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Week 5 - Mise En Scene / MovementFilm Production Photos
spacer "Nothing is more revealing than movement."
Martha Graham
Class Meeting #4
Monday, September 21
6:30 PM - 9:15 PM
AB2 249

Reading Assignments
Understanding Movies, Chapters 2 -3

"Producing a Motion Picture," The Motion Picture Industry: Behind the Scenes

On-Line Discussion
Week 5
In Class Discussion
Mise En Scene / Movement - A PowerPoint Presentation
Note: LARGE GRAPHICS, be patient if you don't have a fast internet connection
Paper #1 - Due October 12 - "The Star"
Length - 750 to 1000 words.

"I am big. It's the pictures that got small."
Norma Desmond, Sunset Boulevard

"As far as the filmmaking process is concerned, stars are essentially worthless-and absolutely essential."
William Goldman

"Richard Burton is now my epitaph, my cross, my title, my image. I have achieved a kind of diabolical fame. It has nothing to do with my talents as an actor. That counts for little now. I am the diabolically famous Richard Burton."
Richard Burton

The Star. Some actors are stars, some avoid stardom. Some stars are actors, some aren't. Some stars are real, most are manufactured. Why? What does this say about the individual and about us?

First, society has always needed heroes -- people who show us the best in ourselves, who inspire us to be greater than we are, who will lead us into places we fear to go.

"Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. . . . He is the hero, he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor, by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world."
Raymond Chandler

But, somewhere along the way, we have confused stardom with heroism. All it takes to become a "hero" is publicity. A good PR firm can make us all want to "Be Like Mike." Dennis Rodman is certainly a star. I worry for anyone to whom he is a hero.

"Celebrity-worship and hero-worship should not be confused. Yet we confuse them every day, and by doing so we come dangerously close to depriving ourselves of all real models. We lose sight of the men and women who do not simply seem great because they are famous but are famous because they are great. We come closer and closer to degrading all fame into notoriety."
Daniel J. Boorstin

And that's what this paper is about.

"Fame, (fame) makes a man take things over
Fame, (fame) lets him loose, hard to swallow
Fame, (fame) puts you there where things are hollow
Fame (fame)

Fame, it's not your brain, it's just the flame
That burns your change to keep you insane (sane)
Fame (fame)

Fame, (fame) what you like is in the limo
Fame, (fame) what you get is no tomorrow
Fame, (fame) what you need you have to borrow
Fame (fame)"
David Bowie, John Lennon and Carlos Alomar

First, read Understanding Movies, Chapter 6.

Then, take a look at a person, a "real person" who happens to be an actor or actress. What do you know about them as individuals? How do you know if they are "the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world"?

Then take a look at what we DO know about them. How did you find out? Did a Press Agent plant the story? Did the star carefully create an impression, a "star's persona?" And what price did they pay for that "stardom"?

"One thing about being successful is that I stopped being afraid of dying. Once you're a star you're dead already. You're embalmed."
Dustin Hoffman

Finally think about the "actor's persona." Is it locked in step with the "star's persona?" Are all their movies the same? Whose fault is that? Society's for demanding they fulfill the "star's persona" they acquired? Or have they been given the freedom to act, not just star? And finally, how do these personas fit with the "real person?" Are they locked in an unnatural "real" role like Burton?

For your paper, describe, in detail, the three levels of identity - the real person, the actor's persona, and the star's persona. With each of these, define the term, then show how the term applies to your chosen star. Then compare and contrast the three levels. Finally, a try to explain a star's popularity (or anonymity) and, maybe, what that says about American Culture.

Visual aids are useful in a paper like this. You can, if you wish, submit it electronically or printed. MLA style footnotes and a bibliography are required.

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