Saturday, 29 May 2010

Practice questions for "Spectatorship: Popular Film and Emotional Response

Robert , Shaun and Doug and anyone else who might find this post helpful.
These are questions are from Dave's Paper. It is worth 35 marks. ( The Single Film: Close Critical Study ( Fight Club ) is worth 30 marks. )

In the old exam this paper was known as "Shocking Cinema". But YOU need to be aware that THE RANGE of spectator's emotional responses will be WIDER than that.

1.  Explore possible reasons to explain why a second or third viewing of a film can actually increase the emotional response rather than lessen it.

2.  How far is the emotional response to mainstream films triggered by specific techniques used by filmmakers?

To answer either of these questions you will need to have:
  • an understanding of how cinema produces a range of emotional responses in the spectator, using both macro and micro features.
  • an appreciation (knowledge) of how spectators seek a range of different experiences when watching films, including experiences that may challenge and disturb.
  • an appreciation ( knowledge) of cinematic contexts - including the significance of audience viewing situations, fandom and 'cultism' - in contributing to spectator response.
Remember to analyse each questions' key words and phrases first and make a brief plan.
(As we did in class, perhaps even using a dividing line with several arguments on each side.)

Use words and phrases from the question in your essay's introduction to show how you intend to shape your argument.

Write clear, introductory sentences for each point or argument in your essay.  (Topic Sentences). 
The rest of your paragraph(s) should then fill out your point with examples and argumentative comment on your examples.

Refer to those words regularly in your essay to show the relevance of your points and argument(s).

Come into College if you need to discuss your practice essays or need to marked.

Good luck for each of the three Papers: Patty's Dave's and mine.

Friday, 2 April 2010

"Fight Club' and the Ikea information consumerism scene

The scene is self-referential as well as critical of consumerism. David Fincher draws attention to the fake reality of the film as well as the Ikea catalogue that seems to fill Jack's room, and rooms in ours lives, too.
Fight Club's Ikea Catalogue scene

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

David Fincher as an auteur

Director as auteur
Watch David Fincher’s earlier, more mainstream film, "The Game" (1997); you can begin by reading about it on Wikipedia or fan-sites devoted to David Fincher.

David Fincher's "The Game" (1997) on Wikipedia
What similarities in themes and style can you identify with Fight Club?

Here's a trailer from the film
The trailer for "The Game"
What similarities in themes and style can you identify with "Fight Club"?

Producer as auteur
Art linson was the producer of Fight Club; look up his filmography on IMDB.

To get a clearer sense of the work of a Hollywood producer read Linson’s book “What Just Happened?” which includes material on Fight Club.

Here are a few interesting reviews from Amazon USA

Amazon US Reviews of Linson's book

"Flashes of Tyler Durden - a YouTube video on "Fight Club"

This useful You Tube video was found by, Sean, one of my students studying "Fight Club" as a single focus study film. It's a useful video for studying David Fincher's experimental visual  and narrative style in "Fight Club" and for the split identity of the film's main character and narrator Jack.
Flashes of Tyler Durden in "Fightclub"

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Specialist Study: Empowering Women questions - FM4

These questions have been drawn from the WJEC Exam Board.

1. How far do the films you have studied depend on dramatic moments of confrontation within the narrative and how far on tracing a more subtle change over time?

2. Compare and contrast the ways in which the audience is encouraged to identify with particular characters in the films you have studied.

Single Film: Close Critical Study Film Questions on "Fight Club"

In the exam you will need to answer ONE question and it will be worth 30 marks. The following questions have been drawn from the WJEC Exam Board and they can be used for Fight Club.

General questions which could apply to any Single Film: Close Critical Study:

1. What does your chosen film reveal about the usefulness of one or more critical approaches you have applied?

2. Consider debates that have arisen in the critical reception of your chosen film, either at the time of its initial release or now or both.

A specific question on Fight Club:

3. 'Despite the gesture of destroying symbols of corporate power at the end, Fight Club is a film about power and control, not liberation.' How far do you agree?

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Fight Club Essays and reviews

A great review with thought-provoking points on how the film did at the box office and film executives' attitudes towards the film. See the link after this video. "Everything's a copy of a copy, of a copy".

Condensed Fight Club from Jim Emerson on Vimeo.

Fight Club at ten - a love story  Once you've read the review read several of the excellent comments this review drew from viewers.

Essays on Fight Club from DVD Talk

Fight Club essay part 1

Fight Club essay part two

A review with links to reviews by major critics

Click here for the review and links

A PDF file with an exam question, mark scheme and points which an an examiner would look for in your answer to the exam question.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

"Fight Club": the single study case study film for FM4

Choose three-four scenes for micro and macro analysis. Scenes should be no less than five minutes and no more than 10 minutes long.

Good choices would be:
  •  the last six minutes of the film
  • a scene from the fight scenes in the middle of the film
  • the film's opening
As a class we can look at the critical reception of the film and discuss your engagement with it in the light possible critical approaches to the film. For instance, consider your preferred way of reading  and interpreting the film:

  1. Through David Fincher as an auteur - his visual style
  2. Through its star performers and the meaning that they bring to the scenes and film
  3. Through its genre(s) and how it conforms or subverts expected conventions.
Of course, the social context and reception of the film is important, too. The film was made in the 90s, a period which threw up a myriad of texts in which men's masculinity and their roles in a consumer and materialistic society was considered to be going through a crises. Another issue which is a key issue for postmodern films was identity, particularly fractured identity.

We will post some of our notes and discussions on this blog next week for further discussion and written analysis next week.