Presentation on theme: "Fall 2008 King/Malbon. modes of probabilistic and historical realism goal-centered narratives driven by the decisions of white, heterosexual heroes."— Presentation transcript:
fall 2008 King/Malbon
modes of probabilistic and historical realism goal-centered narratives driven by the decisions of white, heterosexual heroes regular and redundant clarification of story progress editing/cinematography meant to disguise the artifice of narration and thus intensify emotional response
abandonment of prestige road-shows for … intensive, opening-weekend marketing to fans market centers on suburban, post-60s youth themes include nostalgia for pulp culture, and youthful rebellion and sarcasm franchise marketing returns
Blockbuster marketing involves tie-in products, the potential for which shapes selection of source material and emphasis in the adaptation/ screenwriting and production design. fantasy cycles: Back to the Future, Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, Pirates of the Caribbean, Spiderman, Star Wars, Terminator, X-Men …
Proprietary stories are the surest sellers, with aggressive fans who will turn out. Multimedia proliferation of authors’ works and fans’ reworkings builds fan worlds that lend depth to the clichés of fantasy literature (Manichean duels between good and evil). Filmmakers who manage such franchises take care during development to court fans.
Filmmakers condense reams of trivia into coherent stories with no more than several dramatic arcs. Filmmakers often rely upon fan investment to sustain narrative interest if not clarity. Arcs usually build toward peril and face-offs with evil.
setups, in which protagonists conceive initial goals complicating actions, in which protagonists encounter new situations and reformulate goals developments, in which protagonists struggle to reach their goals, though with little progress climaxes that build toward sustained periods of action and the resolutions (not necessarily successful) of their struggles. (optional) epilogues that suggest what stability will follow
fades or cuts to black or to white, to silence or to musical flourishes montages of decision-making, or post-break news reports or executions of previous end-act decisions In most cases, between-act transitions are regularly timed and feature ways for viewers to contemplate what they have just seen.
Look at end-act decisions and situations of Jesus Christ Superstar. What patterns emerge, lending emphasis to what aspect of the gospel? How does this compare to Gospel plotting? What does it suggest about Hollywood’s approach to Jesus?
fall 2008 King/Malbon
The story about Gibson’s conversions doesn’t check out. (Fortunately, that’s an unusual situation in an academic journal.)
Protestants tried to avoid taking devotional attitudes toward images. Christ was first pictured, in their art, in narrative context. But Victorian Protestants backslid to portraiture by extracting the head of Christ from approved images. Heinrich Hoffman Christ and the Rich Young Ruler, 1889 and extraction
Warner Sallman Head of Christ rejected during the 1960s by evangelicals as middlebrow and feminine
Richard Hook Head of Christ 1964 Popular with the 1970s Jesus movement and evangelical Christians today
Del Parson Christ in Red Robe 1983 commissioned as official portrait of the LDS church (told while painting to make it “more masculine”)
Concerned about the idolatry inherent in devotional responses to imagery, Protestants have rejected immersive, spectacular art as well. By adopting this attitude, Protestants resisted the growing interest in high-impact visual media, such as cycloramas and panoramas, which became family destinations during the 19 th century. Spectation and pilgrimage were joined in these trips, as artists tried to draw viewers into the stories told by the panoramas.
Medieval artists originally developed displays of Stations of the Cross for those who could not travel the Via Dolorosa.
Panoramas work by recreating aspects of the ritual space of large churches and cathedrals: Insulation from world outside Presumption of bond of faith between viewers Darkness and silence to blend viewers into a group and reduce distraction Light trained on focus of group attention (missing mainly the rhythmic effort to affirm elements of cosmology)
Because God can be considered the object of faith rather than empirical proof, God is an absent presence —felt not seen. Film is another. Both religious observance movie enjoyment require the understandings of visual media and the suspensions of disbelief —the images must be made to symbolize. Seeing (the art) must be turned, by immersion in spectacle and ritual devotion, into believing. (This is what Protestants had wished to avoid in their consumption of imagery.)
Grünewald: Master of the Virgo Inter Virgines 16 th C Diego Velazquez 17 th C
Medieval courts regarded torture as a means to truth, and depictions of suffering as means to faith. Violence overwhelms reason, evokes strong feeling, and allows truth to well up from within. Today, symbols of violence are central to many emotionally-charged religious rituals, enhancing faith in symbols of powers worthy of our sacrifices. More so than Passion plays, passion films seek to overwhelm with stimulus, drawing viewers in beyond spectation to experience.
Art does this not with realism defined as historical accuracy as measured by scientists, but rather as a style that evokes a sense of historical or probabilistic reality. (more on this later) The point is to make viewers feel close to suffering. Where panoramas surround viewers and thus mime physical presence, movies use continuity editing and tight shots to make them feel close to events.
The result of such immersion in spectacle can be a feeling of solidarity (pride in group membership). But artistic, media violence can also overwhelm reason and summon emotion to the opposite effect: anti-social aggression. This fear joins the fear of idolatry at the heart of crusading against Jesus films —that the magic lantern that makes absence present can also move people in the wrong directions.