ENGL 398 (S19N01): Film Studies: Voyeurism, Representation, and Cinematic Influence

Prof: Paul Watkins
Location: Nanaimo (355.203)
Class Hours:  Monday 6 pm – 9: 30 pm
Office Hours: M, Tu, & Thurs: 4 – 5pm
Email: paul.watkins@viu.ca
Phone: Ext. 2118
Office: 345. 204

 “[T]he camera makes everyone a tourist in other people’s reality, and eventually in one’s own.”
–Susan Sontag

This course examines the persistent influence of cinema by placing films into conversation with one another. We enter that dialogism by examining how we derive visual pleasure from looking at films (Laura Mulvey’s influential “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” will guide our early conversations) and we will explore themes such as the gaze and voyeurism (scopophilia), visual representation, feminism, and masculinity. Our first pairing puts two auteurs—Stanley Kubrick and Wes Anderson—into conversation vis-à-vis The Shining (1980) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014): both films are antirealist, and yet they maintain verisimilitude. Our next pairing puts Alfred Hitchcock’s influential Vertigo (1958) beside David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive (2001). We will then watch three films that resist easy interpretation and are about the love of looking: Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love (2000), Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation (2003), and Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight (2016). Our next grouping subverts the male gaze from a feminist perspective and includes Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust (1991), Beyoncé’s Lemonade (2016), and Jane Campion’s The Piano (1993). While these films subvert the gaze in multifaceted ways, they have complex issues with how the Indigenousotheris represented, which is why we end the course with two films that detail Indigenous experiences in relation to Canada’s residential school system: Jeff Barnaby’s Rhymes for Young Ghouls (2013) and Richard Wagamese’s and Stephen Campanelli’s Indian Horse (2018). The course will include film screenings, a close comparative film analysis, a short creative film project, and a research essay. I look forward to an exciting semester with you!


Required Text:

  • The Wes Anderson Collection: The Grand Budapest Hotelby Matt Zoller Seitz et al.

Optional Texts:

  • Writing About Movies by Karen Gocsik, Richard Barsam, and Dave Monahan
  • In the Mood for Love by Tony Rayns (see Amazon or Chapters)
  • The Shining by Roger Luckhurst (see Amazon or Chapters)
  • Vertigo by Charles Barr (see Amazon or Chapters)

Free Introductory Film Texts:


Evaluation:

  • Short Film Reflection (400-500 words) 10%
  • Short Comparative Essay (750-1000 words) 15%
  • Film Project 20%
  • Research Essay (2500-3000 words) 30%
  • Final Exam (Scene Analysis and Essay) 25%

See paper copy of syllabus for detailed breakdowns of assignments. 


Schedule:
Please note that this schedule is subject to change as the term progresses.

Introduction to the Course

1.7 
Selected clips: Carl Theodor Dreyer, The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928); Ingmar Bergman, Persona (1966); Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund, City of God (2002); Joel and Ethan Cohen, No Country for Old Men (2007); Stephen Spielberg, Jaws (1975) and Saving Private Ryan (1998); Jason Reitman, Juno (2007); Ryan Coogler, Black Panther (2018)
Lecture (8-9 pm): On Stanley Kubrick and The Shining [opening]

PART I: THE POWER OF CINEMA’S ILLUSION(S)

A. Crafting Worlds like Mazes: Cinematic Style and Fantasy

1.14 
Reading: Elizabeth Jean Hornbeck, “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?: Domestic Violence in The Shining.” Also see “All Roads Lead to the Abject” (Kilker) and “‘Real Horrorshow’” (Smith)
Clip: Jordan Peele, Get Out (2016)
Screening: Stanley Kubrick, The Shining (1980 | 144 min )

1.21
Reading: The Wes Anderson Collection (Matt Zoller Seitz et al.). Also see “Literary Influence and Memory” (Dilley)
Clip: Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Amélie (2001)
Screening: Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014 | 100 min)

