Category Archives: Homework

Homework # 8

The use of cinematic time travel in La Jetee is very brilliant. The impact this film had on a lot of viewers is massive. I have seen 12 Monkeys before and I can see where the influence of La Jetee comes in. La Jetee is significant because it showed the impact of a rotten Paris town after World War II. It  highlights the absurdity and tragedies of what war is like and how it can destroy a town. Similarly to La Jetee, 12 Monkeys shows what the world is like in a future Earth. It displays the horrible coming of a disease that wipes out more than 90% of the human population. In the movie, James Cole (Bruce Willis’ character) travels back to a World War II time period and injures his leg. I’ve seen a few other time traveling movies like the Terminator, and a classic Back To The Future.

Homework #9: Endings

It seems fitting to discuss endings as our class draws to a close. For this last homework assignment, please consider the importance of endings to films and discuss one of your favorite endings. Note how the ending to Truffaut’s 400 Blows ended with the freeze frame of Antoine facing the camera, an ending that is intentionally ambiguous, forcing the viewer to continue the story. The ending to Truffaut’s film is so iconic that it is frequently quoted or parodied. See this short clip that shows how Truffaut’s ending was used for the final shot of Nelson’s film in a Simpsons episode. To complete this homework assignment, please submit your favorite endings in a comment.

Homework #9 is DUE by Friday May 22nd 5:00 PM. 
Everyone should submit a COMMENT to my post.

Homework #8: Experimental Film – Chris Marker’s “La Jetée” (1962)

Time traveler in Chris Marker's "La Jetée" 1962
Time traveler in Chris Marker’s “La Jetée” 1962

In 1962, Chris Marker released an experimental film that he described as a “photo roman” (a photo novel), which was comprised of editing together individual photographic stills rather than film shots. The result was La Jetée, a groundbreaking short film of science fiction about time travel in a post-apocalyptic world. Marker’s film inspired Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys (1995) and a recent TV series of the same name. Watch Marker’s film (it is 28 min) and the trailer of Gilliam’s movie, and discuss the use of cinematic time travel. Is it successful in La Jetée? What movies have you seen that deal with time travel?

To watch an English version of La Jetée, you need to watch it in two parts:
Watch the important opening sequence of La Jetée by here (click on World War Three)

Watch the rest of La Jetée here (this version is missing the  very important first 3 min)

Watch the trailer of Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys here.

If you want to see the whole 12 Monkeys movie, the entire film is temporarily available here.

Homework #8 is DUE by Tuesday May 12th.
 Diamonds and Spades Post, Clubs and Hearts Comment.

Homework #7: Jump Cuts in Godard’s “Breathless”

Film still of Patricia (Jean Seberg) in car, Jean-Luc Godard, "Breathless," 1960
Film still of Patricia (Jean Seberg) in car, Jean-Luc Godard, “Breathless,” 1960

Jean-Luc Godard’s extensive use of jump cuts in Breathless (À bout de souffle) 1960 was highly influential on the “look” of many later films. In a jump cut, two shots of the same subject differ in angle or composition, the disjuncture creates a visual “jump” on the screen. The jump cut is an example of discontinuous editing, however, the uneven transition of one shot to another is often described as an amateurish technique. Yet, Godard masterfully uses the jump cut to highlight the urban rhythm of Paris and the whirlwind pace of modern romance. Watch this clip, in which Michel (Jean Paul Belmondo) gives Patricia (Jean Seberg) a ride across town to her appointment. Note the number of jump cuts in the car sequence, in particular, the change in backdrop that frames Patricia’s head.

For this week’s homework, please search for the use of jump cuts in a later film. You can watch clips of a movie you like to see if jump cuts are used, or simply “google” jump cuts. Post a link to the film you’ve found and describe the impact of the jump cuts in that film clip.

Watch the car sequence in Breathless here.

To complete this homework assignment, note whether you Post or Comment. For Homework #7, Clubs and Hearts will submit a Post and Diamonds and Spades will Comment (choose any of your classmates’ posts to comment on).

Homework #7 is DUE by Tuesday April 30th.
 Clubs and Hearts Post, Diamonds and Spades Comment, note your blog group! Please email me if you forget which group you belong in.

Homework #6: Filming Locations-Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’

School house in Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" 1963
School house in Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” 1963

In Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (1963), a beautiful socialite Melanie Daniels (played by Tippi Hedren in his first film role) takes a trip from San Francisco to Bodega Bay in pursuit of Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor). Although Hitchcock preferred to film on a studio set, there are numerous location shots that highlight his love for the city of San Francisco and the surrounding area. As a hobby, the California architect Hervé Attia produced a film short that revisits many of Hitchcock’s locations for The Birds. Watch Attia’s short film and a clip of the attack on the children scene. What do you think of “fan” movies like Attia’s that deconstruct films and revisit the locations?

Watch Attia’s film location video here.

Watch the attack on the children sequence here.

To complete this homework assignment, note whether you Post or Comment. For Homework #6, Diamonds and Spades will submit a Post and Clubs and Hearts will Comment (choose any of your classmates’ posts to comment on).

Homework #6 is DUE by Tuesday April 19th.
 Diamonds and Spades Post, Clubs and Hearts Comment, note your blog group! Please email me if you forget which group you belong in.

Homework #5: The Animated Sequence

Photograph of The Chronicle reporters in Citizen Kane
Photograph of The Chronicle reporters in Citizen Kane

In Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane (1941) there is a scene in which a photograph comes to life. The scene comes during Kane’s announcement that his has hired the group of star journalists from a rival newspaper to write for his own paper, The Inquirer. This sequence recalls the increasing popularity of animation in this period. As we learned, Snow White and the Seven Dwarf (1937) was the first feature-length animated film.

