Jaap’s Recitation, 4/4, 11:00am *Repost

We began this weeks recitation talking about our papers and some common problems amongst them. Jaap stated that many of the papers had similar problems in their direction and in their bibliographies. He encouraged us to

  1. Specify a thesis
  2. Create a dialogue with the text using many quotes rather than just one
  3. Analyze the films rather than summarize them

Then we watched a clip from Michael Moore’s The Awful Truth. The clip included Moore speaking to a studio audience about the wealth divide in America in a childish way, stating that three people hold the same wealth as 250+ countries and, “we could kick three peoples’ ass”. The studio audience ate it up. My reaction to this part of the segment was that I didn’t really think this film was creating an effective dialogue or line of thought but, instead, open the floodgates to an ” Occupy Wall Street”esque generalized complaining/animosity. We discussed whether this was “independent” or “radical” filmmaking.

Our first presentation was about niches in independent cinema. According to it, indy films are often catered to middle class white audiences. Black independent filmmakers have shown through films like Do The Right Thing that they can generate revenue without reproducing white cinema. I wondered if black filmmakers have ever been successful in generating revenue via “white” cinema if there really is such a thing. The crossover potential of queer cinema was also discussed and it was stated that it had vast crossover potential in terms of the people who would be interested in watching. Many interested not in gays but in Avante Garde themes are captivated by films such as My Own Private Idaho, which opens with a graphic depiction of the life of a distraught homosexual teenager. Our second presentation addressed gender roles in film. Many independent films challenge gender roles but are often subject to falling into the troupe of creating a false sense of progressive social thinking in their portrayals of homosexuality. An example of this which was shown in class was the “Boy in a Dress” scene in To Wong Foo, which showed stereotypical drag queens as archetypes rather than people.

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