WINTER SESSION II:
November 9 - December 23, 2010
HIS CINEMATIC REALM OF DREAMS, MAGIC AND THE SELF
November 9 - December 14
Films screened and discussed:
I vitelloni (The Wastrels, 1953)
La strada (The Road, 1954)
La dolce vita (The Sweet Life, 1959)
- To be shown in 2 parts for 2 separate classes
Otto e mezzo (8½, 1963)
Amarcord (I Remember, 1974)
Federico Fellini burst upon world cinema with his 1954 film La strada. It was not his first film but it was the first to bring him to the attention of American audiences and garner an Academy Award. This film and successes to follow, including La dolce vita, Otto e mezzo and Amarcord, not only brought Fellini universal acclaim but also established him as an auteur. By auteur, we think of the filmmaker who invests his art with a personal stamp. With Fellini this egoism goes deep since his films not only focus sharply on himself but also indulge his most intimate fantasies. Although Felliini's filmic world is largely autobiographical, his observations of the changing society around him are also acute. Through cinema he anticipates a quirky postmodern future: a world that is as freewheeling and as unpredictable as are the viewers' own lives and dreams. Fellini's turn from conventional cinema was very early and quite disconcerting both to the church and to critics. Already in La dolce vita the auteur has abandoned the well-made plot as well as traditional values. He has also abruptly abandoned the sentimental, but immensely popular, Italian Neorealismo that was "thought" to have inspired his earlier films, including I vitelloni. Instead he has turned his camera's eye towards a random, carnivalesque and unnerving social setting that debunks the strict tenets of film realism. Fellini often said that his cinema has no point of view, and that he only observes and reports. However, in this course that will examine Fellini's best works, we will learn that, despite himself, Fellini's cinema is full of "attitude," and that his slyly ironic take on life is worth exploration and debate. It will also be interesting to observe how Fellini's art influenced other filmmakers, including some of our premier American directors.
Connie Markey holds a Ph.D in late twentieth-century (post-war) Italian literature and film and has taught at DePaul University for many years. She has published many articles both on Italian film and literature for scholarly journals, as well as for the Chicago Tribune. She is the co-author of Federico Fellini: A Guide to References and Resources and the author of Italo Calvino: A Journey toward Postmodernism.
MODES OF INTERROGATION:
THE DOCUMENTARIES OF ERROL MORRIS
Nov. 11-18 & Dec. 2-23
Films screened and discussed:
The Thin Blue Line (1988)
The Dark Wind (1991)
Fast, Cheap and Out of Control (1997)
Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A.
Leuchter, Jr. (1999)
The Fog of War (2003)
Standard Operating Procedure (2008)
* Additionally, we will examine Morris' many commercials, excerpts from his short-lived
television show "First Person", and the trailer for
his upcoming film "Tabloid".
Errol Morris was born in New York state in 1948. He graduated with B.A. in History at the University of Wisconsin and unsuccessfully studied a variety of postgraduate subjects at Princeton and Berkeley before eventually quitting academia. In 1975, he struck up a friendship with Werner Herzog and began interviewing infamous serial killer Ed Gein for a project he never completed. Instead, he took money that Herzog gave him and traveled to Vernon, Florida to make a project about insurance scam amputees, which later became Vernon, Florida. Before that project was completed, Morris made Gates of Heaven, a documentary about pet cemeteries. He attempted to get several other films made, both fiction and non-fiction, but instead was forced to take work as a private investigator in New York. While researching Dr. James Grigson for the film that eventually become Mr. Death, he met death row inmate Randall Dale Adams and became convinced his conviction was based on bad evidence. The film about the case, The Thin Blue Line, was Morris' breakthrough work and resulted in Adams being released from prison. His subsequent documentary work continues this trend of using his detective background to gain piercing insight into his subjects. In this course, we will examine the intersection between Morris' work as a private detective and his documentary techniques, including his later development of "The Interrotron", a device he developed to more directly "interrogate" his interview subjects. We will also compare and contrast his documentary work with his lone narrative feature, The Dark Wind.
James Francis Flynn is a graduate of the Western College Program at Miami University with a degree in Creative Writing and Film. His debut feature film as a writer/director, Eastern College, played festivals in 2008 and is currently available on DVD and video-on-demand. He is in pre-production on his second feature, The Stick-Up Kid. His other credits include Fingerman, Miss Ohio, Audrey the Trainwreck, Incredibly Small and Joe Swanberg's web series Young American Bodies.
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