Summer Session I:
June 1 - July 9, 2009
SONGS OF THE DARK:
The Post-Modern Musical
June 1 - July 6
Films screened and discussed:
Dancer in the Dark (Lars Von Trier, 2000)
Moulin Rouge! (Baz Luhrmann, 2001)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Tim Burton, 2007)
Hedwig & the Angry Inch (John Cameron Mitchell, 2001)
+ Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog Part One (Joss Whedon, 2008)
The Saddest Music in the World (Guy Maddin, 2003)
+ Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog Part Two (Joss Whedon, 2008)
Repo! The Genetic Opera (Darren Lynn Bousman, 2008)
+ Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog Part Three (Joss Whedon, 2008)
"Musicals are back!" blare recent headlines -- but have they ever really left? This decade has specialized in dark, strange musicals which explore age-old themes -- love, jealousy, ambition, passion, revenge, while retelling them through the lens of post-modernism. Films whose characters perform songs to advance their story have been made for the past 90 years, but they honed their truly post-modern capabilities in this past decade, beginning with Moulin Rouge!. Post-modernism, an artistic style characterized by references to a variety of popular and artistic sources and an interest in applying technological advancements to enhance the look and the feel of film, has allowed for new forms of the musical to emerge. This course will examine six post-modern musical films of the past decade, along with a new medium of cinematic story-telling -- the web-based serial. Each of these films has expanded the conventions of musical cinema and while these films explore traditional themes (family relationships, loyalty, romance, criminality), they do so through non-traditional topics -- including transvestitism, often with an interest in blood and gore. The stories themselves reflect a remolding of genre conventions, often combining horror, comedy, coming-of-age, and morality fables, into one narrative. They use current inventions in technology to create the unique looks of these films, including digital cameras, visual effects, coloring, and editing techniques, to tell their stories in a myriad of ways.
Rachel Alina Michaels lectures on Media Arts and Communication at Columbia College Chicago. She received her Masters of Arts in Literature & Film from Northern Illinois University in 2000, where she studied Rock & Roll documentaries. Rachel has taught media courses for ten years, including History of Rock & Roll at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and lectured at Thames Valley University in London, UK. She is currently creating podcasting tutorials for Columbia College Chicago.
WOMEN OF THE
NEW GERMAN CINEMA
June 2 - July 7
Films screened and discussed:
Subjektitude (Helke Sander, 1967)
Break the Power of the Manipulators (Helke Sander, 1968)
Under the Pavement Lies the Strand (Helma Sanders-Brahms, 1975)
Germany, Pale Mother (Helma Sanders-Brahms, 1980)
Second Awakening of Christa Klages (Margarethe von Trotta, 1980)
Men (Doris Dörrie, 1985)
Man & Woman & Animal (Valie Export, 1970)
Invisible Adversaries (Valie Export, 1977)
Seduction: The Cruel Woman (Elfie Mikesh/Monika Treut, 1985)
New German Cinema, the film movement of the late 1960's through the early 1980's, which confronted audiences with challenging images of German society and its relationship to its past, is usually associated with West German male directors including Fassbinder, Herzog, Wenders, Schlöndorff, and Reitz. Needless to say, these men worked alongside, with and sometimes in conflict with just as many talented, productive and critically engaged women filmmakers, including those from Austria and East Germany. It does not suffice to group these international Germanophone women directors in with the men of "New German Cinema," nor is it fair to assume that they represented a marginal movement working (outside of or solely) in opposition to a male-dominated national art-house cinema or the conventions of commercial Hollywood filmmaking. In this class we will examine the conditions under which women filmmakers of the period increased their access to the means of cinematic production and how their films treat such topics as women's rights, sexual and gender relations, religion and ethnicity, domestic life, and Central Europe's post-war political and social landscape. We will be especially attentive to ways in which their films examined unconventional approaches to issues of gender during times of crisis and supposed re-stabilization.
Sara Hall is Associate Professor of Germanic Studies and the Chair of the undergraduate minor in Moving Image Arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She holds a PhD from the University of California Berkeley and has also studied in New York, Heidelberg, Jena and Berlin. Her major academic publications discuss the work of, among others, Fritz Lang, G.W. Pabst and Werner Herzog, and she has recently completed her book manuscript on law enforcement's engagements with film production in Weimar Berlin. Her interest in women's filmmaking in Germany and Austria extends from the earliest films made by Fern Andra and Louise Kolm-Fleck to the most recent works by Caroline Link and Margarethe von Trotta. She previously taught a class at the Facets Film School, titled Berlin: The City on Film.
The Rhetoric of Exposure
June 4-July 9
Films screened and discussed:
Red Desert (Michalangelo Antonioni, 1964)
The Spider's Stratagem (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970)
Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese, 1980)
The Natural (Barry Levinson, 1984)
Searching for Bobby Fischer (Steve Zaillian, 1993)
3-Iron (Kim Ki-Duk, 2004)
Audiences are most familiar with the contribution of the writer and director in the creation of a motion picture. Less known is the contribution of the cinematographer, referred to as an "Author of Light," who seeks the photo-mechanical-chemical transmutation of the writer's words and the director's vision. The success of cinematography is told by its invisibility and the very absence of discussion among general audiences is testament to its power to reveal and allude without calling graphic attention to itself. If the purpose of a film is to transport the audience into the scenario, than the obtrusive shot inelegantly represents the artifice requisite within motion picture construction. With a yeoman's eye, this course will unravel the mechanic behind light placement and exposure as the narrative of the script guides it. Red Desert is an allegorical study of the desolation of landscapes geographic and spiritual. The Spider's Stratagem foreshadows a photographic style Gordon Willis would later popularize in the Godfather Saga and delicately weaves the visual pillars of the more often graphic strokes of a thriller. Raging Bull is a craftsman's tour-de-force executing mechanical techniques made common a decade later with the advances in micro-processing. More closely associated with Latin-American and Spanish Cinema, magic realism is integrated flawlessly in The Natural. Searching for Bobby Fisher marks one of Conrad Hall's greatest and underrated achievements. If the nucleus of cinema is the orchestration of composition, action and editing, then 3-Iron is a text book study. With nearly no spoken words, it is a corporeal ghost story of inspired inventiveness.
Michael Wright graduated as a Cinematography Fellow from the American Film Institute. He has held positions throughout the motion picture ranks as a Grip, Key Grip, "Juicer", Best Boy, Gaffer and DP (Director of Photography). Wright was an Artist-in-Residence atColumbia College and has produced radio and television before traveling to Botswana to photograph the first indigenously produced film, Hot Chili. He is also the the founder of Wright Bros. Photoplay, a media production company based in Chicago. His most recent features were both shot on HD: Dog Jack, a civil war picture, and Banana Leaves a Nigerian-authored urban-American ghost story. Wright is the author of several screenplays that WBP is developing for production. He currently teaches cinematography at the Illinois Institute of Art at Chicago.
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