On Documentary and Fiction

27.02.2008


Together (1956).


Week 19, 2008, at the University of Kent. This week’s lecture delivered by Dr. Catherine Grant for Introduction to Narrative Cinema 2: World Cinema is titled “Film as Document: Free Cinema as Case Study”.

These are the aims of my subsequent seminar:

• study the history of Free Cinema;
• understand the movement within its original context: Britain, 1950s;
• analyse the relation between documental and fictional elements in the films.

On Documentary Style

18.02.2008


Germania anno zero.


Week 18, 2008, at the University of Kent. This week’s lecture delivered by Dr. Catherine Grant for Introduction to Narrative Cinema 2: World Cinema is titled “Introduction to Section 2: Film as Document and Argument”.

These are the aims of my subsequent seminar:

• revisit the documentary and experiential qualities that film possesses;
• explore the connection between reality and narrative;
• analyse the approach of Germania anno zero (Germany Year Zero, 1948) to realism.

Understated Impertinence

10.02.2008


Friends, “The One Where No One’s Ready” (3.02).


Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) resorts to her understated impertinence whenever it suits her. After Ross yells at her because she is still trying to find the perfect shoes to mach her dress, she rises from her bedroom wearing a sweater and pyjama trousers. She tells him that she has decided not to go to the function at his museum and then proceeds to put her correspondence in order.

She neatly aligns her address-book and then a box containing envelopes. These are subtly calculated moves intended for someone who can interpret them and react to these downplayed signs. In other words, they are meant to get a response from Ross and only because of this are they performed. His response is, of course, somehow similar as if he is pretending not to understand her actions.

Playing for Laughs

09.02.2008


Friends, “The One with the Dozen Lasagnas” (1.12).


The symposium Playing for Laughs: On Comedy in Performance is held today and tomorrow at De Montfort University in Leicester. I quote from the introductory text:

Academics, comedians and performers from across the UK will be discussing topics ranging from 19th century clowns to Little Britain and from stand up comedy to Pakistani Bhānd. Focussing on performance across media, this inter-disciplinary symposium addresses the serious side of comedy — and the funny side of serious: a very laughing matter.

I am presenting a paper on the sitcom Friends (1994-2004) and its performance motifs. Here is the list of presenters and papers:

SATURDAY, 9 FEB.

Tom Brown (University of Reading), “The Comedic in Context: Maurice Chevalier”

Alex Clayton (University of Kent), “The Layering of Intention: A New Theory of Comic Performance”

James Walters (University of Birmingham), “The Limits of Comedy: Performance, Tone and Genre in It’s a Wonderful Life

Alex Symons (University of Nottingham), “Typecasting Comedians in the Movies: How Mel Brooks Changed His Image in Life Stinks

Lisa Williamson (University of Glasgow), “Transferring Chris Rock’s Stand-Up Persona to the Television Sitcom”

Andrew Butler (Canterbury Christ Church University), “Beyond the Cringe?: Some Notes Towards the Comedy of Embarrassment”

Sérgio Dias Branco (University of Kent), “Laughing in Friendship: The Intimate Ensemble Comedy of Friends

Tim Miles (University of the West of England), “Laughing at The Troubles: Theatre in Northern Ireland and Counter-Narrative”

Claire Pamment (National College of Arts, Pakistan), “Mock Courts and the Pakistan Bhānd”

Gordon Ramsay (University of Nottingham), “Futurism and Comedy”

Rachel Clements (Royal Holloway, University of London), “Peccadillo Circus and Verbatim Comedy: ‘Just a Cipher, Channelling the Filth’?”

Richard Cuming and John Lee (University of Winchester) and Sally Mann, “Please Form an Orderly Queue”

Kurt Zarniko (Roehampton University), “Stupidity Improves Your Memory: Proto-Museums and the Carnivalesque”

SUNDAY, 10 FEB.

Oliver Double (University of Kent), “‘That Shit Was Funny Now!’: Emotion and Intense Personal Experience in Stand-Up Comedy”

Teunkie van der Sluijs (University of Amsterdam and Rose Bruford College), “Why Stand-Up Comedians Don’t (Just) Tell Jokes: Advocating a Post-Humourous Paradigm for the Post-Alternative Comedian”

Kevin McCarron (Roehampton University), “‘These Two French Theorists Walk Into a Bar’: Stand-Up Comedy, Writing and Speech”

Sharon Lockyer (Brunel University), “‘SHUT AP!!’: ‘Chavs’ in Popular British Television Comedy”

Lloyd Peters (University of Salford) and Sue Becker (University of Teeside), “New Comedy: Back to Little England? Yeahbutnobutyeahbutnobutyeah”

I. Q. Hunter (De Montfort University), “Sex Lives of the Potato Men and the Decline of the British Working Class”

Ben Poore (Royal Holloway, University of London), “Lost Me Way and Don’t Know Where to Roam: Marie Lloyd and Music Hall Stage Biography Under Thatcher”

Oliver Double (University of Kent) and Michael Wilson (University of Glamorgan), “Persona and Physicality in the Work of Karl Valentin”

Ashley Thorpe (University of Reading), “An Insult to the Labouring People?: Critical Clowns and Didactic Drama in Communist China”

Louise Peacock (University of Hull), “Who Needs Words?: The Art of Physical Comedy”

On Utopian Sensibility

04.02.2008


Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.


Weeks 16 and 17, 2008, at the University of Kent. This week’s lecture delivered by Dr. Catherine Grant for Introduction to Narrative Cinema 2: World Cinema is titled “Cinema as Entertainment: Hindi Cinema as Case Study”.

These are the aims of my subsequent seminar:

• look at Hindi Cinema as an entertainment industry, concentrating on the musical drama;

• explore Richard Dyer’s ideas on the musical and its utopian sensibility;

• examine the role of imagination and conflicts in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995).