During the fall of 2004, four sessions of 24.213 were recorded especially for OpenCourseWare.
This course is a seminar on the philosophical analysis of film art, with an emphasis on the ways in which it creates meaning through techniques that define a formal structure. There is a particular focus on aesthetic problems about appearance and reality, literary and visual effects, communication and alienation through film technology.
Syllabus and course requirements, philosophy and film, student introductions, the humanist philosopher, Jean Cocteau, film as cultural communication, readings for the course, meaning and technique are inseparable
- 00:00:00 Introduction to course
- 00:13:10 Singer explains his work in philosophy...
- 00:19:47 The first reading book Reality Transformed..
- 00:21:20 Singer continues with student introductions...
- 00:28:18 Singer describes himself as a humanist philosopher.
- 00:31:00 Singer discusses the work of Jean Cocteau.
- 00:41:30 Student raises issue of film as a primary form of cultural communication.
- 00:58:55 Singer's fundamental idea on meaning and technique is that the 2 cannot be separated
why study film?, realism and formalism, mathematics as an abstract art form, film and photography, Beauty and the Beast, Cocteau, Citizen Kane
- Student begins presentation, asking the question: Why study film?
- Singer discusses the interpenetration of realism and formalism in film.
- In response to a student's description of problem-solving in engineering, Singer argues that mathematics is an abstract art form.
- Discussion of the aesthetic differences between film and photography.
- Student talks about Cocteau's film, Beauty & the Beast.
- Further discussion of Cocteau; Singer explains that in Cocteau's work, film lends itself to poetry.
- Student continues presentation with analysis of Citizen Kane.
Beauty and the Beast, William James, Citizen Kane
- Singer announces that this session will continue the discussion of the last 2 weeks, which included an introduction to the philosophy of film; watching Beauty & the Beast (an archetype of what Cocteau calls "the poetry of film"); and discussion of the distinction between realist and formalist schools.
- Singer mentions the work of the American philosopher William James.
- Singer continues discussion of Beauty & the Beast.
- Singer reviews the Disney version of Beauty & the Beast, which draws on Cocteau's version to some degree.
- Emily begins presentation on Citizen Kane, discussing themes of alienation in the film.
- Discussion of Welles's choice of the word "Rosebud."
- Singer argues that Welles is not sympathetic to the character of Kane; students discuss whether or not they felt sympathy for the character.
- Singer discusses Welles's involvement with politics.
- Emily continues presentation with discussion of how techniques of cinematography are used to express elements of time, memory, reality, and illusion.
Orson Welles, The Dead, The Magnificent Ambersons, expectations for student papers
- Student begins presentation on Welles, focusing on a philosophy of pessimism.
- Singer points out that Welles generally avoids nostalgia and sentimentality, in contrast to Huston's film, The Dead.
- Singer discusses the use of myths in works of art, and how myths function in our interpretations of the past and our search for truth.
- Discussion of the BBC documentary on Welles.
- Discussion of comic elements in Welles's work.
- Singer claims that critics have not given credit for the depth of feeling that Welles expresses, which is particularly evident in The Magnificent Ambersons.
- Singer reviews expectations for students' second paper.
- Citizen Kane (Ishaghour)
- Penser le documentaire
- Film school for dummies
- Reality and representation (Bordwell)