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Print out the oscar ballot. Circle/Check your winners and turn it in to Mr. Varieur by March 1st. Watch any nominated film and complete an analysis for the categories. The more categories=the more points. Use terms and examples from Units 1-4.
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Group Projects will be posted above. Create a pdf to upload for all to see and review for the tests.  See directions fro the project below.

Genre/History Film Project (200pts):
·            Choose groups, choose a genre and a decade, and gather research. Has each member found at least 2 articles/links/websites to explain your genre? Have you read and highlighted the information? Have you read the directions to the project on the handouts given out in class? When will your group meet to complete the project?

· Watch 3 films in your genre? One film should be a classic. One should be a modern version. One should be a twist or change in the genre. Complete a comprehensive film analysis for 1 of the 3. Use clips from all 3 films to explain your genre. Which clips? why? Analyze one of the films for genre, decade, and film analysis. See questions for help analyzing:
What is the film's genre (see genre elements below)?
​How does the film use the conventions and iconography of the genre? Any changes? revisions? Explain.
How is the story told (linear, with flashbacks, flash-forwards, episodically)?
“happens” in the plot? Discuss depth and range. Restricted narration?
 How does the film cue particular reactions on the part of viewers (sound, editing,
characterization, camera movement, etc.)? Why does the film encourage such reactions?
 Is the setting realistic or stylized? What atmosphere does the setting suggest? Do
particular objects or settings serve symbolic functions?
 How are the characters costumed and made-up? What does their clothing or makeup
reveal about their social standing, ethnicity, nationality, gender, or age? How do costume
and makeup convey character?
 What is illuminated, what is in the shadow? How does the lighting scheme shape our
perception of character, space, or mood?
 What shot distances are used? Do you notice a movement from longer to closer shot
distances? When are the various shot distances used (e.g., the opening of the scene,
during a conversation, etc.)? What purposes do the shot distances serve?
 How do camera angles function? How do they shape our view of characters or spaces?
 How do camera movements function? What information do they provide about characters,
objects, and spaces? Do they guide the viewer’s eye toward particular details? Do they
align the viewer’s perspective with that of a character?
 What types of cuts are used? How are the cuts used (to establish rhythm, shift between
characters, transition between spaces, mark passage of time)? Does editing comment on
the relationships between characters and/or spaces?
 Do different characters use different kinds of language? Do certain characters speak
through their silences?
 What is the music's purpose in the film? How does it direct our attention within the image?
How does it shape our interpretation of the image? How are sounds used?
 How might industrial, social, and economic factors have influenced the film? Do conditions
in the filmmaking industry limit the way in which the film can represent particular
subjects? Does the film follow or critique dominant ideologies? Does it reflect and shape
particular cultural tensions?

Explain the elements below with examples/clips from films or visuals: 

-the history of the genre: influences? changes? popular when? why?
-typical plots and scenarios and how they resolve to affirm values
-the conventions and typical situations/conflicts
-the iconography-objects, symbols, mise en scence, props
-the character types  (goodies, baddies, women)
-the code of the hero
-mood-how is this achieved?
-settings-morals, values, environment, history, where/when? visual images?
-values/themes associated with the genre.
-cinematic style (Use what you've learned from units 1-3).Analyze and explain the look and style of the genre (art direction, mise en scene, editing, lighting, camera work, narrative structure, music, sound, special efx, etc.)

·            Have you figured out how you are presenting your findings to the class? Which clips will you use? Powerpoint or Keynote (30 font min.)? Handouts for the class? Who is speaking? What are you saying?

·             Use the "Dummy Script" to create a film in your genre. Make sure the look, costumes, dialogue, and music/editing match the style of your genre. Use the genre chart above to create your film. Show your film after the presentation.

·            Have you researched your decade with several sources? Can you explain the 4 movements in film during your decade (aesthetic, economic, technological, social/historical)? Which genres were popular during your decade? Why? Great films released during that decade? Actors and directors that were popular during the decade? Hays code?

·            Have you been to the4 textbook websitesto see test questions about your genre from the several textbook sites? Go there and make sure you answer the questions in your project. See the study guide and film terms for additional help in explaining your genre and decade.

·           Turn in all sources with your project. Complete a group evaluation. You have one full period to present. Use all of the time wisely. Have you clips ready. Have your handouts made. Make sure the Powerpoint/Keynote works the day before you present.

