Book: 1.William V. Costanzo, World Cinema through Global Genres. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Blackwell, 2014.
Mira Nair + Debate
2 attachmentsSlide 1 of 2attachment_1attachment_1attachment_2attachment_2
Unformatted Attachment Preview
COM 261: PRESENTATION PROJECTS
Unit 1: Warrior Hero
Unit 2: Wedding Films
Unit 3: Horror
To complete this assignment, pick one of the topics listed above (only one per member of the
group to avoid redundancy) that corresponds to your chosen unit, then prepare to present 1) a
relevant scene analysis (show a clip and walk us through it with full consideration of the five
aspects listed below) and 2) develop and present a thorough and thoughtful response to one of
the project options listed below (again, only one per group member). You should plan for your
presentation to last no longer than then 10minutes. You will deliver it live over Zoom on the last
day of class. I will meet with each of you individually to review a draft the week before.
1) Select one scene from a film (either assigned or a relevant alternative) that
exemplifies the genre of your unit. Show it as part of your project presentation and
answer these questions about the scene:
a) Plot and Theme. What does the scene contribute to the ongoing story? What important
information do we learn from it, how does it drive the plot forward, and which of the film’s
central ideas or messages does it support? What patterns do you notice?
b) Point of View. Does the scene present an objective view of events or does it represent
someone’s subjective account? How is the camera used to emphasize this point of view?
c) Character. What does the scene tell you about the major character or characters? Refer to the
actors’ movements, words, and dress as revealed by the camera.
d) Tone. Describe the overall mood of this scene. Is it mysterious, funny, sad? How do the
lighting, camera work, sound, and editing help to create this mood?
e) Technique. What kind of editing is involved? Transitions (cut, dissolve, fade)? Camera
movements (pan, tilt, dolly, boom) and angles (high, low, aerial)? Framing (close-up, long shot)?
Lighting (notable use of high-key, low-key, backlighting)? Sound (important dialogue, music,
sound effects, voice-over)?
For a good model of scene analysis applied to kung fu films, see David Bordwell’s Planet Hong
Kong: Popular cinema and the art of entertainment (Harvard University Press, 2000) or
“Aesthetics in Action: Kungfu, Gunplay, and Cinematic Expressivity” (in At Full Speed: Hong
Kong Cinema in a Borderless World, ed. Esther Yau, University of Minnesota Press, 2001, 73–
2) Pick one of the options listed below. Each person in the group should choose a
The field of transnational cinema is animated by lively disagreements. For example, some critics
belittle Hong Kong kung fu films or Indian wedding movies as crass commercialism while others
champion them as vibrant instances of popular culture. Some film historians point to concepts
like mono no aware and Daoism in Asian movies as instances of cultural diversity worthy of our
close attention. Others dismiss such concepts as exoticism, arguing that Western viewers should
not impose their own views on foreign films. Then there are those who worry that globalism
threatens the uniqueness of national cinemas, turning the world’s movies into one homogeneous
product. Choose a controversy related to world cinema that interests you and stage a debate that
makes an informed case both for and against the central argument.
Imagine your group is a production company working in another country with the job of
producing a genre film. What kind of movie would you propose? Given what you know about
the genre’s popularity in the United States and abroad along with the challenges of filmmaking
abroad, include key decisions about location, casting, audience, and marketing, write a synopsis
(brief description of the plot) for your proposed film, and develop a realistic plan to take it
through the stages of preproduction (securing funding, cast, crew, and equipment), postproduction (editing, sound track), and distribution (in theatres, on the Internet, or on DVD). How
do considerations of genre figure into your proposal? Give the film a working title and imagine
what might be included in the trailer. Pitch your proposal to the class.
International Film Festival
Plan a retrospective on one global film genre (or subgenre) for UT. What films would you
choose to show and why? What filmmakers would you invite to speak and why? How would you
deal with co-productions and diasporic casts and viewers? Be prepared to justify your choices to
an audience of peers. Then design your own website to advertise your festival.
Genre and Myth
Have movies taken on the role of telling our most important stories? Are they replacing written
literature and oral narratives as the chief bearers of our cultural values? Explore the notion that
today’s film genres constitute a national or global mythology. Read what Joseph Campbell (The
Hero with a Thousand Faces, 1949; The Power of Myth, 1988), Christopher Vogler (The
Writer’s Journey, 1998), and Stuart Voytilla (Myth and the Movies, 1999) have to say about the
hero with a thousand cinematic faces. Consider the warrior heroes in Westerns, samurai, wuxia,
and kung fu movies as archetypal figures. Or apply these concepts to the characters in wedding
films, road movies, or horror films. What deep-seated fears, desires, and ideals do they
represent? To what extent do these figures reflect local or universal concerns?
Genres and Their Origins
Where do the stories in these movies come from? Investigate some of the literary sources, high
and low, for your favorite genre or subgenre: The Leatherstocking Tales and nineteenth-century
dime novels for the Western; The Tale of Genji, samurai ballads, and Kabuki theatre for the
samurai tradition; Journey to the West, Chinese opera, and graphic novels of magic and
swordplay for the wuxia genre; gothic novels for horror films; romance novels for wedding
films; epics and picaresque tales for road movies. What features of these narrative traditions do
the movies draw from? What seems to be left out?