B. The Male Gaze and Doubles

1.28
Reading: Laura Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”
Also see “Visual ‘Drive’ and Cinematic Narrative: Reading Gaze Theory in Lacan, Hitchcock, and Mulvey” (Manlove) and “In the Gallery of the Gaze” (Jacobs)
Clip: Alfred Hitchcock, Rear Window (1954)
Clip 2: Chris Marker, La Jetée (1962)
Screening: Alfred Hitchcock, Vertigo (1958 | 128 min)
Short Film Reflection Due (paper copy or on VIULearn)

2.4
Reading: Vernon Shetley, “The Presence of the Past: Mulholland Drive against Vertigo”
Clip: Victor Fleming et al., The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Clip 2: Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard (1950)
Screening: David Lynch, Mulholland Drive (2001 | 146 min)

Video Essay 1: “How Lynch Manipulates You
Video Essay 2: “Mulholland Drive Explained

PART II: RECLAIMING THE GAZE

C. Mood Music, Voyeurism, and Gender in the Moonlight

2.11
Reading: Tony Hughes-d’Aeth, “Psychoanalysis and the Scene of Love: Lars and the Real Girl, In the Mood for Love, and Mulholland Drive
Clip: Ana Lily Amirpour, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)
Screening: Wong Kar-Wai, In the Mood for Love (2000 | 98 min)

2.18 & 2.25
Family Day and Study Days

3.4  
Readings: Chenhsiang Chiu, “Transnational Mobility: Reading Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation as a Tourist Romance” and Frank P. Tomasulo, “Japan Through Others’ Lenses: Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959) and Lost in Translation (2003)
Clip: Yasujirō Ozu, Tokyo Story (1953)
Screening: Sophia Coppola, Lost in Translation (2003 | 101 min)
Film Script Due on VIULearn 

3.11
Reading: “One Step Ahead: A Conversation With Barry Jenkins”
Clip: Dee Rees, Pariah (2011) [Clip 1; Clip 2]
Clip 2: Claire Denis, Beau Travail (1999)
Screening: Barry Jenkins, Moonlight (2016 | 111 min)
Comparative Essay Due (if writing about Moonlight due on 18th)

D. Feminist Cinema and the Gaze

3.18
Reading: Pacharee Sudhinaraset, “‘We Are Not an Organically City People”: Black Modernity and the Afterimages of Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust
Clip: Spencer Williams,The Blood of Jesus (1941)
Screening: Julie Dash, Daughters of the Dust (1991 | 112 min)

3.25
Screening: Beyoncé et al., Lemonade (2016 | 65 min)
Clip: Terrance Malik, Tree of Life (2011)
Film Project Screening [Film due with link by email by Friday, March 22nd]

VIDEO ESSAY: Film Fidelity: Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” from Nelson Carvajal on Vimeo.

(breakdown of visual video essay, here)

4.1
Reading: Caroline Brown, “The Representation of the Indigenous Other in Daughters of the Dust and The Piano
Clip: Niki Caro, The Whale Rider (2002)
Screening: Jane Campion, The Piano (1993 | 117 min)

E. Whose Gaze? Reconciliation, Indigenous Cinema, and Visual Resurgence

4.8   
Reading/ Listening: Sean Carleton, “On Violence and Vengeance: Rhymes for Young Ghouls and the Horrific History of Canada’s Indian Residential Schools” and Jesse Wente on Metro Morning discussing Indian Horse
Home Viewing (Criterion on Demand): Jeff Barnaby, Rhymes for Young Ghouls (2013 | 88 min)
Clip: Zacharias Kunuk, Atanarjuat:The Fast Runner (2001)
Screening: Stephen Campanelli, Indian Horse (2017 | 100 min)
Research Essay Due (if you are writing about the last two films, you may have a four-day extension until April 12)
Final Exam Review

Articles for Reading:

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Ph.D. Professor. Writer. Musician. A space for riffings on film, literature, and music.

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