Saturday, 9 February 2013

Week 13 (Mon 21 Jan)

Funny thing, we were supposed to watch Michael Hanneke's Funny Games, but due to the teacher not being there, thanks to the heavy snowfall during the weekend, the screening was cancelled.

Moving on to the seminar, we discussed a number of concepts relating to the acclaimed German playwright and director Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956):
  • Art as Critique: Brecht believed that art could be used to critique society, thus causing progression through argumentation. In a sense, this relates back to the previous term, where we looked at comedy and satire, which also used art and entertainment to make fun of and critique aspects of society.
  • Dialetical Materialism: Based on a concept from another famous writer, Hegel, this refers to the cycle whereby the state of affairs (thesis) would lead to an opposite (antithesis) and through their collision and mixing, produce a new idea/order (Synthesis). Naturally, a number of real-life historical examples sprung to mind, such as the French Revolution: Monarchy (thesis), Revolutionaries (antithesis) and Napoleon (synthesis).
  • Threepenny Opera: One of Brecht's most famous works, and a critique of the wealthy, we looked specifically at the song Pirate Jenny, where the titular character sings about the impending doom of those around her, and how she, merely a servant, will soon have great power.
  • Caucasian Chalk Circle: A play within a play, set in East Europe that deals with two groups feuding over a valley, and the internal play deals with two women fighting over a child. The end message is 'Things belong to those who can use them well'. This story, as a couple of students noted, bore quite a strong similarity to a Bible story where two women argue over a child, and the king offers to cut the baby in half.
  • Verfremdungseffekt/V-Effect: Make the familiar unfamilar/aware of the aritifice, like say, Cabin In The Woods or Scream, which were very self aware of their absurd, almost farcical nature and really toyed with it.
Closing off the lesson, our assignment was to go off, individually though still linked up as a group, to research on a set news story and look at what elements could be used for a feature film. I, and a few others, were tasked with the Oslo attacks back last year which already have a strong 'human' element/surviving the odds feel to them, and would make for some compelling drama.

And so, to conclude,this lesson was, while still informative and enjoyable, not all it could've been as the snow very severly truncated a lot of today's activities, and as a result the seminar wasn't as strong as it could've been if we had been able to see Funny Games and really have that at the forefront of our minds while discussing Brecht and his ideas. Really, I can't say too much about today, and that is quite a shame.

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