MISCELLANEOUS COURSE SYLLABI, EXERCISES, AND PAPER TOPICS FROM PROF. CARNEY’S CLASSES. THIS MATERIAL REPRESENTS ONLY A TINY SAMPLE OF THE AVAILABLE COURSE HANDOUTS, BUT IS PROVIDED TO GIVE AN IDEA OF HIS INTERESTS AND APPROACHES TO FILM AND THE OTHER ARTS.

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Spring 2003

CAS AM 501 A1 Special Topics in American Studies:

Mr. Carney

Discuss the meaning of the final interaction between the narrator and Mrs. Brissenden (chapters 12-14). At some point in your argument touch on the meaning of the book’s final paragraph and particularly its final sentence.

Length: two to three double-spaced typed pages

Due at the start of class, Tuesday January 28. No extensions may be granted.


INTERNATIONAL MASTERWORKS

COM FT 458 (undergraduates)

COM FT 721 (graduate students)

Tues. 2-4 Thurs. 2-5 (Room B5)

Prof. Carney

Teaching Assistant: Spencer Stewart

TA office hours: To be announced

Mr. Carney’s office hours: Tues. 1-2; Tues. 4:45-5:45; Thurs. 1-2; Thurs. 5-6

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A survey of masterworks by a small number of non-American directors. This semester will include works by Robert Bresson (France), Yasujiro Ozu (Japan), Abbas Kiarostami (Iran), Andrei Tarkovsky (Russia), Jean Renoir (France), Vittorio De Sica (Italy), Roberto Rossellini (Italy), and Jacques Tati (France).

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CLASS SCHEDULE

Tues. Jan. 14 An introduction to the idea of an art cinema: Bresson, Une Femme Douce

Thurs. Jan. 16 Une Femme Douce

Tues. Jan. 21 Bresson, L’Argent

Thurs. Jan. 23 L’Argent

Tues. Jan. 28 Bresson, Lancelot du Lac

Thurs. Jan. 30 Lancelot du Lac First paper due

Tues. Feb. 4 Ozu, Tokyo Story

Thurs. Feb. 6 Tokyo Story

Tues. Feb. 11 Ozu, An Autumn Afternoon or Late Spring

Thurs. Feb. 13 An Autumn Afternoon or Late Spring

Tues. Feb. 18 *** No class–substitute Monday schedule ***

Thurs. Feb. 20 Ozu, Equinox Flower Second paper due.

Tues. Feb. 25 Kiarostami, Life Goes On

Thurs. Feb. 27 Life Goes On

Required attendance at the Tarkovsky festival at the Museum of Fine Arts: schedule to be announced.

Tues. Mar. 4 Kiarostami, Taste of Cherries

Required attendance at the Tarkovsky festival at the Museum of Fine Arts: schedule to be announced.

Thurs. Mar. 6 Taste of Cherries Third paper due.

Required attendance at the Tarkovsky festival at the Museum of Fine Arts: schedule to be announced.

Mar. 10-14 *** Spring Break ***

Tues. Mar. 18 Tarkovsky, Stalker

Thurs. Mar. 20 Stalker

Tues. Mar. 25 Tarkovsky, The Sacrifice

Thurs. Mar. 27 The Sacrifice Fourth paper due.

Tues. Apr. 1 Renoir, Grand Illusion

Thurs. Apr. 3 Grand Illusion

Tues. Apr. 8 Renoir, The Rules of the Game

Thurs. Apr. 10 The Rules of the Game

Tues. Apr. 15 De Sica, Bicycle Thieves

Thurs. Apr. 17 Bicycle Thieves

Tues. Apr. 22 Rossellini, Voyage in Italy

Thurs. Apr. 24 Voyage in Italy Fifth paper due.

Tues. Apr. 29 Jacques, Playtime

Thurs. May 1 Playtime Thoughts about an art cinema.

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1. Attendance is required.

2. Promptness is absolutely mandatory. Leaving class early is prohibited.

3. There will be no mid–term or final exam.

4. You will be responsible for completing a number of exercises about films, assigned in one class and brought to the following class. Some will be turned in at that point; all should be retained until the end of the semester and submitted as a requirement for completing the course.

