- Why does Marker choose to portray the film through stills rather than motion pictures? are we viewers affected in any way by this kind of presentation?
- Consider the themes of time, memory, and how reality is experienced. What does the film reveal about our own memories? Consider even what this film has to say about cinema.
- Although there's not much dialogue taking place in the film, do the voice over and the other sound effects form its own narrative?
Friday, October 29, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
This avoidable situation and the complication that accompanies it leads to the explicit statement by Roy that he wants to be rid of Norma (page 252), who chooses instead to believe that Roy is making this life decision because he experienced first-hand the disrespect that men show women. After Norma makes this statement, she makes it clear that she operates in denial. This should evoke a sense of concern within readers as this denial leads to an alteration of tone applied while portraying the Roy/Norma dichotomy. Norma reveals her insecurities, which is quite surprising since she normally fawns over herself and Roy loses his cool, collected mien that led him to unbelievable success in the past as he adopts instead a newfound air of paranoia (p. 215, 303-305). What does this say of the novel as a whole? Should we as readers be concerned that the portrayal of the first two sections, and thus the events that took place, was an inaccurate portrait?
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
A characterization point that I found important is in Chapter Five, during the confrontation between Mary and Norma/Roy: “‘I knew you’d gone dressed like that when I saw your suit still hanging up,’ she said. I was ready to try and explain why I had chosen the particular outfit I had, but she seemed reluctant to listen, and, besides, I suddenly felt horribly conspicuous in it” (77). From this, it seems likely that Mary and Norma share a close relationship, because Norma says she is actually moved by Mary’s feelings. Unlike during the job interview, where she is adamant about her role and her rights as a woman, here she reveals vulnerability and unsureness. Did you, like me, see Mary as an especially important character, one who we readers can trust more in figuring out Norma/Roy’s actual situation and personality?
Also - a semi-related yet very important question: how does it seem like form is playing into this developing mystery? If, like we were establishing in class, we don't exactly trust the narrator’s voice... why? Is it through direct plot action, through the form itself, or a combination of the two?
Sunday, October 17, 2010
What in the world is going on with Norma?
As refreshing as it is to be reading a—comparatively speaking—novel, after a string of books that I have not quite been able to characterize, Woman’s World is still considerably more unconventional in terms of the definition of a “novel” than, say, something written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. What Graham Rawle is giving readers is a story, constructed beautifully out of clippings from 1960s-era women’s magazines. This is the story of Norma Fontaine/Little, but after reading the beginnings of this book I cannot place my finger on who she really is.
I think this might be part of Rawle’s intention, or maybe not. After all, the actual text of this book was largely improvisational on his part—he stated that his first draft of the story was his own words, but in using the clippings the bulk of his writing was altered. Because of this, Norma’s personality is slightly muddled during the first one hundred or so pages of the book. We know that she lives with her brother, Roy, and someone named Mary, and that her wardrobe is seemingly endless and exceedingly fashionable. But the story of her life before this novel is unclear. Who was she before? Why is she not allowed to answer the door? Why do her neighbors think her a stranger, and her home’s regular postman confused by her presence? How much, if at all, can we trust her?
Sorry Vince Vaughn but I’m tired of staring at your ugly mug for an hour and a half.(What's with that mustache anyway?)Yet, (500) Days was a surprisingly refreshing detour from the cookie cutter formula that most of romantic comedies fall under. Released in 2009 and directed by relatively unproven music video director Marc Webb, the films stars Joseph Gordin-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel.
The movie follows a failed relationship between Gordin-Levitt’s character Tom and Deschanel’s character Summer as a non-linear sequence of days during said relationship. The beginning of the film nods towards the idea that the films plot isn’t entirely based upon fiction reading “Any resemblance to people living or dead is purely coincidental ... Especially you, Jenny Beckman ... Bitch”. Writer Scott Neustadter later admitted that Bechman is from a former relationship of his. The writing of the movie is based upon this to a point.
The film through the relationship of Tom and Summer brings up the problems of memory when someone looks back to tell a narrative. 500 (Days) does this by playing scenes multiple times but with Tom analyzing the situation in a new light. Writing the film as a memory of days also allows it to show the conflict between Tom’s expectations and the reality he faces.
The final point the film brings into focus is the problem of knowing another mind. Since the movie is told solely through Tom’s point of view (as well as a third person narrator) a solipsistic relationship develops between Tom and Summer. This is limiting in the sense that we don’t get a clear picture of both sides of the relationship, and speaks to relationships between all people. This also raises the question if we can understand what writers and authors present to us as recipients of their work, since we cannot understand the authors intent.
A few things to think of while watching the film: How the role of memory affects the narrative is told as well as the content, whether solipsism actually creates a rift between author and reader (or in this case writer and watcher) or that this problem does not exist, and finally whether or not this movie succeeds in presenting a “real” representation of a relationship as it tries to do.
