RJs: Are to be posted online. I will grade these as a whole at the end of the semester, but if you are doing less than ‘B-level’ work, I will contact you sooner with suggestions for improvement. This is serious writing, and should be drafted in word, proofread, and posted. It is less formal than a paper, but should still thoughtfully engage the readings and the films. It is not a “stream of consciousness” journal; your responses may touch on opinions and personal experiences as one source of knowledge, they should be grounded in the readings and films.
Students to Lead Discussions:
Theories: Your goal in leading a discussion of a theoretical reading is to help us understand it using a handout that emphasizes key points from the reading. You are starting the discussion and emphasizing the interconnections between the reading and the films. You do not need to carry the discussion for three hours—your classmates will jump right in! You may use, and probably will want to cite, a short quote, but don’t rely on the quote to make the point for you.
Films: Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Ma Vie En Rose, Totally Fucked Up, High Art, My Own Private Idaho, Boys Don’t Cry, The Brandon Teena Story, But I’m a Cheerleader, Watermelon Woman. Your goal in leading discussion is to bring a relevant additional background about the film and its reception to the class, using a handout, and open the discussion with questions (it is OK to use the RJ for inspiration, but it is helpful to move beyond it as well.) You do not need to carry the discussion for three hours—your classmates will jump right in! Point to at least one key intersection between the readings and the film using a specific scene. You may show a short clip, but don’t rely on the clip to make your point for you.
Midterm Paper, Due March 3- Engaging the Theories:
Choose one of the major theorists that we are reading: Butler, Fanon, Halberstam or Mulvey, and relate the readings (and potentially additionally readings of their work) to one or two of the films for the course. Your 8-10 page paper will analyzes both the story and the aesthetic aspects of the film in relation to the theorist.
You should be sure to use film studies vocabulary and treat the audio and visual content of the film as well as its plot. Please avoid plot summary.
A good thesis might look like this:
“Using the 1993 production Orlando, directed by Sally Potter and based on the novel by Virginia Woolf, I will demonstrate that not only is a female gaze active within mainstream cinema, but that its existence within popular culture is necessary to bring about the changes that Mulvey states are essential to the representation of women in film. This contradicts Laura Mulvey’s assertion that…”
Or you might compare Fanon and Halberstam on the Gaze, or Butler and Fanon on “performativity” or you might want to argue AGAINST a theory, using a film as a text…
For 4/14 Global Presentation:
In groups of 2, choose a global queer film from the suggestions above, or your own research. Prepare a 10-minute presentation that includes a short clip, and addresses how queer representations, stories, and images differ across culture/nation. Be sure to use film studies vocabulary.
Final Paper, Due 4/29
Author/Auteur Study 12-14 pages
- Su Friedrich
- Todd Haynes
- Gus Van Sant
- Sadie Benning
- Isaac Julian
- Marlon Riggs
- Rose Troche
- John Cameron Mitchell
- Tom Kalin
- Todd Haynes
- Gregg Araki
- Lisa Cholodenko
- Tom Kalin
In this assignment, you will focus on three or four films by one director from the list above and analyze aspects of auteurism in each film.
How do these films bear the unmistakable stamp of the director? Your paper will seek to answer this question by analyzing the themes and styles a director uses to present a unique artistic, intellectual vision.
How do these films fit into or push the boundaries of the larger category of queer cinema?
What binds these films together under the authorship of the director you have chosen? Your thesis should attempt to identify some particular aspect that the films share in common.
Your paper will also display a detailed examination of the films, commenting upon how various aspects of the films (lighting, sound track, dialogue, etc.) illustrate and support the thesis statement.
You should be sure to use film studies vocabulary and treat the audio and visual content of the film as well as its plot. However, make sure that you avoid mere plot summary.
Please cite at least two (3) reputable sources in MLA style in order to help you make your analysis. Examples of reputable sources you might use in your analysis include the following: a scholarly article on the movie(s) of your topic, an interview with the director, a review by a well-respected critic, or an article on a related cultural issue (e.g., postmodern film or art or theory).
A successful paper will contain a strong thesis; have detailed, analyzed evidence from the film to support your argument; and integrate scholarly research.