Varieties of Film Experience – Issues and Debates (FM4) Specialist Study 1: Urban stories – power, poverty and conflict Focus films for the study: Tsotsi (Hood, 2005) and La Zona (Pla, 2007) Supplementary films: Sin Nombre (Fukunaga, 2009) and Metropolis (Lang, 1927) Minimum suggested reading: pages 250 – 268 of A2 Film Studies The Essential Introduction by Benyahia, Gaffney and White (available at the CCN library)
You have now all watched the four films for this unit and it's time you started forming your opinions on the messages and values the films present. World Cinema Bingo is designed to get you thinking about the central issues of the films for this unit. It is also designed to get you to decide if there are thematic similarities between the films. The task is simple enough. The list of words below can be applied to one or more of the films for this unit. I would like you to choose a word and write a sentence about one of the films using your chosen word. Once you have used all of the words shout out BINGO and receive the congratulations of your peers. WORDS ON OFFER: ENTRAPMENT
EXAMPLE SENTENCE: In the film Tsotsi (Hood, 2005) the theme of DECENCY is a central one. Tsotsi is represented as a morally reprehensible character in the opening scene/act of the film. He has no regard for human life. However during the film he does display some characteristics associated with DECENCY – he cares for the baby and saves the baby's father from Butcher. Stretch and Challenge activity: Review your sentences – can your word be applied to more than one of the films you have studied for this unit? For example – the word DECENCY is repeated in Tsotsi however it could equally be applied to the other three films. It is the ability to make comparisons between the themes and issues presented in the four films that will allow you to get top marks.
There are copies of Tsotsi and Metropolis in the CCN library. Holly also has extra copies of Sin Nombre and La Zona. Success in this exam is about knowing the themes and issues of the themes. Knowing the similarities between the films. And also knowing the MICRO features of key scenes. I would like you to review your World Cinema Bingo sentences. Hopefully you have some key themes and issues and also some ideas about the thematic similarities between the films. I would like you to re-watch key scenes and jot down what you judge to be the key MICRO features of the scene. How do the MICRO features convey meaning to the audience? What is your response to the MICRO elements? How do they position YOU in response to the characters and their lives? What are your feelings towards the characters and their lives? Do those feelings change during the course of the film? Is this change intentional? Do the extracts use camera techniques or an editing style that you haven't seen before? How does diegetic and non-diegetic sound function in the extracts? How do your extracts represent the central themes of power, poverty and conflict?
Have a go at one or two of the past exam questions for this unit. I am always happy to mark work and give feedback. The questions below are all worth 35 marks. In the exam you will have 55 minutes to answer ONE of the essays below. To what extent are the messages and values to be found in the films you have studied similar or dissimilar? Make sure you refer to specific scenes to support your ideas. In order to understand the films you have studies, how important is it to be aware of the relationships of power within the societies depicted? Compare the different ways in which conflict between the poor and the powerful are represented in the films you have studied for this topic. What is the importance of cinematography and/or mise-en-scene in communicating issues of power, poverty and conflict in the films you have studied for this topic? How far do the films you have studied for this topic challenge the audience, generating debate about the worlds they represent? Compare the attitudes to poverty conveyed in the films you have studied for this topic.