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Unit 4: The History of Film, The Motion Picture Business, and Genres
See Filmart chps. 1,4,5, and 6, See Art of Watching Films chps. 13,14, & 15.  See Looking at Movies chps. 3, 10, and 11, and all chapters for genres in AMERICAN CINEMA AMERICAN CULTURE 2nd edition click link below: (LATEST EDITION HERE)

We will be watching films from each genre and from several periods of history. You will be given questions to answer about each film and genre while watching. Feel free to research the film, the genre, and the historical period. In groups, you will choose one genre and one decade in film history. Your task is to teach the class everything there is to know about the genre. You will also watch and analyze 3 films in the genre to use in your presentation. Tell us how history/pølitics/religion influenced the films in your decade and how the films influenced society. What innovations and changes occurred in the film industry? See HANDOUTS for more info. SEE QUESTIONS FOR THE GENRE FILMS DOCUMENT FOR THE FILMS SHOWN IN CLASS.

Screening Checklists:
  • As you study a particular film (or film artist, style, or movement), learn as much as you can about its historical context: the year in which it was made/released; the country of origin; why, if relevant, that year was important to that country’s history, and how, if relevant, the movie deals with the events of that period; the means of production (e.g., studio, independent, government-sponsored); the audience for which it was intended; its reception by the public and critics alike. Isolate and identify the movie as closely as you can within this overall context.
  • Also learn about the film’s aesthetic context: Was it made as part of a particular film movement (e.g., Italian neorealism), or does it break from the prevailing tradition of the period? If it is representative of a movement, how does it measure up against the movement’s ideals and achievements? Is it part of a “national cinema” with its own aesthetic, political, and cultural values? Or is it part of the international movement of surrealist films?
  • Learn something about its director’s overall body of work. Is he regarded as an auteur? If so, how is this movie similar to, or different from, his other films? If the director’s work is characterized by varying stylistic approaches, is this movie a recognizable example of his style or a break from that tradition? Since you may not have time to see many of the director’s movies, compare the movie you are considering with his most famous movie.
  • Similarly, following the above approach, you may want to study the history of another creative artist in the historical context of a particular genre. A few suggestions are Hayao Miyazaki’s anime style within the history of animation, Preston Sturges’s screenplays for 1930s screwball comedies, Freddie Young’s cinematography for the historical epics directed by David Lean, Ann Roth’s approach to designing costumes for period movies, Walter Murch’s sound designs for the movies of Francis Ford Coppola, or the production design of films about the Civil War from D. W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation (1915) to Anthony Minghella’s Cold Mountain (2003).
  • When a historical event has inspired various movies (e.g., the Great Depression, the Vietnam War, Watergate), you have a rich opportunity to analyze and understand those cinematic interpretations. First, you should understand the complexity of this (and any) historical event by taking notes on how different historians have treated it—in other words, to understand that all historical accounts are themselves interpretations of events. This will establish a context for determining the scope, thoroughness, and effectiveness of the movies inspired by the event.
  • Have you found that a particular movie has made important innovations in cinematic language or in the use of technology? If so, what are they? Who was principally responsible for them (e.g., the director, sound designer, cinematographer)? Was this a momentary blip on history’s screen, or did it become a permanent part of cinematic technique or language? Can you name a specific innovation and its influence on a particular director or movie?
  • If your movie was the product of a particular Hollywood studio, find out if that studio had a unified style for most of its movies or encouraged its directors to use different styles. If the former, how well does the movie evoke that style? If the latter, how is it different? And did it influence subsequent studio productions?
  • Many independent movies, those made in the poststudio years, are characterized, on one hand, by adhering to the traditional aspects of cinematic language and, on the other, by making recognizable breaks from tradition. If your movie fits into this category, how “independent” is its director? Is he someone who works solely to fulfill his own vision (e.g., Stanley Kubrick), a maverick who works within the much looser configuration of the New American Cinema (e.g., Clint Eastwood), or a trailblazer who tackles edgy subjects in a bid for new audiences (e.g., Quentin Tarantino)?
  • Are you interested in the interaction between a movie’s ideology and its marketing? If so, choose a movie such as Gus Van Sant’s Milk (2008)—about the beginnings of the gayrights movement—and (following the analytical model of Jason Reitman’s Juno [2007] in Chapter 1), identify its ideology, determine the audiences for which it was produced, and how it was marketed and received. In this, you might provide a context of other films on gay issues, including, among others, Basil Dearden’s Victim (1961), John Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy(1969), William Friedkin’s Boys in the Band (1970), Jonathan Demme’s Philadelphia (1993), and Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain (2005).
1. What are four traditional approaches to film history? Pick a film and briefly explain how you would discuss it in terms of these four different approaches.
2. Name some important movements or groups of filmmakers in the history of cinema. Discuss how the aesthetics of each movement or group is related to cultural, historical, or political issues.
3. Discuss the chronological breakdown of film history and identify its major achievements in terms of film form, social or cultural history, politics, and technology.
4. Discuss the contributions of individual directors to film as an art form.
5. What major historical events have affected how and why movies are made? Have movies played a role in shaping these events? Why or why not?

  1. Since most of the movies that you study in your introductory film class will be narrative films, you should ask whether a particular film can be linked with a specific genre and, if so, to what extent it does or does not fulfill your expectations of that genre.

  2. Be aware that many movies borrow or blend elements of multiple genres. Look for familiar formal, narrative, and thematic genre elements, and ask yourself how and why this film uses them.

Read the articles, visit the links, watch the videos, see the ppts, do some research, and see sources below. In your genre group or any other group of 4 max, fill out the UNIT 4 SHEET (25 pts).
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Concise History of Cinema

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In addition to answering the questions and reading the articles for each film, you must write a film review for all films shown in class. See documents, vocabulary/words to use, and links for how to write a film review
. Use terms fromunits 1-3 along with the conventions and inconography of thegenre in your analysis/evaluation of the film.
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a beautiful story by one of the best filmmakers of our generation
a fantastic movie with great writing/acting/performances
a film that oozes brilliance/emotion/intrigue
a fine, well-crafted story that is highly enjoyable
a movie that breaks the mold
a must-see for those who enjoy ___
a powerful film that is heartbreaking/touching/thought-provoking
a script worthy of the actor's dramatic talents
a unique and thought-provoking film about ___
a well-chosen cast that brings the story to life
behind the scenes
brilliant in conception and exuction
filmed on-location
good but not great
keeps the viewer guessing/thinking/on edge
movie magic
nearly perfect in every way
the actress delivers a noteworthy performance
the characters' stories intersect and ___
the film creates a sense of heightened ___
the film is a metaphor for ___ and ___
the film is a metaphor for the way people ___
the film is a moving tale/portrayal of ___
the film is a visual marvel
the film is an extraordinary testament/production/portrayal/depiction
the film leads the view to believe ___
the film reveals a ___ and ___ story about ___
the movie accomplishes everything it sets out to do/its mission
the movie accomplishes the difficult task of ___
the movie breathes life into the stale genre of ___
the movie captures ___ in all of its glory
the movie captures the essence of ___
the movie develops into a non-stop thrill ride
the movie develops smoothly/slowly/thoughtfully/precisely
the movie dramatizes the hero's struggle/fight/battle
the movie dramatizes the story of ___
the movie enchants with every element/plot/acting/scenery/music
the movie enchants you from the beginning
the movie excites me just thinking about it
the movie excites the passions/senses/the viewer's interests
the movie explores the oppositional forces of ___ and ___
the movie explores what it truly means to ___
the movie forces us to consider the power of ___
the movie forces you to pay attention
the movie illustrates the power of ___
the movie illustrates the writer's main points of ___ and ___
the movie immerses the movie goer in the adventures of ___
the movie immerses us in the history of ___/a universe of ___
the movie makes you feel ___
the movie makes you think
the movie plays on the cultural icon of ___
the movie plays on your emotions
the movie reveals a ___ story about ___
the movie reveals an unexpected plot twist
the movie urges us to reexamine ___
the movie urges you to see beyond ___
the plot tugs at your emotions
the storyline of ____ is smooth and it grabs you
the two leads interact with each in a ___ way
this movie is the total package
well worth viewing 

Homework and articles/links forCity Lights and 
THE ARTIST (50pts)below. Answer the questions for CITY LIGHTS from the document and complete a film review for THE ARTIST (see film review doc). Use as many quotes/ideas from the links as possible! Look at Chapters 5 and 6 of the American Cinema textbook site.

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Another article on City Lights

City Lights and THE ARTIST


The Artist Anatomy of a Scene-Compare it to City Lights

A review of THE ARTIST above

analysis of a scene from THE ARTIST





More Discussion on DOUBLE INDEMNITY SEE:


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Double Indemnity (USA-Paramount, 1944) Directed by Billy Wilder. Screenplay by Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler. Based on the novel by James M. Cain. Photographed by John F. Seitz. Art Decoration by Hans Dreir and Hal Pereira. Music by Miklos Rozsa, with Symphony in D minor by Cesar Franck. Sound by Stanley Cooley. Edited by Doane Harrison.

CAST: Fred MacMurray (Walter Neff), Barbara Stanwyck (Phyllis Dietrichson), Edward G. Robinson (Barton Keyes), Porter Hall (Mr. Jackson), Jean Heather (Lola Dietrichson), Tom Powers (Mr. Dietrichson), Byron Barr (Nino Zachette), Richard Gaines (Mr. Norton), Fortunio Bonanova (Sam Gorlopis)

107 minutes.

Part 1-Read all of the links and articles below and summarize your knowledge of film noir:
1. Perhaps the most famous character in film noir movies is the
femme fatale. Although you may not have a clear definition of a
femme fatale in mind, in a few sentences, write down what you
know about this kind of character.
2. In film noir, many of the male leads are weak, frustrated men.
While you are watching Double Indemnity, make a mental note
of Walter Neff’s characteristics? What kind of man is he? What
is his relationship like with women?
3. Film noir literally means “black film.” As you are watching the
film, keep track of all the elements in the picture that seem dark
or depressing. Think about the characters, the setting, and the

Part 2:
1. Double Indemnity has been called “a film without a single
trace of pity or love.” Do you agree with this statement? Think
about the motivations that lie behind the actions of Walter Neff
and Phyllis Dietrichson when you consider your response.
2. In your mind, are there any heroes in Double Indemnity? If
so, who?
3. Film noir movies are still made in Hollywood today. Can you
think of any recent detective films or movies about crime that have
a similar look or mood? How do these films compare with Double
Indemnity (a movie often thought of as the original film noir)?

Part 3:

  1. Double Indemnity combines many ingredients of the classic murder story: a "perfect" crime, a large insurance policy, a tenacious investigator, and the inevitable falling-out among the thieves. The one element this film purposely lacks is surprise: we know from the first five minutes who did what to whom. How does the film manage to sustain interest in spite of this? Why does Neff do it?
  2. What details of mise-en-scene seem to contribute to the overall mood or tone of this film? How would you describe the mood of Double Indemnity? Explain the use of lighting and shadow. What symbolism is used in the film? Think of objects in the mise en scene.
  3. Does this film seem to fit the pattern of the classical Hollywood film? Are the problems set up at the outset of the film resolved by the end? Does Double Indemnity follow the pattern of the usual "boy meets girl" plot?
  4. Define, as carefully as you can, the key elements of the main actors' performances in this film (Stanwyck-Phylliss, MacMurray-Walter, Robinson-Keyes). Does each actor seem especially suited to the role he or she plays? Can you imagine other actors in the same roles?
  5. How might one best describe the motivation of Phyllis in the film? Is she primarily interested in money? Is she in any way a sympathetic character? How is she a typical femme fatale? How does the film portray women, marriage, family, domestic life, etc.?
  6. In terms of narrative, how would you describe the plot of Double Indemnity in relation to its story (as differentiated by Bordwell and Thompson in the textbook Film Art: An Introduction)? How much time passes by during the plot of the film? During the story? THINK UNIT 1-FORM/STRUCTURE/PLOT/STORY
  7. How would you describe the relationship between Walter Neff and Barton Keyes? Describe each character in the film and how each one functions. Who represents morality? Why? What does Walter's job reveal about society and his role as the anti-hero in it?
  8. Double Indemnity relies a good bit on voice-over narration. Do you think this is a good device or a distraction? What is the effect of this kind of narration by one of the film's characters? How would it be different if the narrator were not a character in the story? 
9. Discuss the dialogue and innuendo in the film. How has the Hays Code prevented them from talking about controversial topics such as sex? Revenge? Read the Hays Code and explain using examples in the film. 
How is this typical of pulp fiction? Read the document below (doubleindemnityandthehayscode.pdf) about the film and the Hays code and Give examples from the article and the film.   
10. Rate the film 1-10 (10 being the best). How does it hold up today (70 years later)? Any influences from this film seen in films today? Where?

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SINGIN IN THE RAIN (50pts)-partners ok
See the powerpoints below. See the textbook website American Cinema for Chapter 7: The Musical.



READ THE ARTICLES/LINKS ABOUT SINGIN IN THE RAIN ABOVE and ANSWER QUESTIONS (parts 1-4) BELOW. You must also download the singingguide12 pdf and complete all of the activities.

More Questions for Singin in The Rain:

Singin� in the Rain (USA-Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1952)

Directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen. Produced by Arthur Freed. Screenplay by Adolph Green and Betty Comden, suggested by the song Singin' in the Rain. Photographed by Harold Rosson. Edited by Adrienne Fazan. Music composed by Nacio Herb Brown, Lyrics by Arthur Freed. Music Director Lennie Hayton. Art Direction Cedric Gibbons, Randall Duell.Set Design by Edwin B. Willis, Jacques Mapes. Special Effects by Warren Newcombe and Irving G. Ries. Costumes by Walter Plunkett.

CAST: Gene Kelly (Don Lockwood), Donald O'Connor (Cosmo Brown), Debbie Reynolds (Kathy Selden), Jean Hagen (Lina Lamont), Millard Mitchell (R. F. Simpson), Rita Moreno (Zelda Zanders), Douglas Fowley (Roscoe Dexter), Cyd Charisse (Dancer in ballet sequence), Madge Blake (Dora Bailey), King Donovan, (Rod), Kathleen Freeman (Phoebe Dinsmore), Bobby Watson (Diction Coach), Jimmie Thompson (Male lead in Beautiful Girls number), Dan Foster (Assistant Director), Margaret Bert (Wardrobe Woman), Mae Clark (Hairdresser), Judy Landon (Olga Mara), John Dodsworth (Baron de la May de la Toulon), Stuart Holmes (J. C. Spendrill III), Dennis Ross (Don as a boy).

103 minutes

  1. What type of musical is Singin in the Rain? Explain.
  2. What is the real story behind Cosmo and Don Lockwood? Is it DIGNITY? HINT: The narrative images on the screen belie every embellished, fabricated word he speaks - in reality, the pictures and descriptions are terribly disjointed. [The film's theme is the 'out of sync' disjunction of words / sounds / movie images from reality - what can be believed in the magical world of film? Can we believe our eyes and our ears?] What actually happened to Cosmo and Don is seen entirely differently - as an uphill struggle for two musicians/performers.
  3. What does Kathy say about acting in movies and acting on the stage? Have you heard this before? Where?
  4. What do the people think about Talkies at first? What is the first talkie? What do they think after it has been released? What does Monumental Pictures decide to do?
  5. What happens with the sound in the first screening of the Dueling Cavalier?
  6. How do they save the picture?
  1. What overall tone and sorts of attitudes does Singin in the Rain seem to have towards Hollywood and the movie industry? towards movie-making itself? towards silent films? towards talking pictures? towards the media? towards human relationships? towards its own characters?
  2. How does the mise en scene reflect those attitudes? How would you compare this film with, say, Sunset Boulevard or other films like THE ARTIST and CITY LIGHTS, or any other films you've seen that deal with the movie industry?
  3. Singin in the Rain was filmed in the expensive Technicolor process at a time when movies were just as often shot in black and white. Why do you suppose this decision was made? What sort of impact does the use of color have on the movie?
  4. The story and plot of Singin in the Rain were designed around an existing collection of popular songs written by the producer. Because most of them had been introduced during the 1929-30 period, the years sound films were replacing silents, they decided to set the story in that era. What place do the songs and musical production numbers have in this film? Do they advance the plot or are they simply diversions? Do they develop the characters or are the singing and dancing performances just another part of what the characters do in the story world? How well would the film work without the songs? How does this film compare with any other musicals you may have seen (in approach, filmmaking style, general tone, etc.)?
  5. How do actors Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor modify the style of their performances at different times in the film? At what points do they do this, and what effect does it have? CHOOSE 1 SONG/DANCE TO EXPLAIN (Like you did for Chicago last semester).
  6. Debbie Reynolds was only 19 years old when she made this film, her first big role. How well does her performance stand up against the more experienced stars?
  7. What sorts of information about moviemaking does the film provide? How accurate does it appear to be in portraying the historical period it's set in (which was approximately 25 years before the time it was made)? What types of musicals are presented in the film ? Explain.

