Cinema, Narratology and Awareness
Your initial post is due by midnight (11:59PM) on Friday and your response to your peers is also due on Friday (by 11:59PM) .
Analyze/Interpret Specific Scenes: Be sure you support your response by analyzing specific scenes of the films as evidence, giving the time that the sequence you are analyzing begins (for instance the famous dinosaur sequence in Tree of Life begins at 37:20). Supporting your perspective through analysis helps keep your perspective focused. Otherwise your response will be too broad.
Title Your Post: After you finish writing your response make sure to write an original title that captures a main idea you focused on.
Be Sure to Address the Following Prompts In Your Response Using Evidence and Analysis:
1. Upstream Color and the Plotting of Ecological Awareness: Upstream Color will conclude with a new connection being established between humans and other species. The scholar David Herman in his book Narratology Beyond the Human describes how ecological narratives “foster keener recognition of our inextricable interconnectedness with larger biotic communities, on whose survival our own survival depends”. He states that these narratives allow us to gain an awareness of a bigger picture that goes beyond normal human perception. These narratives breach “the familiar boundaries of our lifeworld” and alter our “understandings of where our lifeworld begins and ends in space and time” (294). Begin your response by giving your initial impression of the film and then answer the following: How does the narrative of Upstream Color develop that “keener recognition” that Herman refers to? You may address this question by analyzing the plot of the film, its cinematic techniques, and/or the journey/arc of the characters. Use at least three examples from specific scenes of the film.
2. The Tree of Life and Cosmological Awareness: Watch this video essay on Terrence Malick’s cinema by Tom van der Linden: Transcending Heidegger – The Cinema Of Terrence Malick
The essay will go into some of the philosophical background of Malick’s films. You’re not expected to retain all the ideas (it’s a lot to take in) but be sure to write down at least three ideas you grasped from the video essay that you will use in your analysis of Tree of Life (the ideas can be either from Linden or from the scholars he cites). After giving your initial impression of the film, use these ideas from the video essay to analyze at least three scenes from the film.
Engaging with a Film Review: For at least one of the films, read a review (a good website to use is Rotten Tomatoes, which aggregates the top reviews for each film). Describe the film reviewer’s response and respond to his/her/their perspective. Do you agree, disagree and/or can you extend or add to the assessment?