extract taken from original posting on following blog: http://itpworld.wordpress.com/category/womens-film/


Some Extra 'Piano' goodies to assist you in the exploration of Gender representations:


An exploration of gender representations in the film:

Book chapter on gender themes in The Piano and Thelma and Louise

Cambridge University Press Film Analysis
http://assets.cambridge.org/97805215/92581/sample/9780521592581wsn01.pdf

Feminist Critique of 'The Piano'
http://diana.saco.name/Female_Gaze.htm

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Media Magazine - the latest edition for you...



























Here is the latest edition of Media Magazine with two great articles for Year 12 Media students on preparing for the A/S Media exam on TV Drama and a super textual analysis of the representation of disability in 'Skins'. If you can't get in for any reason check the access info via the 'Noodle' zone 'Media Magazine Access Information':

http://www.englishandmedia.co.uk/download/archive_mm/_more_mm/issue28/MM28_download.pdf

Here is the extract from 'Skins' analysed in the magazine:


BFI IMAX Screenings of French New Wave in April

Evening. I was thinking of going to the BFI Imax over the hols and discovered that they are screening a 'Nouvelle Vague' season and showing '400 Blows' between the 9th and 28th April. If any of you and (in particular Year 13 Film Students) have nothing else on your agenda this hols, this would be a brilliant way to spend a day! Here's the website if you fancy checking it out:

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Year 12 Media - Great Blog you should check out!

Hope you are all enjoying your holibobs! Whilst soaking-up a bit of sunshine, I discovered this super blog that has a great section on Representation - a super resource for everyone studying TV Drama in Year 12:

http://blackpoolmedia.wordpress.com/category/representation/

Monday, 6 April 2009

Year 12 Media - Working Title Films Case-Study







G322 A/S Media Exam
Section B: Institutions and Audiences

We have just about come to the end of our study of TV Drama, and after our Easter break, we will embark on preparation for the final section of the Media exam based on 'Institutions and Audiences'. Like TV Drama, this is a 45 minute essay done under exam conditions. However on this occasion you will write about a specific case-study explored in class and through 'independent study'.  It has been decided that we will offer two case-studies so that you have a choice:

1. Study of a record label - Alan and Leanne
2. Study of a Film Production Company - Nina

Here is the outline of the unit from the specification: 

"One compulsory question to be answered by candidates based upon a case study of a specific media industry, from a choice of six topic areas offered by OCR. Centres should choose one of the following topic areas, in advance of the examination. Through specific case studies of the centre’s choice, candidates should be prepared to demonstrate understanding of contemporary institutional processes of production, distribution, marketing and exchange/exhibition at a local, national or international level as well as British audiences’ reception and consumption. There should also be some emphasis on the students’ own experiences of being audiences of a particular medium. Centres may choose to focus on one of the following media: 
industries:
• Film
• Music
• Newspapers
• Radio
• Magazines
• Video games "

I have decided to undertake a case-study with you looking closely at British film production company  'Working Title Films' exploring the company's latest release 'The Boat that Rocked'. As always, I will post lots of goodies to support you with this case-study. If you can, go and see the movie over Easter. 

http://www.theboatthatrocked.co.uk/

History of Working Title Films as a Production Company
http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/michaelwalford/entry/working_title_history/

BFI Screenonline Historical Perspective
http://www.screenonline.org.uk/film/id/577488/

Film Education Learning Resources on the film 'The Boat That Rocked'

Institutional Information on the film and company



Activity: 
Watch the 2 trailers for 'The Boat That Rocked' below. One is for US release and the other for British release. Can you tell which one is for which audience? What are the differences? What does this tell us about audiences and institutions?







The Exam Question: What to expect?

The question will be a general one that you could use either of the two possible case studies to answer. Here is an example extracted from the January examination:

Section B: Institutions and Audiences

Answer the question below, making detailed reference to examples from your case study
material to support points made in your answer.

Discuss the issues raised by an institution’s need to target specific audiences within a media industry which you have studied.

Useful British Cinema/Film Industry Sites:

Facts and Figures on changing cinema admissions and UK film distribution:
http://www.launchingfilms.com/databank/factsandfigures.php?name=UK+cinema+admissions+1935+to+date

UK Film Council Homepage:
http://www.ukfilmcouncil.org.uk/about

Have a look at this great study 'concept map' to help you with this case-study:
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_9dPtEKC0NW4/SYxoZUhTnrI/AAAAAAAABOs/Lizqd05AmOQ/s1600-h/Section+B+Institutions+and+Audiences+Prompt.jpg

Oh Dear. I am not a happy bunny..

