Friday, 4 January 2013

Week 9 (Tues 4 Nov)

In today's sessions, we returned to the discussion of fantasy and the fantastic on Film and Television (as mentioned last week, this can involve conecpts such as magic, myth, the otherwordly/alien, alternate realities, time and space manipulation, as well as mediums such as special effects and animation). First, we went back over one of the shows we had seen last week, and made some notes about how these apply to it:

Awake:
  • The running question of which life is real and which is fantasy, distinguished both by the differing colour tones and the different coloured armbands the main character wears.
  • The clues/events in one timeline affect the clues/events in the other, like the same number appearing in both, signifying different things (one is an address, the other a parking space number).
  • The show playing around with the timelines and how 'real each one is, such as having the two psychologists analyse and criticise each in other in their respective timelines, as well as the use of self-harm to try as establish one timeline as the 'correct' one.
Then, we took a look at Game Of Thrones, and, in groups, tried to think of how we could construct an essay on the show with the central premise/question being 'Realism Reveals Truth. Fantasy is Escapist': we argued that fantasy can exist within realism, and vice-versa, given how character interact with one another (much like real human beings), as well as the us eof racial and social commentary and ideas, something also present in more realistic fiction, which can be applied to the different creatures and civilizations. Additionally, through added research into other big fantasy series, we could show how widespread this is and how they use akin to GoT.

AFterwards, in the lecture, we watched Disney's Enchanted (2007), a film that both celebrates and satrizes Disney's long tradition of fairytale films about princesses, princes and magic and how that is brought into a 'realistic' world and how it then affects said world (everyone singing along with the princess for the arbitrary musical number seen in a lot of Disney works. In fact, the director was Kevin Lima, who also did Disney's Tarzan (1999), one of their animated musicals.)

Afterwards, we moved on to a new topic: Representation (resembles something or someone, often involving sex, class, gender, ethinicity, sexual orientation (also crosses into stereotypes) and how they are shown within a constructed reality (Film, TV, literature etc.). A key component to this is the idea of Polysemy, which essentially states that not everyone will view a representation of something the same way (one may see it as offensive and harmful, the other may say it's dead-on and accurate to the truth). What's more, the cycle of Reference (who/what), Production (the context) and Reception (the influence/interpretation) also play a large role, as each one affects the other (someone may be viewed in a certain context and that in turn affects the interpretation. For example, Mommie Dearest (1983) portrays legendary actress Joan Crawford (Reference) as a psychopathic control and clean freak, like the book it was based on (Production context) and in turn, recieved a lot of controversy when it was released (Reception).


In conclusion, today's sessions were still interesting, though the seminar felt more like it was scratching the surface, rather than delving into the material and really asking questions about what fantasy is. The lecture on the other hand, was more thought-provoking and it does get your mind going on how much of our media is made of certain representations of certain groups (like blacks are frequently shown in gangs, gays are shown as silly and over-the-top etc.).

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