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Agenda. Quiz Announcements/Reminders/Shot List Peeping Tom Discussion Break Lecture/Discussion: Psychoanalysis , Laura Mulvey and the Gaze Mise -en-scene Intro to 8½ . Reminders and Announcements. This Week: Cinema Pacific for extra credit

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agenda
Agenda
  • Quiz
  • Announcements/Reminders/Shot List
  • Peeping Tom Discussion
  • Break
  • Lecture/Discussion: Psychoanalysis, Laura Mulvey and the Gaze
  • Mise-en-scene
  • Intro to 8½
reminders and announcements
Reminders and Announcements
  • This Week: Cinema Pacific for extra credit
  • Friday by Midnight: Email shot lists and Essays
  • Next Monday: Long Class for Fellini’s 8½
  • 4th Blog Post: Canceled
the blogs most common suggestions for next time
The Blogs: Most Common “Suggestions for Next Time”
  • Focus on one idea:
    • Because it will force you to make an argument with greater depth and complexity
    • Easier path to “showing the reader something new”
  • Use specific evidence from the film:
    • Look closely at particular shots and scenes, and show how they support your interpretation
    • Use the formal terminology from the class
  • Use topic sentences:
    • Begin paragraphs with a sentence or two that summarize the central claim of that paragraph
slide4

Use your shot list to develop a short (3 pages, 750 to 1000 words) critical essay about the scene. Your argument should focus on how ONE formal element of the sequence (mise-en-scéne, cinematography, etc) helps to create emotion, convey narrative, or contribute to one the film’s central themes.