5. Five papers will be assigned. No extensions may be granted.

The final evaluation will be based on your papers, your completion of out of class exercises (which are to be accumulated in a folder and turned in at the end whether they have been submitted earlier or not), and your attendance, promptness, and quality of class participation.


Paper #1

The paper is to be done in two parts:

In the first part simply list the principal stylistic qualities of L'Argent.

In the second part, describe the effect of those stylistic choices. Point out how the style of the film creates a unique imaginative experience, and describe its significance.

Length: 4-6 pages (double-spaced and typed)

Due at the start of class, Thursday, February 3.


Second paper (choose one of the following; or combine them into one well-written, well-organized essay:

A. Comment on the camera work (shot choice, framing, distance) in Carl Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc.

B. Comment on the narrative structure (what follows what in terms of events; what we see and when we see it) in Carl Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc.

Length: 3-4 pages (undergraduates and production graduate students); 4-6 pages (studies graduate students).

Due: Thursday, March 1 at the start of class. (No extensions may be granted)


Third paper:

Look at a video of Ozu’s Early Summer (ten copies available on reserve at Mugar) and write a well-organized discussion of some aspects of the formal organization of the work. Comment on the "echo-chamber/house of mirrors" comparison and contrast aspects of the film.

You are free to focus on whatever aspects of the film you choose, with one positive and one negative constraint: First, positively, be sure one of the things you deal with is the comparisons and contrasts of the characters; second, negatively, be sure that the formal qualities you discuss are important to the overall emotional effect of the film and to its meaning. (It would be easy to point out trivial formal arrangements; make sure the ones you choose to discuss are important.)

Length: 3-4 pages (undergraduates and production graduate students); 4-6 pages (film studies graduate students).

Due: Thursday, April 13 at the start of class. (No extensions may be granted)

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Paper note: If you are happy with your work on this paper, and so choose, you may make it the final paper of the semester and waive the writing of the fourth paper.

Screening change notice: for April 11 and 13, we will be viewing Ozu’s Late Autumn


Special Topic

Com FT 554D1: The Life and Work of John Cassavetes

Mr. Carney

Room B5

Tues. and Thurs. 5:30 to 8:00 PM

Teaching Assistant: John Evans

Required reading:

Ray Carney, Cassavetes on Cassavetes(500 page-unpublished book manuscript/for private use only/not to be Xeroxed or distributed).

Ray Carney, The Films of John Cassavetes: The Adventure of Insecurity (paperback souvenir program)

Ray Carney, The Films of John Cassavetes: Pragmatism, Modernism, and the Movies (Cambridge University Press paperback).

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A survey the life and times of "the father of American independent filmmaking." Many unknown or "lost" works by the filmmaker will be screened on video. We will also view "home movie/behind the scenes" footage of Cassavetes directing and working with actors to refine his scripts.

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CLASS SCHEDULE

Tues. Jan. 11 Introduction: Mainstream filmmaking: Martin Ritt, Edge of the City, 1956

Thurs. Jan. 13 John Cassavetes, Shadows and Edge of the City

Tues. Jan. 18 Shadows

Thurs. Jan. 20 Shadows: The two versions

Tues. Jan. 25 John Cassavetes, Too Late Blues

Thurs. Jan. 27 John Cassavetes, A Child Is Waiting

Tues. Feb. 1 Don Siegel, The Killers; Cassavetes at work with actors (videotape); Cassavetes’ greatest but most unknown television work: Flip Side

Thurs. Feb. 3 John Cassavetes, Faces

Tues. Feb. 8 Faces

Thurs. Feb. 10 Robert Aldrich, The Dirty Dozen

Tues. Feb. 15 John Cassavetes, Husbands

Thurs. Feb. 17 Husbands; Cassavetes directing actors (videotape)

Tues. Feb. 22 No class. Substitute Monday schedule replaces Tuesday.