PART 3: Discussion Questions

  1. Why do you think musicals were so popular from the 1930s to the end of the 1950s? (HINT: Think about the history of the U.S. and the history of the film.) For a while, except for MTV-style videos and animated cartoons such as The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast, the movie musical seemed to have become a dead letter. The critical acclaim that has greeted the recent releases of Moulin Rouge! and Chicago seems to suggest that the musical may be experiencing a revival. Why do you think that today’s audiences seem to have become interested again in traditional musicals like Singin’ in the Rain?

  2. Gene Kelly’s singing and dancing performances are an unquestionably important part of the film. How would you describe his style of dancing? For those of you who have seen Fred Astaire dance, can you describe the difference between his mode of dancing and Kelly’s? Kelly always said that he was more comfortable dancing with men than with women. Is this evident in the film? If so, how? Where? And why do you think his particular dancing style lends itself to this preference for male partners?

  3. The film’s key musical performance—and the single most memorable dance number in cinematic history—is the  “Singin in the Rain” sequence. As you watch this scene, consider the following questions:
    • how does this sequence exemplify Kelly’s interest in using dance as an “expression of characters’ moods and feelings.” How does this musical number illustrate Lockwood’s mood--and his emotional development-- at this particular moment in the narrative?
    • how are sound effects used in the sequence, particularly the sounds of Kelly’s tap dancing?
  4. Singin’ in the Rain, like all movies, is about life, not just about making movies. Since classic Hollywood films were meant to support social values, they were designed to showcase characters who modeled socially desirable traits. What admirable qualities does Don Lockwood have? What cluster of values does Kathy Selden represent? Lina Lamont? How are Don’s dilemma and its solution marked by his acceptance (or rejection) of those values? What life lessons are we meant to learn from this film? How do these lessons relate to real-life issues during the 1950s?
  5. According to Peter Wollen, “The core issue in the film is . . . the relationship between sound and image.” How does Singin’ in the Rain represent that relationship? In real life, do you tend to believe what you see or what you hear? In watching a film, which do you tend to pay most attention to? How does Singin’ in the Rain make use of that tendency? How does the film’s assertion square with the fact that Debbie Reynolds’s singing voice was dubbed in the actual film?
  6. According to Peter Chumo, “Creating the show and creating Don’s new identity are the two central issues of Singin’ in the Rain.” How would you describe that new identity? What steps are needed to create it? How is the dual-plot structure of the story involved in this development?
  7. ***READ THE LINKS AND STUDY GUIDES ABOVE AND BELOW AND USE THE INFO. IN YOUR RESPONSE/SUMMARY/REVIEW OF THE FILM. RATE THE FILM 1-10 (10 being the best). How does it rate as a musical? Is this the "GREATEST MUSICAL OF ALL TIME"? Discuss the elements in your review.


UPDATED COMMERCIAL OF SINGIN IN THE RAIN (see other parodies on youtube including a STAR WARS VERSION

Joseph Gordon-Levitt song and dance on SNL-"MAKE EM LAUGH"




The Graduate

1. How is the film a coming of age story? How is the film a product of the 60s without the Hays Code restrictions?
2. How is the dominant culture/adult society presented? Do they understand Ben? Why not?
3.What types of comedy are found in the film? Discuss scenes that made you laugh.
4. Trace the motifs and camera shots throughout the film? How many times do you see water in the film?
5. Discuss the soundtrack and songs. How do they communicate the meaning? character? tone? passage of time? Explain the montages that go with the songs.
6. What do you think about the ending? Explain the last scene on the bus.

Graduate Clips from Wayne's World and Old School above and below


THE GODFATHER· What does the film say about Family and “The MAFIA FAMILY”? How are they similar and different? Why do we root for Michael even though everyone is bad? What do we admire about the code of the gangster? What does the film say about the American Dream?

***BE SURE TO EXPLAIN THE FAMILY AND "THE FAMILY" and other values presented in the film.

Read the link above and discuss how The Godfather depicts the gangster genre and represents in the American Dream.


See the parody above.

