We are going to watch a film with Classical themes: “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters” (2013).
I will ask you to pay particular attention to scenes inspired by mythology:
– What details make this mythological scene recognizable?
– Explain what mythological scene(s) or figure(s) are depicted. If a scene is depicted, explain how it relates to the story from which it comes. If a mythological figure depicted, write an encyclopedia-like description of the characteristics and associations of the figure, and briefly mention some of the stories associated with the figure.
– Is there a discernable relationship between the scene in the movie and the mythological scene represented?
I will also want you to “think beyond the frame,” and to consider questions about how the film was made, its historical context, and so on. For example, ask yourself:
– Who made the film?
Find out who directed the film, and what other films this director made. If you’ve seen some of these other films, you’ll have a better understanding of the themes and genres that the director is interested in.
– What is the production history of the film?
See if you can find out anything about the conditions under which the film was made. ‘Apocalypse Now’, for example, has an interesting production history, in terms of its financing, casting, writing, and so on. Knowing something about the film’s production can help you to understand some of the aesthetic and cinematic choices that the director has made.
– What do the critics and scholars say?
Reading what others have said about the film before you see it may help you to focus your observations. If a film is particularly well known for the editing of a certain scene (the shower scene in Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’, for example), you’ll want to pay close attention to the editing when you view the film.
– What can you learn from the film’s genre?
Before you see the film, think a bit about the norms and limitations of its genre. When you view the film, you can then consider how these limitations are obeyed or stretched. For example, Clint Eastwood’s ‘Unforgiven’ is a western that challenges its genre’s typical notions of good guy versus bad guy. Knowing how this dynamic plays itself out in other westerns helps you to understand and to appreciate Eastwood’s accomplishment.
– Does the film reflect an interesting cultural phenomenon?
Films reflect the cultures and nations in which they were produced. Hollywood films, one might argue, reflect certain things about our nation’s culture: our love of distraction, our attraction to adrenaline and testosterone, our need for good to triumph over evil, and our belief that things work out in the end. Other cultures and nations have different values and so produce different sorts of films. Sometimes these films baffle us. We might watch a French film, for example, and wonder why it’s funny. Or we might watch a Russian film and wonder why the director never calls for a close up. Consider differences. Find out if these differences reflect something about the national character, or if they reflect trends in the national cinema.
Keep in mind the following guidelines:
1. Your answer should be at least 500 words long.
2. Proofread carefully. With today’s computer spell and grammar checks, there is no excuse for sloppy errors.
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