Thursday, May 10, 2012

Fiddler on the Roof: Conflict in Generations

During the past week we have been viewing Fiddler on the Roof, a musical set in Tsarist Russia in 1905.  We've been introduced to the interesting patriarch of five daughters, named Tevye.  His attempts to keep his family and its Jewish religious traditions are thwarted by changes in the new generation.  Tevye is faced with strong constitutions in his eldest daughters, who have inherited much of his strong will; however, he is challenged by their desires and choice of husbands which in part, separates them from the customs of his faith.  With an edict from the Tsar, Tevye is then faced with expulsion from his village and his home.  Choose a central theme that is moving throughout the musical and discuss how that theme advances your understanding of a universal idea and what makes the musical the classic as it is.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Shining: Psychological Horror?

Psychological horror is a subgenre of horror fiction that relies on character's fears, guilt, beliefs, eerie sound effects, relevant music, and emotional instability to build tenstion and further the plot. It creates discomfort in the viewer by exposing common or universal psychological vulnerabilities and fears, most notably the shadowy parts of the human psyche which most people repress or deny.  Explain how The Shining qualifies as a psychological horror by choosing specific events or actions that manipulate the audience's sense of fear.  What discomfort is created in the audience by what you perceive to be universal psychological vulnerabilities?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

DR. PAMELA ALLEGRETTO-DIIULIO: Palestine and "Amreeka"

After more than a week of Palestinian culture, students should be prepared to piece together some of the sentiment and spirit of the Palestinian man or woman who has had to endure more than 60 years of occupation.  From the film, Amreeka, it should be obvious how the Palestinian is often a foreigner in their own land; however, there is great sacrifice in making a move to a new country too.  The Palestinian has often found him or herself ostracized, ridiculed, and alone among a world of people wrapped up in their own prejudices and often unable to welcome those they perceive as the "Other," a concept given by Edward Said, a Palestinian Christian who has been a spokesperson for the Palestinian up until his death in 2003.  With artists like Naji Al-Ali with his satirical cartoons of Hanthala, Ishmail Shammout and Tamam Al-Akhar, and poets such as Mahmoud Darwish, the Palestinian has sought his/her way through the voices of paint brushes and ink pens.  We cannot forget that the welcoming spirit of the Palestinian into their home means to be greeted by a delicious cuisine of tabooleh, hummus, Lebanese rice, grape leaves, and a host of delicious deserts like baklava and kanafa.  With all of this in mind, how can we relate elements of the film, Amreeka to the pieces of culture that Palestinians strive to keep alive through their traditions?  How can presentations like these help the world to realize the humanity of a people who have been driven in a large part from their homeland - and do you think that "home" for them is a spiritual place or is that physical land now called Israel a place that will remind them what had been before?

Friday, March 9, 2012


Hola!  Como estas?  Well, our sixth presentation on the culture of Spain surely enlightened us even more than what we already thought we knew about the country.  Sophie illustrated various components of the culture with vivid and colorful slides depicting art, costume, and other interesting data.  How wonderful that we were able to invite the Spanish class for two days to our presentation.  Finally, the finale was quite tasty as we dug into the delicious tapas, gespachio, merienda, and flaun!  Your task this week is to write a one-sentence Spanish greeting to Sophie expressing your satisfaction in her presentation, naming your favorite or two favorite lessons, supporting it with reasons (use Google translator if you wish).  Then, explain how the film, Biutiful, illustrates different parts of Spanish culture as you have learned throughout the week.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

KATHYRN ORDIWAY: ITALY and Angels and Demons

Che settimana fantastica della cultura, compreso il cibo italiano da Mr. e Mrs.Ordiway, e un film interessante che descrive la cultura italiana.

What a fantastic week of culture, including Italian food by Mr. and Mrs. Ordiway, and an interesting film depicting Italian culture.  Surely, there should be plenty to relate in your discussions this week about the various cultural elements (both traditional and modern) and how they might be applied to the film, Angels and Demons.  What cinematic film techniques have you noticed being used in this film?  It is time to joggle our memories of some of the technicalities of film making along with the more creative aspects of the cultural series in which this presentation participated.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Nick Skok: FRANCE and The Man in the Iron Mask

This past week we were exposed to some of the interesting French culture through the arts, music, history, and the interesting etiquette that is so much associated with the finery of French custom and cuisine.

Choose any 2-3 customs that you enjoyed learning about this past week and show how they  were or were not enhanced through the film, The Man in the Iron Mask.  It may also be interesting to use some of your knowledge of the cinema (from your yellow cinema packets) to illustrate some of the conventions of film-making (camera angle, mise en scene, lighting, music enhancement, choreography, costuming, etc.).  

Finally, offer your insights into Nick's presentation and provide as always, advice for future improvements.

Good Luck