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Etrangement dérangeant, le dernier roman de Stéphanie Hochet interpelle ! Le pitch : une écrivaine débarque dans le Lot sur invitation des mairies locales pour la promotion de son livre. Isolée sans le savoir par une bande de néo-fascistes déterminés à faire renaître l’auroch, elle se retrouve à écrire le mythe de cette créature préhistorique disparue. Une fiction bigrement originale qui questionne l’humanité, la cause animale, les limites de la morale. Rencontre avec l’auteure !

Parlez-nous de vous…

Quand avez-vous commencé à écrire ?

Quand je suis partie vivre à Gasglow. J’avais un peu de temps libre et l’écriture a commencé là-bas. Il s’agissait au début de textes courts, de poésie. Puis j’ai glissé vers la fiction sous forme de nouvelles. A mon retour, j’ai envoyé mon premier manuscrit à des maisons d’éditions qui m’ont répondu non. Ce que je comprends avec le recul ! (rires) J’ai écrit  par la suite un second texte que j’ai senti plus abouti et c’est finalement celui-ci qui a été publié en 2001.


Comment expliquer cette évolution entre les deux textes ?

La maturité et le sens critique que j’ai développé envers mes textes. Au début, on est toujours un peu amoureux de son texte, un peu narcissique. C’est pourquoi je conseille de s’entourer d’amis littéraires avec un sens critique pour nous faire progresser. Mais attention à ne pas faire appel à trop de lecteurs ! Deux ou trois personnes c’est bien car 10 lecteurs valent 10 avis et on ne s’en sort plus ! Et puis j’aime cultiver le secret. Même mon éditeur ne sait pas ce qui va sortir de l’écriture. J’ai besoin de le porter en secret pour préserver son intrigue.


Le métier d’écrivain est un travail d’écriture certes, mais aussi un long travail de promotion, ce que le grand public peut oublier. L’animal et son biographe s’ouvre sur cette réflexion. Pourquoi ?

J’ai voulu faire le portrait de l’écrivain sans gloire pour lever le voile sur un métier qu’on croit somptueux et confortable alors que pour beaucoup, il s’agit d’aller dans d’obscurs festivals où personne ne vous connait pour parler de votre livre que personne n’a lu ! (rires)


Vous faites souvent mention de l’amalgame qui peut être fait entre ce qu’écrit l’écrivain et ses convictions profondes. Vous avez déjà été confrontée à ces amalgames ?

C’est la première fois que je mets ce sujet dans un de mes récits. Effectivement certains lecteurs ont tendance à croire que nos personnages, ce sont nous et par conséquent que nous devons répondre de leurs discours et de leurs actes, ce qui est complètement fou ! Les anecdotes que je cite dans mon dernier livre ont été tirées de ma propre expérience : une femme m’avait demandé de me justifier de l’usage d’un mot  alors qu’il sortait de la bouche d’un personnage de mon roman !


Parlons de votre dernier ouvrage…

L’intrigue de votre dernier livre se déroule à Cahors que vous dépeignez comme une région isolée où tout est possible, même les pires horreurs. Vous êtes fâchée avec le Lot ?

Non pas du tout ! Mais c’est vrai que je suis une vraie fille de la ville. J’ai eu quelques expériences de campagne mais carrément inquiétantes. Le Lot est une région magnifique mais j’ai été rapidement prise d’une sentiment d’isolement et d’angoisse car je ne conduis pas ! Ne pas être mobile dans ces régions accroît votre sentiment de vulnérabilité. Mon inconscient s’éveillait et imaginait des scénarios terriblement macabres ! (rires) Dans mon récit, l’écrivaine se retrouve elle aussi isolée en campagne. Incapable de s’enfuir même si on a du mal à saisir vraiment pourquoi…


La symbolique animale est très présente dans vos récits. Il est question dans votre dernier roman du mythe de l’auroch. Pourquoi une telle fascination pour l’animal ?

La symbolique animale a pris de plus en plus de place dans mes récits, c’est vrai. Malraux disait que le XXème siècle serait religieux. Pourrions-nous imaginer que la suite serait un retour à la mythologie, à la spiritualité animale ? Je pense que je fais partie des auteurs contemporains qui ont conscience d’avoir ignoré les animaux pendant des années alors qu’ils ont fait l’objet de culte pendant des années et que jusqu’au Moyen-Âge, le cochon habitait avec les hommes ! La période contemporaine a effacé tout cela, la symbolique animale n’existait plus. J’ai eu un réveil de conscience. Dans L’animal et son biographe, je remets au centre de l’histoire l’animal. A l’époque préhistorique, les animaux étaient les vecteurs d’une spiritualité. L’auroch était cet animal qui régnait en Dieu dans la grotte de Lascaux. C’est touchant de savoir que l’homme, lorsqu’il s’est fait artiste, a choisi l’animal comme sujet de création.


