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Closing Thoughts

Here are a few closing thoughts on the course.  I’ll try not to make it sound too much like a course evaluation form…

I like the way this course has probed into things that we take for granted in most classes, like the intricate processes of viewer comprehension.   At the same time it has clarified a number of distinctions that I was surprised not to have learned by my fourth year in the major—like the distinctions between classical Hollywood, art cinema, and parametric modes of narration (we discussed classical Hollywood cinema to death in film history, but I had never heard of “parametric” in the context of film studies).  Because of this, I feel like this would make a good course outside of the senior seminar format if the work load was scaled back a bit.

I liked most of the reading, but particularly enjoyed the J.J. Murphy book.  I think he offers interesting insight on a variety of kind of non-traditional movies, and the book inspired me to watch most of the movies in it that we didn’t see in class (I skipped Safe, for obvious reasons).  Murphy does a great job of explaining how narration operates in each of the films he discusses, but it left me wanting some more general theory of narration in independent film… I guess what I’m getting at is that Bordwell is a little to general, and Murphy is a bit too specific, so something in the middle would be a nice addition.

Rarely do I enjoy screenings as consistently as I enjoyed what we watched in this class.  Though the double features that lasted into the eleven o’clock hour sometimes tested my attention span, the movies and TV shows were great.  Even The Singing Detective, which didn’t pay off as I hoped it might (and which I’d consider my least favorite text of the semester) had enough humor and suspense to basically keep my interest.  Annie Hall and The Prestige are among my favorite films, and Arrested Development is probably my favorite TV show, so my Wednesday evenings tended to be pretty enjoyable.

I can’t think of much more to say (I think my brain turns to mush as soon as I get home…), so I guess this is the end.

Thanks, everyone, for a great course.  Have an excellent break.

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