Grouping Genre Films
If you’ve seen a lot of genre films, you may have noticed that some films don’t seem to fit neatly
into one genre or another. Tarantino’s Kill Bill series, for example, contains elements of samurai,
wuxia, kung fu, and Western traditions, among others. How should it be classified? Furthermore,
a genre can split into subgenres, as David Desser pointed out in his 1983 essay “Toward a
Structural Analysis of the Postwar Samurai Film,” Quarterly Review of Film Studies 8, no. 1
(Winter 1983): 25–41. Try your hand at classifying action, wedding, or horror films. Make a list
of those you know and divide them into subgenres. Explain your basis for these secondary
categories. Why do you think they developed as they did?
Some actors become renowned – some typecast – through their association with a particular kind
of film. Think of John Wayne and Gary Cooper, Toshiro Mifune and Hiroyuki Sanada, Jet Li
and Maggie Cheung, Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan in their defining performances. Who are the
actors you think of in relation to wedding films, horror, or road movies? How can you account
for their celebrity? What aspects of the genre do they embody best on screen? And how does
their stardom help establish and manage audience expectations?
COM 261 • WORLD CINEMA
This course provides an introduction to the discipline of feature film analysis through global film genres.
Through readings, screenings, and discussions, students use critical distance in order to better
understand the economic, political, and cultural contexts of film production, audience reception, and
audiovisual aesthetics. The course pays particular attention to the intersecting roles of technology,
identity, geography, language, transnationalism, and globalization while reading and comparing a
diverse array of films.
1. COURSE OBJECTIVES
By the end of this course, you should be able to:
a. understand and apply the basic technical and theoretical vocabulary of film analysis.
b. question your own roles as spectators and increase your ability to watch films critically.
c. appreciate how popular genres address the needs and desires of worldwide audiences.
d. recognize how national cinemas are shaped by local events and transnational trends.
e. write critically and creatively about film aesthetics within cultural/economic/technical contexts.
1. William V. Costanzo, World Cinema through Global Genres. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Blackwell, 2014.
FRIDAY JUNE 5: THE WARRIOR HERO
Preface ix-xii / How to Use This Book xv-xviii / Introduction 1-41
Chapter 1: The Warrior Hero 45-72
Close-up: The Magnificent Seven 100-105
Close-up: Seven Samurai 106-112
1. Seven Samurai (Japan, 1954)
2. The Magnificent Seven (USA, 1960)
3. Iron Fists and Kung-Fu Kicks (USA, 2019)
4. Enter the Dragon (USA, 1973)
COMPARATIVE ESSAY OPTIONS
a. “Girl power”
READ: Deep Focus on Chinese Cinemas 79-98
COMPARE: Come Drink with Me (Hong Kong, 1966) https://www.amazon.com/Come-Drink-Me-ChengPei-pei/dp/B01F7OXV1S and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (USA, 2000)
b. “Save us!”
READ: Close-up: Sholay 113-117 / Close-up: Way of the Dragon 118-123
COMPARE: Sholay (India, 1975) YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Vk6PtNMhYk Amazon
Prime https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/amzn1.dv.gti.6eb65e03-09d2-411e-5754e5ebc349d3eb? and Way of the Dragon (Hong Kong, 1972)
FRIDAY JUNE 12: THE WEDDING FILM
Comparative Weddings 150-153
Towards a Definition of the Genre 153-155
Deep Focus on Indian Cinemas 159-180
Close-up: Monsoon Wedding 187-191
1. Monsoon Wedding (USA, 2001)
2. Sembene! (Senegal, 2015) https://tampa.kanopy.com/node/5276463
3. This is Nollywood (USA, 2007) https://tampa.kanopy.com/node/139774
4. The Narrow Path (Nigeria, 2006) https://tampa.kanopy.com/node/120739
COMPARATIVE ESSAY OPTIONS
a. “Big Bollywood”
READ: Close-up: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 181
WATCH: Shalom Bollywood (Australia, 2013) https://tampa.kanopy.com/node/5638388)
COMPARE: Hum Aapke Hain Koum! (India, 1994) https://www.netflix.com/watch/60035870 and
My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding (USA, 2002) https://www.amazon.com/My-Big-Fat-GreekWedding/dp/B003KGIOY0
b. “Middle East Marriages”
READ: Arab Brides on the Border 142-144 / Close-up: Wedding in Galilee 197-201
COMPARE: Syrian Bride (Israel, 2004) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QN8gYDrkNB4 and
Wedding in Galilee (Palestine, 1987) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggyOqY1mBbk
FRIDAY JUNE 19: THE HORROR FILM
Chapter 3: The Horror Film 205 – 247
1. Nosferatu (Germany, 1922)
2. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (Iran, 2014)
COMPARATIVE ESSAY OPTIONS
a. “Ring Cycle”
READ: Deep Focus on Japanese Cinemas 254-268 / Close-up: Ring 287-291
COMPARE: Ring/Ringu (Japan, 1998) https://tampa.kanopy.com/video/ring-1 and The Ring (USA, 2002)
b. “Witches Brew-ha-ha”
READ: Close-up: Suspiria 276-281
COMPARE: Suspiria (Italy, 1977) https://tampa.kanopy.com/video/suspiria-0 and Suspiria (Italy, 2018)
FRIDAY JUNE 26: COMPARATIVE ESSAY – INDIVIDUAL MEETINGS
Due: Comparative Essay Draft
Due: Presentation Draft
FRIDAY JULY 3: WRAP UP
Due: Final Presentation
Due: Comparative Essay
Purchase answer to see full
Plot and Theme
focus of the camera
User generated content is uploaded by users for the purposes of learning and should be used following Studypool’s honor code & terms of service.
Reviews, comments, and love from our customers and community: