Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Final Exam Format

Dear Cinaesthetes (probably one of the last times I'll call you that -- a triste occasion),

As promised, here is my blog entry on the format of the final exam.  No surprises, since it's exactly as reported in class last week.  Still, here is what you can expect, for the record.

The exam will cover all films and readings from Gladiator onward.  You might wish to navigate over to our Resources page, where everything is archived with dates.

(1)  Primary sources.  I'll give you some passages from our ancient authors (Vergil, Homer, Petronius, and Aristotle).  You'll identify the author and the work, and provide brief background on what's happening in the passage with regard to the overall plot.  Then you'll discuss each in terms of overall film sense.  In response to some concerns raised after the midterm, I will include multiple passages from Homer and Petronius, since those readings were longer.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Reading and Agenda for Thursday, 12-08-11

Dear Cinematic Classicists,

For our last class on Thursday, December 8, please read the following chapters in Michael Tierno's zippy little tome, Aristotle's Poetics for Screenwriters:
  • Introduction, 1, 3, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 18, 19, 28, 30, and 31.

You'll see that all of the chapters pertain to matters we discussed last week, and perhaps you'll want to have your translation of the Poetics at hand.  If you've ever wondered whether, say, Pulp Fiction conforms to the Aristotelian unities of time, space, and action, then this book is for you.  It's a lot of fun, and a great way to get under the skin of Aristotle's sometimes dry opining.

Semester Project Due Date

Dear Cinaesthetes,

In case you missed class today or just didn't hear me, I'd like to repeat my three announcements about the semester project.

(1)  The final paper is now due by 11:00 p.m., Monday, December 12 (still via email).  This, so that you can bring the project to a satisfactory close.  You may submit your paper earlier if you wish.

(2)  I thought we had a copy of Agora in the library.  We do not, so if you need the film for your paper, let me know and I can loan you my personal copy.

(3)  I'm working through my responses to your final outlines and annotated bibliographies.  If we've already talked about your paper in some detail, I might comment on your bibliography only.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Reading and Agenda for Tuesday, 12-06-11

Dear Cinematic Classicists,

For Tuesday, December 6, please read the following:

Seigel discusses O Brother with specific reference to Homer's poem, pointing out connections that other viewers and critics have missed.

*          *          *          *          *

Our agenda for Tuesday's class will be to elucidate your thoughts on O Brother in light of Seigel's essay and Homer's Odyssey.  We'll watch scenes from the film as needed.


Screening on Monday, 12-05-11

Dear Classicists-on-Film,

On Monday, December 5, we'll have our last screening of the semester:  O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Joel Coen, 2000, 107 min.), which is based on Homer's Odyssey.

Being a Coen Brothers joint, the film is as weird and wonderful as the others in our "Modern Classics" unit.  Hence there are any number of things you might wish to note, but let me suggest the notion of myth.  How does the film create an appropriately mythical world for a 20th-century Odysseus/Ulysses?


Reading for Monday, 12-05-11

Dear Cinaesthetes,

In preparation for our screening of O Brother, Where Art Thou? on Monday, December 5, please read the following:

Make sure you put in the time on this epic:  these assigned books have the most resonance with O Brother.  As was the case with the Iliad, our heavy excerpting will create gaps that need filling in.  As a supplement -- but not as a replacement for reading the poem -- you might consult the Wikipedia synopsis of the plot.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Readings and Agenda for Thursday, 12-01-11

Dear Cinaesthetes,

For Thursday, December 1 (!), please read the following:

Sullivan productively discusses Fellini's adaptation of Petronius' novel, both as a "translation by equivalent" and as a work now intertwined with literary history of Satyricon.  The essay should get us a little further down the road toward understanding Fellini's poetic, dreamlike film.