I don't like naming and shaming but there are a few people in  Year 12 who have not posted any evaluative writing on your blogs, and some who have clearly not finished. Those of you that requested an extension from me on Friday (Harry, Monica, Emily, Leah, Chris, Lucy, Joe S) should submit by midnight tonight but I am happy to accept your work tomorrow evening. EVERYONE HAS until tomorrow evening - MIDNIGHT and that, I'm afraid is my FINAL offer. 




Otherwise it's ZERO for the evaluation and I will inevitably have to consider your future on the course next year as this is an integral feature of the coursework for A2 too:

Adam Blackmore - NO EVALUATION
Ellis Knowles - NO EVALUATION
Chelsea Fullbrook - NO EVALUATION
Nicola Daley - NO EVALUATION
Ruby Purcell - NO EVALUATION
Sophie Baird - NO EVALUATION


Hannah Davies - NO Q.4/5/6/7 and response to 3 is very weak
George Woolford - NO Q.7 Response
Joe Rochester - NO Q 5,6,7 Response
Ross Wood - You have written an evaluation posting but have NOT answered any of the 7 questions set by the exam board. Therefore you can only get a couple of marks. 

I would also like to thank all of you who met the deadline and were diligent in your time-keeping and organisation of work. I was particularly impressed that some of you managed to have a go at podcasting. Great stuff. The finished blogs are looking super. 

If you would like to e-mail me to tell me that your blog is complete and ready for assessment, please feel free. You can get hold of me at: ninanoo@btinternet.com 

I look forward to seeing your lovely complete blogs at midnight on TUESDAY. I'm going to wait-up to check! 

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Year 13 Film - FS5 City of God /'Cidade de Deus' Case-study Resources






















Hi everyone. I hope you are having a fabulous holiday and making the most of the sunshine. I wanted to thank all of you for your hard work this term. Last week was so busy with deadlines but you rose to the challenge and worked hard to bring all of your creative ambitions to life. There are some amazing short films and I was thrilled that some Year 12 Media students branched out into the world of 'Podcasting' for Media evaluations. Brilliant. 

For all of my lovely Year 13 Film students, I am delighted that you enjoyed the three gendered films. I am looking forward to your 'debate' essays after Easter, and to finishing our analysis of these important texts. I will post more goodies to support your studies here, but in the meantime, I have started to explore and post goodies to get you thinking about Brazillian Cinema and 'City of God' by Fernando Meirelles, the final film to be studied as part of the FS5 unit to complement your work on French New Wave. This is a close-study film and we will be looking at it from macro and micro perspectives. To get the ball rolling, here is some stuff to get you thinking about Brazil - What type of country is Brazil? What is it's demographic? What is it famous for? What do you know about it's past? What is the capital of Brazil?

Have a look at these two adverts. What messages and values about Brazil do they sell?

Brazillian Tourist Board Advert


City of God- Opening Sequence

What 'essence' of Brazil is communicated in this sequence? How does it compare/contrast to the TV adverts? Who is represented? How are they represented? Why are they represented in this light? What portrait of brazil is painted by this sequence?


Here is an exemplar essay from the exam board to show you the type of question and style of question you may be asked:

Exemplar Essay:
http://www.routledge.com/textbooks/0415371430/pdfs/city_god.pdf

Here are some useful articles and interviews to support your study of the film:

An interview with the director:

Kids and Carnage - Article about 'City of God'
http://www.cinescene.com/howard/carnage.htm


http://www.identitytheory.com/film/ryan_cityofgod.php

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/collective/cityofgod

http://www.moviemaker.com/directing/article/fernando_mereilles_3284/

http://www.metacritic.com/video/titles/cityofgod

Wider Issues related to the film and it's representation of Rio:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/6182752.stm

The Official Film Website:

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Cindy Sherman representing Female Cinematic Roles


Uploaded on authorSTREAM by mjarry

Gender Representations in Campion's 'The Piano' - Some Easter Holiday Work!













