Viewing Experimental Films from class…

Many of the experimental films we screened last/this week are hard to find, but I’ve been able to get them all on reserve. Here are titles and links to the discs that contain these works if you would like to study/write about them, or if you missed class:

Sembene, Black Girl– on reserve in library; Netflix

Alea, Memories of Underdevelopment– on reserve in library; Netflix

Bute, Rhythm in Light— On reserve (PN1995.9 .E96 U57 2005 v.3); Netflix (in collection Unseen Cinema, Disc 3, “Light Rhythms: Music and Abstraction”)

Deren, Meshes of the Afternoon— on disc Maya Deren: Experimental Films on reserve (PN1995.9 .E96 M39 2002) on on Netflix

Cornell, Thimble Theater– On reserve (PN1995.9 .E96 U57 2005 v.2); Netflix (in collection Unseen Cinema, Disc 2, “Devil’s Plaything”)

Menken, Go Go Go— in collection Treasures IV: American avant garde film, 1947-1986, on reserve (PN1995.9 .E96 T74 2009– check out both discs) or Netflix (both discs)

Brakhage, Mothlight— By Brakhage: An Anthology, Vol. 1, Disc 2 on reserve (PN1998.3 .B74 B93 2003) or on Netflix

Anger, Kustom Kar Kommandos— The Films of Kenneth Anger V. 2 on reserve (PN1995.9 .E96 F552 2007) or on Netflix

And the film that brought the house down, George Kuchar’s Hold Me While I’m Naked:


Assignment #2: Formal analysis of a scene

I wanted to make sure everyone knew that the guidelines for Assignment #2 were discussed at the beginning of our last class. It’s a challenging assignment, so I’d suggest reading the materials over now, and thinking about the scene you’d like to tackle. Since we’ve got the holiday this week, next week is your last/best chance to ask questions in person.  I’m very excited to see what you do with this!


Indian Cinema Class (11/11)

The cards are stacked against me this semester– unfortunately I cannot make it to class next week as I need to leave earlier than expected for a conference I am presenting at on Friday. I’m going to be covering the notes for our Indian Cinema lecture this week and the following week. I’m posting our notes on Blackboard tonight. I’d like for you to view the film we would have screened on your own– this can be done in the library, or you can view a fairly decent version on YouTube. The only hitch is that it is divided into 9 parts– not ideal, I realize, but it can be quite difficult to find a decent transfer of this film commercially. I’ve got links to the YouTube version here.

I’ll be showing the following links in class, but just in case we run short on time, or you happen to miss them, here are some highlights.

From Mother India (1957): a delightful group song and dance number in the cornfields. This is one of the only moments of happiness in the film, before tragedy, poverty, natural disasters, and violence rip this family and community apart….

From Apna Desh (1972):

I’m cheating on the dates for this number, but it’s one of my all time favorites. This song is AMAZING, the visualization defies logic, and Mumtaz (the female lead)– there are no words. I can’t find the title sequence online, but will play this in class to give you a sense of the narrative and moral for the film. In short, the upstanding, traditional young hero, aided by his love interest, local coconut salesgirl Mumtaz, embarks on an undercover sting operation to expose the corruption of their local government and business leaders. In this number, they pose as Western, wealthy rock-and-rollers, proposing a crooked business deal, complete with fish tank and dancing girls.

I’ll fill in the details in class….

Playtime in 70mm– what a treat!

One of my favorite movies of all time is playing at the Museum of the Moving Image this week– in glorious 70mm! What does this mean? It means the size of the film frame is literally twice as big as standard 35mm film. Thus the projected image will be big, lush, and have twice the resolution (it isn’t being enlarged as much). Playtime, by Jacques Tati, is a comic critique of modern society, circa 1967– very little dialogue, a million sight gags, and more amazing 60s French modern fashion and architecture than you can handle. I’d highly recommend this as an extra credit option… Friday and Saturday, showtimes here:


Film Festival: Hollywood “Jew Wave”

Several of the films being screened here would count for the extra credit project….

From the Film Society at Lincoln Center: Starting this Thursday, November 3rd, the Film Society will be host to the series “Hollywood: Jew Wave,” honoring J. Hoberman’s critical text regarding the burst of Jewish talent and content that surfaced in 1960’s and 70’s. Running through November 13th, this series will showcase some of the classic films which helped solidify the already emerging topics of Jewish comedy and Jewish self-identification, including screenings of Funny Girl, Annie Hall, The Producers, Lenny, and more!
Additional information on our “Jew Wave” series can be found on our website:
J.Hoberman’s riveting text introducing this study can also be found on our website in four parts. (first installment):

Considering the content of these exciting films and the impact they had on Hollywood, we thought your students and fellow staff would be interested in hearing about the series.

MY BAD: Assignment deadline is 10/17 (not 11/17)

This is why it is a bad idea to try to send out announcements when you have a fever of 103: The extension on the assignment was 3 days, not 33 days. I made a typographical error on my original email/postings. If your assignment isn’t up already, please get it up right away.

Apologies for the confusion, but I hope it was clear to most of you that this was a mistake.
Prof. Herzog

Class cancelled – Prof. Herzog has the flu….

I’m very sorry to report that I’m quite sick with the flu, and cannot make it to class tomorrow. My doctor, in fact, forbade me to even try given my fever (and offered to write me a note, which I found somewhat funny– if anyone needs a copy, let me know).

SO– here is what we will do:

  1. I will post the slides I would have shown by tomorrow. I will also post the midterm study guide.
  2. I’d like for you to watch the film on your own: Yasojiru Ozu’s Early Summer. It is available in the library to watch on the monitors there (go to the Media Center on the 1st Floor and tell them you need Ozu’s Early Summer call number PN1995.9 .F67 B358 2004). You can also order it through Netflix. Please check your QC email for instructions on accessing an alternative resource…
  3. Please let me know asap if you are able to attend the field trip to the Museum of the Moving Image on 11/3 at 1pm. The tour will be about 90 minutes, and should be quite fun! We have to tell them how many people are coming, so please visit this site to sign up. Click yes or no, and add your full name. We need this by tomorrow– I was going to do a headcount in class, but alas cannot.
  4. And here’s the good news you were all hoping for: there’s really no way I’m going to start grading these assignments tomorrow, the way I’m feeling. So you get an extension: Please post your shot-by-shot analyses by Monday 10/17 at 9am. If your post is already up and you want to revise it, feel free. And I’d encourage you to read each other’s projects, and see what approaches seem most productive. Don’t copy, obviously (we’d all catch that, given the public forum!), but one of the goals of the blog is to learn from each other’s work. You have a few extra days now to read and revise.

Good luck, and I’m really very sorry to miss class– I was looking forward to watching this film together. I hope no one else has this bug– it’s awful.

Enabling comments…

I’ve had a few students contact me in frustration, because they are attempting to comment on their group-mates’ blogs, but can’t– either because very few people in their groups have written anything, or they don’t have comments enabled (Group 8, I’m looking at you!!).

Please bear in mind that your classmates get graded on the comments they provide to you– when you slack off on this, you sabotage the whole discussion process (not to mention your own grade).

To enable comments:

Click on Settings on your Dashboard. Then click on Discussion.  Make sure to check the box that says “Allow people to post comments on new articles.”  Then make sure these boxes are NOT checked in the section “Before a comment appears”: “An administrator must always approve the comment” and “Comment author must have a previously approved comment.”

Please check that comments are enabled on your site. Let me know if you are having trouble with this.