Virginia Davis in Walt Disney's Alice's Comedies
Virginia Davis in Walt Disney’s Alice’s Comedies

In class, there was a question about Walt Disney’s first animated film shorts that featured Virginia Davis (not a mouse!). The little girl is seen interacting with cartoon characters. Live shots and animated sequences were filmed separately and combined in the editing room. Watch Disney’s film short Alice’s Wonderland that was produced in the Laugh-O-Gram studio in Kansas City, which led to a series called Alice’s Comedies that he produced in Los Angeles, and post your thoughts on early animation.

Watch the photograph come to life in Citizen Kane here.

Watch Alice’s Wonderland here.

To complete this homework assignment, note whether you Post or Comment. For Homework #5, Clubs and Hearts will submit a Post and Diamonds and Spades will Comment (choose any of your classmates’ posts to comment on).

Homework #5 is DUE by Thursday March 26th.
 Clubs and Hearts Post, Diamonds and Spades Comment, note your blog group! Email me if you forget.

Homework #4-Interstellar

Interstellar is a shinning example of a large budget movie that evokes the imagination through the movies elaborate folds. Directed by the exuberant Christopher Nolan who also co-wrote the script, tells the story of a dying humane race whose only option for survival is elsewhere in the vast cosmic space of the universe. The films budget is aproximately $165,000,000 which is an enormous budget, but the budget was so well used, and is evident throughout films story. The films use of breathtaking cinematic views, the presence of actors such as Matthew McConaughey who give the film such convincing performances, and the films overall intricacies puts its large budget to good use. Interstellar protrudes what is is to be a Hollywood spectacle. Although the budget isn’t on par with the top contenders of the Hollywood big budgets, it does stand far above most film budgets. I chose this film because of the absolute breath taking images presented, the well founded science that backs up most of the movie’s premise, and its overall ability to immerse myself into another world. This film was also able to achieve large box office figures without being a rehashed film based on previous films or based on other media. Interstellar is an original film and was able to stand along side other big budget movie with less originality, although aspects of the film due hold a close resemblance to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 a space odyssey.

Homework #4: Spectacular Cinema

Scarlett O'Hara in front of Tara, Gone with the Wind (1939)
Scarlett O’Hara in front of Tara, Gone with the Wind (1939)

Hollywood in the 1930s was filled with spectacles, from the musical fantasies of Busby Berkleey to surreal costumes and sets in The Wizard of Oz and the attention to historical accuracy in Gone with the Wind. These large budget films (the Oz budget was 2.77M and Gone with the Wind cost approx. 3.9M) demonstrate the desire to create an immersive cinema that transported audiences from the somber realities of the Great Depression. Listen to the short NPR news story on the making of Gone with the Wind and note the grand scale of the production, from the long casting process to the interest in historical accuracy as well as the subsequent controversies.

Share with your classmates examples of films that function like spectacles. What big-budget movies have produced similar spectacular settings to captivate audiences?

Listen to the NPR Gone with the Wind Story here.

To complete this homework assignment, note whether you Post or Comment. For Homework #4, Diamonds and Spades will submit a Post and Clubs and Hearts will Comment (choose any of your classmates’ posts to comment on).

Homework #4 is DUE by Thursday March 10th.
 Diamonds and Spades Post, Clubs and Hearts Comment, note your blog group! Email me if you forget.

SELMA Homework #3

The absolutely phenomenal, but controversial, film “Selma” was directed by Ava DuVernay. The film debuted during a tumultuous time in the country when race and equality were coming to light . For instance, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, etc. It basically depicted something that happened 50 years ago and made people realize that it is still happening now. Then the film was snubbed by the Oscars and not one person of color was nominated from the movie. That alone sparked protest. It was mostly an all black cast which is rare in a movie of its scale. And on that note, the all black cast was not nominated for best picture when countless other award shows nominated them. Instead, the media chose to focus more on American Sniper than a black film that was more prominent. But hey, let’s all care more about a guy that killed countless people in the Middle East and said he’d kill more. Plus, the American sniper was a movie that didn’t even depict the real life of a soldier and he also refers to Iraqis and as ” savages” and this is what people chose to nominate instead of a film about Martin Luther King Jr. and the whole movement that’s still going  on today.

Homework #3: Controversial Films

Protest of The Birth of a Nation screening in 1947

We watched excerpts of D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation in class, a movie that was first screened 100 years ago. As noted in class, the racist content of the film invoked protests across the nation, led primarily by the newly formed National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The combination of Griffith’s remarkable artistry, distorted historical account, and overt racism produced sickening propaganda for the Ku Klux Klan. Listen to a short NPR report on the legacy of The Birth of a Nation.  For an example of the impact of Griffith’s film on a recent movie, see Henry Louis Gates’ interview of Quentin Tarantino on Django Unchained (2012).

NPR link here

Share with your classmates other examples of controversial films that have evoked protests. Do you know of movies that have caused similar demonstrations or complaints about content?

To complete this homework assignment, note whether you Post or Comment. For Homework #3, Clubs and Hearts will submit a Post and Diamonds and Spades will Comment (choose any of your classmates’ posts to comment on).

Homework #3 is DUE by Thursday February 26th.
 Clubs and Hearts Post, Diamonds and Spades Comment, note your blog group! Email me if you forget.