Vous militez pour la cause animale ?

Disons que je suis une militante cool. Je suis végétarienne depuis quelques années, vegan chez moi et plus flexible à l’extérieur. Pendant un temps, cela a été perçu comme de la sensiblerie et heureusement des auteurs ont pris la parole et on fait évoluer les mentalités. Je pense à Matthieu Ricard, Peter Singer et Jean-Bapstiste Del Amo, auteur du Règne animal sorti l’année dernière.

C’est passionnant de voir où en est l’être humain dans le traitement des animaux. C’est intéressant de savoir à quoi l’animal nous renvoie car les maltraiter, c’est devenir inhumain, manquer d’humanité !


Vous avez des animaux chez vous ?

J’ai adopté un lapin que j’ai trouvé dans un bar ! Une dame l’avait récupéré et le nourrissait mais ne pouvait pas le prendre avec elle. J’ai fini par craquer et l’ai pris avec moi. Je rêve plus tard d’habiter dans une grande maison avec des chiens et des chats et d’être odieuse ! (rires)


Revenons à votre livre, quel a été votre travail de recherche sur l’auroch ?

Je suis tombée sur son histoire par hasard sur Internet. C’est l’animal qui règne en Dieu dans les grottes de Lascaux et il a particulièrement fasciné l’idéologie nazie qui se disait défenseur de la cause animale, ce qui était faux dans les faits. L’auroch était perçu comme une race pure. Or il s’était éteint au 17ème siècle, chassé par les hommes. C’est pourquoi une équipe de chercheurs au service du régime nazi a tenté de le faire renaître. Cette histoire m’a fascinée ! Nous avions perdu le génome de cette espèce depuis bien longtemps, la reconstitution réalisée par les nazis n’a été qu’une supercherie faite de croisements douteux ! Quand j’ai découvert cette histoire d’auroch reconstitué, j’ai trouvé cela tellement passionnant que cela m’a inspiré pour un nouvel écrit : la narratrice se retrouve confrontée à un groupe déterminé à faire renaître l’auroch. Cela pose la question de l’eugénisme car l’homme détruit chaque jour des espèces… Pourquoi déciderait-il d’en faire renaître certaines et pas d’autres ?

Quand la narratrice accepte d’écrire le mythe de l’auroch malgré le projet fou de ceux qui l’entourent, qu’est-ce qui l’anime ?

On ne sait pas bien mais pour un écrivain, trouver le sujet qui va porter son texte est une aubaine ! Son côté écrivain prend le dessus. Elle sent probablement qu’elle va écrire son meilleur texte.


Remettre l’animal au cœur de vos récits est devenu presque une mission pour vous. Pourtant cela se fait dans des conditions effroyables dans L’Animal et son biographe. Pourquoi ?

J’ai une approche assez ironique et cynique du monde ! (rires) C’était important de montrer que plus un groupe est petit et isolé, plus il développe ses propres règles et ses propres lois. Loin du monde, ils pensent qu’ils peuvent faire ce qu’ils veulent. Dans le récit ce n’est pas l’auroch le problème, ce sont les gens ! L’objectif de mon livre est de brouiller la frontière entre l’humain et l’animal par des projets fous !


Traiter de thématiques nazies est toujours délicat…

Moi cela m’intéresse. Je ne vois pas comment l’on peut écrire au XXIème siècle sans penser à ce qu’il s’est passé à cette période. Je fais souvent allusion à ce fantasme ignoble qui a eu lieu, à cette idéologie qui nous a menés à des extrêmes abominables. Je ne suis pas indifférente à ce qu’il se passe aujourd’hui et beaucoup de choses s’expliquent à partir de ce qu’il s’est passé en 39-45. Je ne suis pas là pour donner des leçons. Pour moi un roman n’est pas le territoire de la morale, mais il faut expérimenter quelque chose d’immoral ou au moins amoral ! L’animal et son biographe interroge la morale !


L’animal et son biographe aux Edition Rivages – 192 pages – 18€


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