We will finish watching Campion's 'The Piano' tomorrow and I am looking forward to hearing your responses to the film. It offers a complex representation of gender and seeks to challenge notions of patriarchy. Over the Easter holiday, I would like you to write an essay in response to the three films watched. Choose 1 of the following essay questions and using the three key films studied (Tomb Raider, Thelma and Louise & The Piano) and any other examples, answer one of these over the Easter holiday:

GENDERED FILM STUDIES

  • Explore the benefits of applying a gendered critical approach to studying film with reference to specific case studies.
  • Is it too simple to say that some films target male audiences and other target female audiences?
  • How does a focus on gender contribute to the understanding of meaning and value in films?
  • What is the ‘male’ camera debate? Does film language create a gendered ‘look’?
  • What is to be gained by considering the position of a male or female spectator?
  • Does mainstream film represent male and female characters differently? Might this determine whether the spectator can identify with or objectify the character?
  • How might gender affect the construction of male and female stereotypes and/or stars?

The following article will help to inform your knowledge and understanding of the 'The Representation of Gender/Femininity in The Piano' and is a MUST read: 

From its beginnings, the film industry generally excluded women from the film-making process.
http://www.associatedcontent.comarticle/49323/the_representation_of_genderfemininity.html


Study Guide for Jane Campion’s “The Piano” (1993): Some questions to guide your thinking about the film -

Jane Campion’s “The Piano” takes place in mid-19th century New Zealand. Do some research about the colonial history in New Zealand and see how it helps you understand film.
Do some research about Jane Campion’s filmography to identify the common themes in her work.

  • How does the opening sequence help you understand Ada?
  • Why is Ada described as a “mail-order bride”?
  • What does Ada’s muteness signify in the film?
  • How do you think the New Zealand landscape with its forests, thick mud, sea and beach helps us understand the film?
  • What does a comparison between Stewart’s house and Baines’ house reveal about these two characters?
  • Analyze the characters of Stewart and Baines in relation to their relations to Ada and to the Maori.
  • Examine Stewart’s and Baines’s clothes and discuss what they reveal about these two men.
  • What does “land” mean to Stewart? What does it mean to the Maori?
  • Examine the piano metaphor in the film. What meaning(s) does it carry for different people in the film? Why does Ada need to claim it back?
  • What does Ada’s physical appearance (e.g. her clothes, her hair style) reveal about her and the society in which she lives?
  • Why do you think there is so much emphasis on buying and selling in the film? (Suggested reading: Ann Hardy’s “The Last Patriarch” in “Cambridge Film Handbooks: Jane Campion’s The Piano”, Harriet Margolis (Ed.), page. 72, 1st Edition, 2000)
  • What is the function of the Bluebeard play show in the film?
  • Identify the imagery of whiteness and blackness in the film and discuss what such imagery reveals.
  • What does Flora stand for in the film? How would you explain the change in Flora’s attitude towards her mother?
  • Identify some phallic symbols in the film and discuss their significance.
  • What is the symbolic value of Stewart’s cruel punishment of Ada? In this part of the film how does Jane Campion encourage the viewers to identify with Ada?
  • Do you find Campion’s portrayal of the Maori stereotypical? Why? Why not? Give your reasons.
  • Examine Laura Mulvey’s argument of “male gaze” in her famous article “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” (1975) and discuss to what extent and in what ways patriarchal conventions in filmmaking are challenged in Jane Campion’s “The Piano”.
  • Examine the relationship between Ada and the men around her in the light of French anthropologist Levi-Strauss’s theory of exchange.
  • What helps you identify the narrative voice in the film?
  • What is your interpretation of the film’s double ending?
  • Explore the theme of power struggle in the film.
  • Do you think the film makes a successful critique of phallocentrism? Give your reasons.
  • What link does the film establish between colonialism and patriarchy?
  • Jane Campion quoted in Judith Lewis’s “Wholly Jane”, L.A. Weekly, January 27, 2000:”The laws of men and women in Western society are carefully unwritten,… And feeling them, facing up to them, is like the pain of having a baby — no one will ever tell you about it, really, because it’s just beyond communicating. It’s so bad, so big, so enormous, that you can’t describe it or even believe it. In a way it’s the same for women feeling the world, facing the world. I don’t even talk about it, because it sounds like whingeing. But I’m not whingeing. I’m screaming.”
  • “I like to be able to project myself into the parts,…. and being a woman I like to therefore have heroines. We don’t have many, you know? So I feel like it’s my job. Not a crusade - just a natural thing to want to do.”
  • In light of the quotations above, discuss Jane Campion’s rationale in film making in relati