Thurs. Feb. 24 Elaine May, Mikey and Nicky

Tues. Feb. 29 John Cassavetes, Minnie and Moskowitz

Thurs. Mar. 1 Mikey and Nicky and Minnie and Moskowitz

March 3-12 SPRING BREAK

Tues. Mar. 14 John Cassavetes, A Woman Under the Influence

Thurs. Mar. 16 A Woman Under the Influence

Tues. Mar. 21 A Woman Under the Influence

Thurs. Mar. 23 John Cassavetes, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (long video)

Tues. Mar. 28 The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (short film)

Thurs. Mar. 30 John Cassavetes, Opening Night

Tues. Apr. 4 Opening Night

Thurs. Apr. 6 John Cassavetes, Gloria

Tues. Apr. 11 Gloria

Thurs. Apr. 13 John Cassavetes, Love Streams

Tues. Apr. 18 Love Streams, selections from Paul Mazursky, Tempest

Thurs. Apr. 20 Eric Weston, Marvin and Tige

Tues. Apr. 25 Tamar Simon Hoffs, The Haircut

Thurs. Apr. 27 The unpublished plays: selected readings

Tues. May 4 The unpublished screenplays: selected readings

Thurs. May 6 Shaping a life in art

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1. Attendance is required.

2. Promptness is absolutely mandatory.

3. There will be no mid-term or final exam.

4. You will be responsible for completing a number of exercises about films, some to be turned in, all to be retained until the end of the semester and submitted as a requirement for completing the course.

5. Four papers will be assigned.

The final evaluation will be based on your papers, your completion of out of class exercises (which are to be accumulated in a folder to be collected at random points throughout the semester and turned in at the end), and your attendance, promptness, and quality of class participation.


The Life and Work of John Cassavetes

Special Topic: Com FT 554D1

Mr. Carney

Paper #1:

Pick an extended sequence from Faces and describe the emotional events in detail. Comment on the way specific camera angles, distances, and editing effects contribute to the creation of emotional meaning. In passing, comment on the difference between the way Faces is organized and presented, and the way a mainstream Hollywood film is.

Tape is available in Mugar.

Length: 4-6 double-spaced pages

Due at the start of class, Tuesday, February 15.


The Life and Work of John Cassavetes

Special Topic: Com FT 554 D1

Mr. Carney

Paper #2:

Focusing on Faces, Husbands, and A Woman Under the Influence (but not necessarily limiting yourself to those works), discuss the "development" of Cassavetes' main characters. What goals do they have? What problems do they solve? What do they accomplish in the course of their films? What do they achieve? Where do they get? How is their ending different from their beginning? What changes?

Consult the list I already distributed for tapes that are available in Mugar.

Length: 3 double-spaced pages

Due at the start of class, Thursday, April 6.


The Life and Work of John Cassavetes

Special Topic: Com FT 554 D1

Mr. Carney

Paper #3:

View John Cassavetes’ Shadows (multiple copies are available on reserve at Mugar Library) and discuss the function of the following scenes. Why are they there? What is their purpose? What do they accomplish? Demonstate your understanding that a film is more than a "telling a story" or "presenting a plot." Examine how it is organized, made, structured.

10:41-11:56: Lelia seeing Hugh off at Grand Central

12:26-13:48: Lelia looking at movie posters and encountering a man

23:11-26:01: Ben, Tom, and Dennis in the Museum of Modern Art

40:16-41:41: Tony, Lelia, and the cabby

1:01:38-1:08:24: Davey arrives and Lelia keeps him waiting

1:06:50-1:08:24: Tony apologizes

1:08:25-1:10:46: Davey and Lelia dance

Length: 3-5 pages, double-spaced (undergraduates); 5-7 pages (grad students).

Due: Tuesday, May 8, at the start of class. No extensions may be granted. This paper is optional, strictly for extra credit.


Cassavetes

Mr. Carney

Final Paper

CHOOSE ONE:

A. John Cassavetes’ Shadows has been mistakenly classified as being "improvised" since 1959 when it was released, when in fact almost all of the important scenes were scripted. Explain how the myth of improvisation could have been perpetuated (beyond the misleading title card that concludes the film). What is it about the film that makes it appear to be "winged" or "spontaneous"?

B. Cassavetes’ work is undergoing a revival of interest in America in the past two or three years. Write, for publication, a "viewer’s guide to the films of John Cassavetes" that can help new viewers appreciate these films. What would you want to tell a friend or roommate to get them started and over the hump of resistance? (Couch your guide in the form of a list of five to ten points.)

C. Discuss some "theme" that runs through Cassavetes’ work. Is there a thread that connects films as different as Opening Night, Shadows, Faces, and the others? What is it?

Length: 3-5 pages (double-spaced)

Due: May 1st (no extensions can be granted)

(Note: These films are available on video in Beebe library)

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