We're on cinéma vérité in my documentary film class. I started them off with Salesman and War Room. I had no idea when I picked them they'd pair so well. To prompt my students' writing, I wrote: Cinema verité means “truthful cinema.” What aspects of the filmmaking style in Salesman and War Room might justify… Continue reading Cinéma vérité
In my interdisciplinary arts class we're reading The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. It's my third time reading it and I still don't like it much. It's too unfocused for my taste. I fretted as I was preparing for the first day of class discussions: what would we talk about? The story seems meandering, pointless. Yesterday… Continue reading The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
It was the best first week I've ever had. It's common for professors to treat the first day of class as kind of a freebie. We hand out our syllabi, go over them, tell the students a little about ourselves, have them go around the room and introduce themselves to us, maybe we memorize a few of… Continue reading Spring 2017, week one
My first instinct is to call 2016 a terrible year. Trump won. But on a personal level it was pretty good. First, the bad: Our beloved dog Jaxx died. Our beloved cat Mafalda died. I can't think of anything else as bad or worse. So, the good: I sold my book to Chicago Review Press. My tenure… Continue reading Looking back on 2016
For the final four weeks of class, we'll watch some of the most politically powerful works in the history of documentary film. It's a wide-ranging selection, but what they all have in common is that they each expose in their own way some sort of injustice. They're films that stand up for the powerless. During this section,… Continue reading Documentary class – power, truth
Weeks nine through twelve we'll dip into cinéma vérité (and spring break). We'll watch: https://youtu.be/oXxZnL5HokA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pxk-fg771r8 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwDKkixncSw And after spring break will stretch it a bit into musical cinéma vérité: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1inL6s1htio https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BjPFMOcjL8 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71rVqu1iHE4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1Plmw36D-E And during this section, the students will, of course, produce cinéma vérité mini docs.
Weeks six, seven and eight we'll check out just a few of the endless artistic possibilities of documentary film. Students will work together to make mini avant garde documentaries of the worlds around them. We'll watch: https://youtu.be/0NQgIvG-kBM https://youtu.be/z97Pa0ICpn8 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNhjD1Z0jSo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Za9wvVjs0e8 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOOgDDrcCjg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLFXxZnXb28