978-1457663543 Chapter 2

Document Type
Homework Help
Book Title
The Film Experience: An Introduction 4th Edition
Patricia White, Timothy Corrigan
Draw the broad outlines and periods of film history.
Explain global dimensions of film history, emphasizing the distinctive nature of different national cinemas as
well as transnational influences.
Identify film practices and filmmakers marginalized by traditional Hollywood-centered histories.
Describe “lost” film history and the importance of film presentation.
Chapter 2 is the second chapter in the first section, which identifies institutional, cultural, and historical
contexts that shape the film experience. It begins with a historical overview of Hollywood and global film history,
dividing the timeline of film history into four broad periodsearly cinema, cinema between the (world) wars,
postwar cinemas, and contemporary film cultures. Each historical section introduces the thematic and stylistic
concerns, as well as a few key masters and masterpieces, of the various film cultures from that period. This chapter
then explores the lesser-known film cultures within the United States (women, African Americans, LGBT,
indigenous) that have been marginalized in film history. Finally, Chapter 2 engages the topics of orphan films and
film preservation.
This chapter teaches students how the movies construct visions of history and explains how the way we look at film
history is the product of certain formulas and models. Furthermore, watching films made in another era or
community requires us to consider them, to some degree, as documents whose style and subject matter requi re
historical context to be appreciated.
Perhaps the best way to present the opening vignette is by constructing a simple timeline indicating when,
where, and by whom each of the three films was made to illustrate how these similar stories emerge from different film
histories. For All That Heaven Allows (1955), you could discuss the social climate in the United States in the 1950s and the
careers of Douglas Sirk, Rock Hudson, and Jane Wyman. Repeat the same exercise for Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974) and
Far From Heaven (2002). Or play Far from Heaven director Todd Haynes’s commentary track from the Criterion
Collection of Ali, in which he discusses the connections between his film, Fassbinder’s, and
Sirk’s. Profile the film industries and social mores from which each film emerged. Ask students to revisit the section on
melodrama in Chapter 2 and then propose theories about what it means that the central “crisis” in this basic plot shifts from
class, to race, to homosexuality. If this story were to be remade again todayin New Orleans or Kosovo or Tehranwhat
would the transgressive relationship at its center look like?
This chapter emphasizes the importance of historical context when watching films made in another era or
culture. Conventional film history makes sense to students because its approaches and methodologies resemble those
they’ve encountered in history courses throughout their academic careers. Students also possess real-life, firsthand
knowledge of the power that economic forces or influential individuals have exerted in recent history, as well as the
blistering pace at which technology evolves. Additionally, they construct their own narratives and histories
according to periods centered on school or family.
When teaching this chapter, it can be useful to look at examples of how the movies have convincingly
reconstructed past events throughout their history. In addition to considering various biopic films, for instance, look at
how technological history has affected the form and content of movies. During the silent and early sound eras, a major
element may have been train travel. One present-day example that could really resonate with students’ lived experience
might be the case of the mobile telephone. Collect examples from movies from the past twenty years, and discuss how the
depiction of once cutting-edge devices instantly date a film or how a narrative that predates this technology woul d be
changed by its presence.
Teaching Film History as Periodization
Below are some key points to hit for each of the historical periods and/or film cultures:
Silent Cinema
Silent Features in Hollywood
The international dominance of Hollywood, which began in 1907-13
The rise of the star (or celebrity) system in the movies, which began around 1910
The beginnings of continuity editing (as an early elaboration of narrative form)
German Expressionist Cinema
Concentrated on the dark fringes of human experience
Represented irrational forces through lighting, set, and costume design
Soviet Silent Films
Emphasized documentary and historical subjects
Embodied a political concept of cinema centered on audience response
French Cinema
The Lumière brothers and Georges Méliès and the origin of cinema
Was the most successful film industry in the world before World War I
Classical Cinema in Hollywood and Beyond
European Cinema in the 1930s and 1940s
Rising nationalism in Europe used cinema to define linguistic and cultural heritage
Emigration of creative personnel from Germany to Hollywood
A socially conscious film movement known as poetic realism develops in France
Golden Age Mexican Cinema
During World War II, Mexico becomes a center of film production for national and international markets
Thriving of genres, including melodramas, comedies, and musicals
A resurgence of auteurism by the end of the 1940s
Postwar Cinemas (1945-1975)
Postwar Hollywood
Reflected the dissolution of the traditional power of the studios after the 1948 Paramount decision
Explored more controversial themes and issues as part of a new standard of realism
Technological innovations such widescreen formats helped motion pictures compete with the rise of television
Younger filmmakers influenced by European art cinema reach a younger audience
Rise of streetwise African American genre known as blaxpoitation
International Art Cinema
Italian Neorealism
Depicted postwar social crises
Used a stark, realistic style clearly different from the glossy entertainment formulas of Hollywood and
other studio systems
French New Wave
Broke with past filmmaking institutions and genres
Used film to express personal vision
Japanese Cinema
Placed character rather than action at the center of a narrative
Emphasized the contemplative aspect of images
Indian Cinema
Rooted in Hindu culture and mythology
Features elaborate song-and-dance numbers
Third Cinema
Rejected technical perfection in opposition to commercial traditions
Embraced film as the voice of the people
Cinematic Globalization (1975-2000)
New Hollywood in the Blockbuster Era
Young filmmakers inspired by European auteurism experience massive commercial success with films
such as Jaws and The Godfather
The expansion of a youth audience as the dominant group of moviegoers
The arrival of conglomerates, blockbusters, cable, and home video
One the one hand, the elevation of image spectacles and special effects over narrative engagement
On the other, narratively engaged films experiment with narrative form
The Commercial Auteur
The rise of the auteur as a brand: Ridley Scott, David Lynch, and Quentin Tarantino
Personality and prominence of the director driving movie commerce more and more
American Independent Cinema
Auteurism as aggressive marketing technique by distributor Miramax
Independence as synonymous with controversial subject matter, challenging roles, and award nominations
German Cinema
Confronted Germany’s Nazi and postwar past, and emphasized the distinctive, often maverick, visions of
individual directors
Today’s pan-European cinemas broaden the traditional view of “the national
African Cinema
Focuses on social and political themes rather than commercial interests
Explores the conflicts between tradition and modernity
Chinese Cinema
Includes films from the “three Chinas”—the People’s Republic of China (or mainland China), Hong Kong,
and Taiwan
Ranges from the strong aesthetic vision of Fifth Generation films to wuxia, or martial arts films, to Sixth
Generation explorations of urban life and controversial themes
Iranian Cinema
Presents spare pictorial beauty, often of landscapes or scenes of everyday life on the margins
Developed an elliptical storytelling mode in part as a response to state regulation
Cinema in the Digital Era (2000-present)
Global Hollywood
Diversifying Screens
Global Film Culture in the Age of Streaming
Film Preservation and Archives
Teaching Technical Vocabulary and Key Concepts
When teaching technical vocabulary for this chapter, encourage students to explore how our sense of history
becomes richer and more insightful through an awareness of film
historiography by assigning essays and journal
entries that cite important dates, names, and events and use terminology learned in class.
Another approach to evaluating comprehension could be to administer short quizzes after screenings. Ask
students to identify the movie’s approach to history and its place within film history. Have them describe how
assumptions about film history help shape our understanding and enjoyment of individual movies and film
movements. Or, consider giving vocabulary quizzes at the beginning of class. Select only a few of the boldface
terms from each section, perhaps emphasizing those that most closely relate to the film you’ll be watching. Giving a
definition and an example allows students to begin to parse and refine their understanding of the reading.
Film historians often assert that it was D.W. Griffiths controversial film, The Birth of a Nation (1915), which
roused black Americans to make their own films. Indeed, Oscar Micheaux’s brilliant 1920 film Within Our Gates is
a direct response to Griffith’s epic. You might consider pointing out the existence of production companies
specializing in race movies that predate Griffith’s film (see p. 59). Also note that prior to Griffith’s film, Micheaux
was confronting the realities of racism and segregation as a novelist. There is no doubt, however, that race movies
flourished in the 1920s and that Micheaux was a major figure of this movement. He was not without his critics,
many of whom felt his portrayal of blacks was too complex, not positive enough. Note that an effort to ban his 1918
film The Homesteader (based on his 1917 novel) was lead by three Chicago ministers who objected to Micheaux’s
depiction of corruption in the black church. A useful supplement to this “History Close Up” is Oscar Micheaux and
His Circle: African American Filmmaking and Race Cinema of the Silent Era, edited by Pearl Bowser, Jane Gaines, and
Charles Musser (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2001). Finally, you may wish to introduce students to Evelyn
Preer, one of the most popular stars of the era. She starred in nine of Micheaux’s films, including The Homesteader and
Within Our Gates. Her career was tragically cut short by her untimely death in 1932.
Postwar Hollywood, p. 71
View the online clips of Gilda (1946) and Rome, Open City (1945), which were produced at roughly the same time.
What makes them identifiable by period? Can you identify contrasts between classical Hollywood and Italian
neorealist style?
This Viewing Cue can be used as a journal entry prompt or test question. You could also use this Viewing Cue to
generate a lively discussion about the formal characteristics of how Rita Hayworth and Anna Magnani are lit, framed,
clothed, and shot in their respective films/styles. Of course, this Viewing Cue can also be adapted for any of the historical
periods covered in this chapter.
Indian Cinema, p. 73
Scan local film and television listings, noting how many different countries are represented. If the rang e is limited,
why do you think this is so? If you have located foreign films, what kinds of venues or channels show them?
Flip the script. Redefine local by searching the film listings in online editions of foreign newspapers. What’s
playing in Trastaverde or Lahore or Dublin or Kigali? How many American films are showing on
international screens?
Chinese Cinema, p. 82
Compare at least two films from the same movement (such as New German Cinema or Hong Kong New Wave). Do the
characteristics discussed in this chapter apply?
This Viewing Cue would make an excellent prompt for a take-home exam or longer paper.
Diversifying Screens, p. 86
View the clip from Gina Prince-Bythewood’s Beyond the Lights (2014). How do dialogue and form position the
black woman protagonist? How do you think this relates to the unique perspective of a black woman director behind
the camera?
This Viewing Cue can be tied to broader issues covered in this section of the chapter. How do proliferating social
media forms contribute to the national conversation about race, celebrity, and cultural heritage?
Orphan Films, p. 92
View an ephemeral film” on the Internet Archive at www.archive.org/details/ ephemera. What does it tell us
about history?
Duck and Cover (1952) and various hygiene films might make for interesting class discussion. Have the
students research the annual Orphan Film Festival or Home Movie Day. Or discuss how ephemeral film has been
co-opted for comedic purposes by Mystery Science Theater 3000. If a TV show has rediscovered an orphan film and
remarketed it for commercial purposes, even mockingly so, is it still an orphan film? Alternatively, what does it
mean for ephemeral films as a whole to be spoofed in films like Dodgeball (2004) and TV shows like Futurama?
Taxi Driver
and New Hollywood (1976), pp. 76-77
Most films made during the same period share not only historically recognizable themes, plot devices,
characterizations, genres, and visual styles but also use similar costuming, casting, editing, and sound practices. At
the same time, an individual film works to differentiate itself within these period standards. For example, Martin
Scorsese’s Taxi Driver manifests the “spirit of the age” in New York City during the U.S. Bicentennial and
describes its cultural atmosphere using formal and narrative innovations influenced by European art cinemas.
Discussion Question 1:
What roles do cinematography, voiceover narration, and score play in situating this movie
within a certain period?
Discussion Question 2:
How does the fragmentation of Taxi Drivers narrative work to give the audience a greater sense
of Travis Bickle’s fragmented psyche and create greater psychological realism?
Discussion Question 3:
Consider the careers of Martin Scorsese, writer Paul Schrader, and composer Bernard
Hermann. How does their direct or academic knowledge of film history allow them to create a movie that can reflect its
historic present?
Within Our Gates
(1920), pp. 90-91
To create a local context for the impact that a movie like Micheaux’s might have had, ask students to research the
exhibition history of race movies in your region. Or have them do a shot-by-shot analysis of a sequence to detail
how the editing style of Within Our Gates diverges from the practices of Hollywood continuity editing.
Discussion Question 1:
What is the effect on film history when a movie thought lost is rediscovered?
Discussion Question 2:
What are the roles that archives and preservationists play in our evolving understanding of
film histories?
Discussion Question 3:
How does Micheaux’s movie work as a counter-narrative to The Birth of a Nation (1915) and
U.S. historical amnesia about race relations and lynchings?
Alternative Activity
Alternative Activity
Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972)
Alexandria . . . Why? (1978)
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974)
Alice in the Cities (1974)
All That Heaven Allows (1955)
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
American Psycho (2000)
Amreeka (2009)
Anders als der Anderin (Different from the Others) (1919)
Antichrist (2009)
The Apple (1998)
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Arugbá (2010)
Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957)
Avatar (2009)
Bamako (2006)
The Battle of Algiers (1966)
Battleship Potemkin (1925)
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
Beyond the Lights (2014)
Bicycle Thieves (1948)
The Big Parade (1925)
The Big Sleep (1946)
The Birth of a Nation (1915)
The Birth of a Nation (2016)
Black Girl (1966)
Black God, White Devil (1964)
Blade Runner (1982)
The Bling Ring (2013)
The Blue Angel (1930)
Blue Velvet (1986)
Body and Soul (1925)
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Boys Don’t Cry (1999)
Breathless (1960)
Bride & Prejudice (2004)
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
Cabiria (1914)
Café Lumière (2003)
Cape No. 7 (2008)
Carol (2015)
Chan Is Missing (1982)
The Children’s Hour (1961)
Chinatown (1974)
Christopher Strong (1933)
The Circle (2000)
Citizen Kane (1941)
A City of Sadness (1989)
Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962)
A Clockwork Orange (1978)
Daisies (1966)
Dance, Girl, Dance (1940)
Daughters of the Dust (1991)
The Deer Hunter (1978)
The Defiant Ones (1958)
The Derby (1896)
Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005)
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)
Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler (1922)
East Palace, West Palace (1996)
The Edge of Heaven (2007)
8 ½ (1963)
Enamorada (1946)
Face/Off (1997)
Faces (1959)
The Fall of the House of Usher (1928)
Far from Heaven (2002)
Final Fantasy: Spirits Within (2001)
Finye (1982)
Fitzcarraldo (1982)
The 400 Blows (1959)
4 Little Girls (1997)
Fred Ott’s Sneeze (1896)
Gas Food Lodging (1992)
Gilda (1946)
The Gleaners and I (2000)
The Godfather (1972)
The Godfather, Part II (1974)
Go Fish (1994)
Gone with the Wind (1939)
The Graduate (1967)
The Grandmaster (2013)
The Handmaiden (2016)
Happy Together (1997)
Hard, Fast and Beautiful (1951)
Heimat (1984)
The Hidden Half (2001)
Hiroshima, Mon Amour (1959)
Holocaust (1978)
The Host (2006)
The Hour of the Furnaces (1968) I
Accuse (1919)
In a Better World (2010)
In the Heat of the Night (1967)
In the Mood for Love (2000)
In the Realm of the Senses (1976)
The Intern (2015)
Intolerance (1916)
The Invitation (2016)
It Happened One Night (1934)
It’s Complicated (2009)
Jaws (1975)
The Jazz Singer (1927)
Jennifer’s Body (2009)
The Joyless Street (1925)
Ju dou (1990)
Julie & Julia (2009)
Kandahar (2000)
The Kids Are All Right (2010)
The Killer (1998)
La Bamba (1987)
La fée aux choux (The Cabbage Fairy) (1896)
Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001)
L’Argent (1929)
The Last Laugh (1924)
Lee Daniels’ The Butler (2013)
Lemonade (2016)
Life on Earth (1998)
The Lives of Others (2006)
The Lonedale Operator (1911)
Love & Basketball (2000)
M (1931)
dchen in Uniform (1931)
Magnolia (1999)
Malcolm X (1992)
Man with a Movie Camera (1929)
Maria Candelaria (1944)
The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979)
Melancholia (2011)
Memento (2000)
Memories of Underdevelopment (1968)
Metropolis (1927)
The Milk of Sorrow (2009)
Mi Vida Loca (1993)
Monsoon Wedding (2001)
Mother India (1957)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) My
Darling Clementine (1946)
The Namesake (2006)
Napoléon (1927)
Natural Born Killers (1994)
The Night of the Hunter (1955)
Nosferatu (1922)
Old Boy (2003)
Om Shanti Om (2007)
Ossessione (1943)
Pancho Villa! (Let’s Go with Pancho Villa) (1936) The
Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
Pather Panchali (1955)
Persepolis (2007)
PK (2014)
Polar Express (2004)
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009)
Psycho (1960)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Quo Vadis? (1913)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made (2016)
Raise the Red Lantern (1991)
Rashomon (1950)
Rebel without a Cause (1955)
Reds (1981)
Rome, Open City (1945)
The Rules of the Game (1939)
Run Lola Run (1998)
Salomy Jane (1914)
Salut les Cubaines (Hello to the Cubans) (1963) The
Scarlet Empress (1934)
The Searchers (1956)
The Seashell and the Clergyman (1928)
Selma (2015)
The Seventh Seal (1957)
sex, lies, and videotape (1989)
Shaft (1971)
She’s Gotta Have It (1986)
Shin Godzilla (2016)
Sholay (1975)
The Silences of the Palace (1994)
Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
Smoke Signals (1998)
Snowpiercer (2014)
The Sound of Music (1965)
Stagecoach (1939)
Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971)
Tangerine (2015)
Taste of Cherry (1997)
Taxi (2015)
Taxi Driver (1976)
The Ten Commandments (1923)
These Three (1937)
13th (2016)
Tilai (1990)
Titanic (1997)
Tokyo Story (1953)
Touch of Evil (1958)
Toy Story (1995)
Trances (1981)
Treasures from the American Film Archives (2000, 2005)
12 Years a Slave (2013)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1903)
Ugetsu (1950)
Les Vampires (1915)
The Vanishing Lady (1896)
Vent d’Est (Wind from the East) (1969)
Vertigo (1958)
Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995)
What You Should Know about Biological Warfare (1952) The
Wheel (1923)
Where Are My Children? (1916)
The White Balloon (1995)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
Wings of Desire (1987)
Within Our Gates (1920)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
The Woman in the Window (1944)
Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory (1895)
Working Girls (1931)
The World (2004)
Wuthering Heights (1939)
Yeelen (1987)
Yellow Earth (1985)
Yesterday Girl (1966)
You Can’t Take It with You (1938)
Yi yi (2000)
Zero for Conduct (1933)
Zoot Suit (1981)

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