2nd Paper Assignment: Two to Three-Page Comparison Paper, Due Friday October 23

1. Compare an avant-garde movie from the below list or of your own choosing to an earlier or contemporaneous narrative or non-narrative film of your choice.

2. Form a thesis through careful description of the two movies.

a. Your thesis could address (but does not have to; this is a suggestion for those of you who prefer suggestions) one of the two following things: (a) How avant-garde film incorporates elements of narrative cinema and/or the cinema of attractions (b) How narrative cinema can create space to weave in avant-garde elements, whether or not they are visually attractive or otherwise spectacular.

b. I would like it to be me precise and specific than the themes above. For example, Anemic Cinema (1926) and He Who Gets Slapped (1924) share basic visual elements like absurd, nonsensical language and spinning discs and globes. The visual similarities between Anemic Cinema and He Who Gets Slapped, reveal how He Who Gets Slapped employs strong formal elements to expand the meaning of its violence beyond the character arc of Paul Beaumont (Lon Chaney).

3. Here is a working list of avant-garde movies. Most of these are available through the Library or on YouTube. If you watch the movie on YouTube, please, play close attention to quality, make sure you have the correct aspect ratio, and check the movie official time (on the Library’s resources page, Wikipedia, IMDB or Sense of Cinema) to the YouTube runtime:

Le Retour la raison (The Return to Reason). Directed by Man Ray, France, 1923, 2 min.

Emak-Bakia. Directed by Man Ray, France, 1926, 16 min.

L’toile de mer (The Starfish). Directed by Man Ray, France, 1928, 15 min.

Les Mystres du Chteau du D (The Mysteries of the Chteau of Dice). Directed by Man Ray, France, 1929, 20 min.

Mnilmontant. Directed by Dimitri Kirsanoff, France, 1926, 37 min.

Brumes d’Automne (Autumn Mists). Directed by Dimitri Kirsanoff, France, 1928, 12 min.

Rhythmus 21 (Film Is Rhythm). Directed by Hans Richter, Germany, 1921, 3 min.

Vormittagsspuk (Ghosts Before Breakfast) Directed by Hans Richter, Germany, 1928, 9 min.

Anmic Cinma. Directed by Marcel Duchamp, France, 1926, 6 min.

Ballet Mcanique. Directed by Fernand Lger, France, 1924, 11 min.

Symphonie Diagonale (Diagonal Symphony). Directed by Viking Eggeling, Germany, 1924, 7 min.

La Glace trois faces (The Three-Sided Mirror). Directed by Jean Epstein, France, 1927, 33 min.

Romance Sentimentale (Sentimental Romance). Directed by Sergei Eisenstein and Grigori V. Alexandrov, France, 1930, 16 min.

Manhatta. Directed by Paul Strand and Charles Sheeler, U.S., 1921, 10 min.

La Coquille et le Clergyman (The Seashell and the Clergyman). Directed by Germaine Dulac, France, 1926, 31 min.

Ein Lichtspiel: Schwarz, Weiss, Grau. Directed by Lszl Moholy-Nagy, Germany, 1930, 6 min.

Un Chien Andalou. Written by Salvador Dal and Luis Buuel, directed by Buuel, France, 1929, 16 min.

Propos de Nice. Directed by Jean Vigo. Cinematography Boris Kaufman, brother of Dziga Vertov. 1930, 25 min.

You can choose another movie just write to me and your grader for approval. For instance, Hans Richter made many other fascinating avant-garde movies. And they don’t have to be strictly avant-garde is you want to explore other themes. Maybe you are really interested in the films of Dorothy Arzner, for example. We are here to urge you on to explore your interests. The main requirement is that you use the technique of comparison. Again, approve it with your Grader and me via email.

Which movies you choose are going to play a role in determining the quality of your paper and how much work you will have to do. If you pick an avant-garde film first, then think long and hard about what other movie might pair well with it, and vice versa. Focus especially on picking a pairing that helps you construct a clear and insightful thesis through comparison. For example, if the avant-garde film has documentary elements, consider pairing it with a documentary.

If you need help, ask me for help.

The quality of your writing matters as much as the quality of your ideas and argument. A good argument poorly made is as good as a good movie idea poorly made.

The very best papers will have a spark to them.


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