Thursday, February 4, 2010

Through their eyes

I have twenty-six students in a class I'm co-teaching this semester, and as usual, they're blogging. The subject is filmmaking. On some nights, I'm presenting a film about filmmaking and leading a discussion after the screening. On other nights, my colleague is facilitating a workshop about the basics of digital filmmaking. Meanwhile, the students are podcasting about each week's class, getting their hands on editing software, dividing up into teams, and planning a short film by the end of the semester.

As I've mentioned before, the reason for having the students blog is to get them writing for an audience other than their instructor. And nothing makes that into reality like comments on their blog from people they don't know. So I'm going to introduce them briefly below, with quotes from their blogs on the subject of last week's viewing of Sunset Boulevard. If you're so inclined, visit a couple that catch your eye, and leave a comment. Your help will make the assignment much more than an assignment -- letting the students know they are engaging in real communication with a vast, unknown audience.

All About Austin: "Gloria Swanson is fierce, just plain fierce."
Blinking Blue: "I love and hate Norma, find Joe charming yet cowardice and Max is just too twisted to discuss."
Check It Out: "It seems that the theme behind it, with reference to the movie industry, is that only the strongest survive."
Discovering Film: "Even the way that the credits were being filmed on a moving road boosted the movie's overall effect."
Diva's Choice: "Her life is a script, a dramatic show that she lives, and Joe helps her with her life, which at the end is not successful as well, but she does get her time to shine."
Doug On Film: "Norma and Joe? They definitely did it. Don’t pretend you didn’t play it out in your head."
Figuring Out Film: "I can only imagine what it would be like in the 1950's to understand everything they were saying and see it as reality."
Film Blog: "This film revealed the dangers of denying reality. If you do, you’ll be crazy like Norma. "
Film In Words: "So I just have to ask, is everything that we pointed out, whether out loud or just personally, intentional?"
Film Through A Changing Lens: "I left last class under the impression that I had watched Sunset Boulevard thirty times, each through the eyes of a different individual."
Film: A Journey: "No, I couldn't relate to the washed-up, psychotic actress and her turmoil, nor could I relate to the struggling people vying to "make it big" in Hollywood, but I was reminded that everyone has flaws and anyone can get stuck in a place they have no desire to be."
FilmResidue: "I would like to say that Norma is a great shot with a pistol. Three shots. All of them hit."
Imran's Film Making Blog: "I kept thinking something pivotal would happen so that everything would work out because you get attached to Joe and become sympathetic towards him."
Learning Film: "They really are on the same playing field; Norma is just 20 years ahead (and CRAZY!)."
Let's Make A Scene: "I had planned on taking notes during the movie, but after the first 15 minutes, I was completely captivated."
Lights, Camera, Action: "Often the world of film imitates, if not exaggerates, what is happening in the real world at the time."
Lights ... Camera ... and Action ... Yes, It's FILM!!!!: "For me, my love for the authenticity of this movie all comes in when I realized that all the characters being mentioned in the movie were real people."
Mariam's Film Blog: "More than the character, this film had two dimensions of the world."
Movie Thoughts: "Like many other students, I was puzzled at first by Joe's motives at the end of the film."
Musings On Film: "it would seem that Sunset Boulevard is a film about the pointlessness of dreams and the shifting nature of personal reality."
Reel Talk: "There is just so much that goes into the screen plays, so much symbolism and themes that are hard to catch as a 'superficial' movie watcher."
The Film Is The Experience: "I find that constantly re-watching films and figuring out what makes them click and work really well and what makes them not click and just plain suck can help in building your own vocabulary of critical thought with regards to film."
They're all the leads in their own stories: "Joe gets a taste of the twisted life of an "actor" when he plays the role of Norma's lover/companion while trying to continue to live a normal life in the real world."
Thoughts From My Brain: "The overacting, dramatic lighting, and thrilling music just started to make my stomach turn."
Watch This: Films: "The age was one of mastering that which was available and the creation of novel methods and ideas to uncover the endless possibilities of reaching into people's hearts and minds."

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