  • In other words, your thesis should look something like this:
    • 1. In this sequence from [Sherlock Jr., Man with a Movie Camera, Singin’ in the Rain, or Peeping Tom] . . .
    • 2. [Choose One: Mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing, or sound] helps to . . .
    • 3. [Choose One or come up with something on your own: show how x character feels about y; reveal x about the film’s central theme of y; tells us x about y character; etc.]
  • Then, each of your body paragraphs will use evidence from the sequence to explain how the formal element you chose conveys the emotion/idea/theme that you chose to focus on.
structuring the essay
Structuring the Essay
  • Introductory paragraph:
    • Set the scene: tell us where this scene appears in the film
    • Establish the stakes: tell us why it matters
    • State your thesis
  • Body paragraphs (2 or 3, probably):
    • Start with a claim about what the formal element you chose is doing in the scene, then provide supporting evidence, then end with a sentence that ties back to your thesis.
    • Do that again, either with a different aspect of that same formal element, or a new idea related to the first thing you discussed.
  • Conclusion paragraph:
    • Sum up your main ideas
    • Make a connection to the big picture: How does your interpretation of this one formal element in this one particular scene affect your interpretation of the film as a whole?
peeping tom discussion
Peeping Tom Discussion
  • What drives the narrative of this film? What are the “major events”?
  • How is Mark characterized? Do you feel sympathy for him?
  • What did you notice about the film’s mise-en-scene?
  • Is the film sadistic? Also, why do you think critics hated it so much at first?
  • Is it actually a horror film?
psychoanalysis and film
Psychoanalysis and Film
  • Id/Superego/Ego:
    • Id: Subconscious desires
    • Superego: Internalization of morality and social codes
    • Ego: The mediator between the Id and the Superego
  • Repression: Burying desire (or trauma) in the subconscious; repression can manifest itself in “symptoms” like neurosis or anti-social behavior
  • Oedipus Complex (Freud): Repressed desire to possess the mother and murder the father
  • Imaginary/Symbolic/Real (Lacan):
    • Imaginary: Child begins with desire for unity, self-idealization
    • Symbolic: Child learns to repress desire through symbolic language: “law of the father”
    • Real: the unmediated, ineffable, inaccessible
  • Projection: Putting unwanted feelings (or desired qualities) onto someone else
  • Scopophilia: Pleasure of looking (sometimes manifest in objectification)
horror and psychoanalytic theory
Horror and Psychoanalytic Theory
  • “The literary Gothic mode is typically concerned with extreme states, such as violence and pain, fear and anxiety, sexual aggression and perversion, all of which have led many readers over the years to dismiss such texts as sensational and indulgent”- Tom Hillard
  • The Gothic “is about the return of the past, of the repressed and denied, the buried secret that subverts and corrodes the present, whatever the culture does not want to know or admit, will not or dare not tell itself.” - Allan Lloyd-Smith
laura mulvey visual pleasure and narrative cinema
Laura Mulvey: “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”
  • “In a world ordered by sexual imbalance, pleasure in looking has been split between active/male and passive/female. The determining male gaze projects its fantasy on to the female form which is styled accordingly.”
  • Two basic types of male gaze in film:
    • Fetishistic: Transformation of the female form into an abstract ideal
    • Sadistic: Assessing a woman’s guilt, asserting control, then punishing or forgiving
  • Three “looks” of film:
    • The camera, the audience, and the people on screen
    • “The conventions of narrative film deny the first two and subordinate them to the third”
additions corrections to mulvey
Additions/Corrections to Mulvey
  • Concept of the gaze is heterosexist:
    • Assumes that “male gaze” means heterosexual male’s gaze when desire is more complex than that
  • The racial dynamics of the gaze:
    • The gaze is an expression of power, and racial hierarchies shape the cinematic gaze
    • For example, in 1960, a black man couldn’t gaze at a woman the way a white man does
  • Possibility of female gaze:
    • Looking for expressions of female agency and desire on screen
mulvey on peeping tom
Mulvey on Peeping Tom
  • PeepingTom, as its title implies, is overtly about voyeuristic sadism. Its central character is a young cameraman and thus the story of voyeuristic perversion is, equally overtly, set within the film industry and the cinema itself, foregrounding its mechanisms of looking, and the gender divide that separates the secret observer (male) from the object of his gaze (female). The cinema spectator’s own voyeurism is made shockingly obvious and even more shockingly, the spectator identifies with the perverted protagonist. It is this relentless exposure of cinematic conventions and assumptions that has attracted the interest of feminist film critics, and the recent application of psychoanalytic theory to film theory clearly reveals the film’s psychoanalytic frame of reference.PeepingTom is a film of many layers and masks; its first reviewers were unable even to see it at face value. Entrenched in the traditions of English realism, these early critics saw an immoral film set in real life whose ironic comment on the mechanics of film spectatorship and identification confused them as viewers. But PeepingTom offers realistic cinematic images that relate to the cinema and nothing more. It creates a magic space for its fiction somewhere between the camera’s lens and the projector’s beam of light on the screen.
other feminist lenses for film
Other Feminist Lenses for Film
  • Thematic/Ideological
    • What does the film say about gender?
  • Industrial
    • What roles did women play in making the film?
  • Counter-cinemas
    • What are movies that break the “male gaze” mold?
  • The BechdelTest:
    • 1. A film that has at least two [named] women
    • 2. Who talk to each other
    • 3. About something besides a man
    • (So far, we’re 0 for 4)
mise en scene according to lam
Mise-En-Scene According to LaM
  • Design
    • Nonhuman: Setting, Décor, Props
    • Human: Costume, Makeup, Hair
    • Lighting: Play of shadows, Chiaroscuro
  • Composition
    • Framing: onscreen/offscreen space; open/closed frames
    • Kinesis: Blocking, Movement of Figures
what does mise en scene do
What does mise-en-scene do?
  • Characterization:
    • Social class
    • Sexuality and Gender
    • Character traits
    • State of mind
  • Advance Narrative:
    • Ex. Key props (like Marcellus Wallace’s briefcase)
    • Blocking of characters to show shift in relationship
  • Establish Setting:
    • Time period
    • Geographical Location
    • Level of Verisimilitude
  • Signal Genre:
    • Ex. Darkness and Shadows of Horror
  • Convey Emotion:
    • Closed Space: Anxiety
    • Open Space: Possibility
mise en scene and horror
Mise-en-Scene and Horror
  • What are the elements of mise-en-scene typically associated with the horror genre?
  • Some examples:
    • Use of space to create suspense, sense of confinement
    • Key props, like Mark’s camera
    • Lighting to create uncertainty and fear
    • Monster makeup and gore
next week 8 1963
Next Week: 8½ (1963)
  • Directed by Federico Fellini
    • Apprenticed with the Italian neo-realists
    • Began to explore dreams, fantasy in the 1950s
  • Follows La Dolce Vita (1960)
    • Big success, big controversy
  • Truffaut on 8½: “complete, simple, beautiful, honest”