Finally here's a trailer for the movie:
Monday, October 11, 2010
Layla, Alex, Diane, Cat, Bonnie, Leroy
David, Krista, Brian, Matti, Stephanie, Ben
Sally, Bianca, Nicole, Donnovan, Joyce, Sang
Lauren, Cassie, Patrick, Margaret, Dan, Phillip
Hopefully, you've already gotten an email, but here are the baseline instructions for Wednesday's class:
I'd like you to look over the attached article for Wednesday's class (sorry for the size). I'd like you to be able to summarize the argument of the piece, and points us to any important claims/points that the piece addresses. In particular, what does the article assume and what new information or context does it need to invoke to makes its point(s) about Dictee? Finally, what is the overall impression of the book; based on this article, do we have a sense of what this book is for, or why it operates the way it does?
You don't need to prepare much other than your notes, but your fellow students will have other articles, so we will be comparing how other critics take up Dictee.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Akira begins like any post-apocalyptic movie: in a rebuilt but morally decayed Neo-Tokyo, 30 years after after a cataclysmic explosion has leveled the city. Crime and violence run rampant and the government has similarly evolved into a brutal police state. The plot follows the leader of motorcycle gang The Capsules (Kaneda), as he deals with the kidnapping of one of his friends (Tetsuo). The shady government scientists subject Tetsuo to a battery of tests and injections and eventually awaken his latent psychic powers. Unfortunately Tetsuo has a pretty bad inferiority complex, so when presented with his new abilities... well, explosions ensue.
- Pay attention to the structure of the narrative. How is this set up like many sci fi/action films we see today? (Or is it not?) Where does the exposition come and what effect does this have on the viewer?
- As Akira's cult status has grown, many critics have stated its only saving grace is the gorgeous animation. How much do the aesthetics of the movie affect its quality? How does the setting become more than just a backdrop? (Pay attention to color changes, angle choices, etc.)
- What kind of things can be accomplished within this medium that would otherwise be impossible? What are the limits?
- Akira is best enjoyed with an open mind and a heavy suspension of disbelief. =)
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
This can also account for the almost contradicting, dual track of narrative within this section, each voice or train of thought limited to the one side of the page. The two pages, Left and Right, and distinctly different in their message, much like some of the more emblematic pages, such as those with the Japanese characters of "Father" (54) and "Mother" (55). It seems there are a myriad of voices within this chapter and they do not necessarily want to be joined.
Cha also uses the disjointedness of this section to make the text analogous to the love being discussed. Cha says of the husband and wife: "They do not touch. It is not like that. The touching made so easy the space filled full with touch. The entire screen" (106). In this section, the movie theater has been brought up and this makes literal sense of the "screen", but I believe Cha is saying something less opaque than that. She references the medium of film as being easy to fill with "touching", but is also extending this connection to her book. This chapter is filled with disjointed words that do not touch, and entire pages appear empty. With the mention of this, the blank page becomes evocative of the emptiness of the love within the mentioned marriage. There is more space than words at times, speaking depths about the nature of the marriage.
I find that Cha's tactics for employing the medium of printed word to be more expressive is almost identical to what we have seen in Double or Nothing. However, it seems more effective because it does not throw it in our face quite so brazenly. The subtlety is certainly appreciated.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
F for Fake (1974) is a pseudo-documentary/quasi-fictional film directed by and starring Orson Welles. It was his last major work before dying in 1985.
Theresa Cha's novel, Dictee, bears similarities to her own autobiography. Born in Korea in during the 1950s, she and her family were victims of the Korean War. Her family moved constantly, from Korea to Hawaii, from Hawaii to Northern California. During her stay in the United States, she studied at an all girls Catholic school. All of these bits of information contribute to her novel Dictee, which carries a theme of dislocation and fragmentation. In the opening pages of the novel, we see how Cha divides this novel into nine sections. We see the use of French and English; on some pages, there are words written in Japanese. Keeping in mind Cha's immigrant status, the incorporation of fragments and the variety of forms she chooses to include (whether it be journal entries, letters, news articles, photographs) in the novel focus on not merely a geographical dislocation, but also on a cultural and societal disconnect.
The first 59 pages for Monday's class include a collection of stories of Korean women during the time of the Korean revolution. From the inception, Cha uses the repetition of phases of "pain to speak," "pain to say" and "pain of speech." Throughout the stories Cha recalls, there is a limitation in the freedom of speech and the choice of one's language. How does the structure of the novel play a role in emphasizing the speaker's struggle of speech?
Similarly, on page 7 and page 11, she poses a similar quote but removes the words muse, goddesses, and daughter of Zeus. Throughout this first section we read, there are excerpts from the Bible yet she titles her nine segments with a Greek mythology character or Greek muses. What can we make of this?