Quiz 4 on Friday, 11.27.20

A gentle reminder that Quiz 4, on our Trojan Saga unit, is due via email on Friday, November 27, at noon (EST).

Originally, it was due on the previous Sunday, but it’s too stressful to have something due on move-out weekend. Hopefully, the day after Thanksgiving will prove more conducive to your thinking; or to turn it in earlier, if you can.

Please visit our Quizzes page for complete guidelines, and remember to follow the formatting requirements.

DC

Assignment for Thursday, 11.19.20

Dear Cinemythologists,

On Thursday, November 19, our unit on the Trojan War concludes. Please do the following.

VIEWING

Streaming on Swank Digital Campus. Take notes as you see fit.

The Coens have notoriously claimed that they did NOT consult Homer closely when making this film. We can argue about whether or not we believe this claim. Regardless, O Brother offers a somewhat different approach to adapting classical myth: a subterranean approach, some would call it, in which the story world is set outside antiquity.

!! CONTENT ADVISORY !! The film features a blackface “gag” as the protagonists interrupt a KKK rally; this, in turn, throws the film’s racial politics into sharp relief. One issue we’ll need to discuss is the place of so-called Classical Heritage outside of white, patriarchal systems.


READING

  • Siegel, Janice. 2007. “The Coens’ O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Homer’s Odyssey.” Mousein 7: 213–45.

This exhaustive discussion of the film’s resonances with Homer’s epic ought to get us started, and then some. (Fun fact: Dr. Siegel is my co-author on that long-delayed myth on screen textbook I’m writing.)

In this interactive essay (perhaps best viewed on a laptop), Harris provides a taxonomy on blackface in contemporary screen media. Today’s film receives discussion, and that discussion might help us come to terms with the “accidental” blackface scene (Harris’ term) in O Brother.


SEQUENCES

  • Huntley, Pettit, Whatley.

Use the comments feature on this post to recommend a sequence to be reviewed and discussed in class.

Recommendations should contain the following:

  • A brief description of the sequence.
  • Precise starting and ending times (hh:mm:ss — hh:mm:ss).
  • A rationale as to why this sequence is worth our time.

DC

Assignment for Tuesday, 11.17.20

Dear Cinemythologists,

On Tuesday, October 27, our unit on the Trojan War continues. Since we’ll be transitioning to the period after the war, the assignment will be all reading, no viewing.

READING

  • Homer, Odyssey 1, 9, 11, 22, and 23

In a perfect world, we would have time to read all of the Odyssey, which is about the fraught return of Odysseus from Troy to his homeland of Ithaca. Like, the Iliad, the Odyssey spans a brief period of time, about a month or so in “real time,” with much of Odysseus’ ten-year journey told in flashback.


In class we’ll look at screen texts based on Homer’s “other” epic.

DC

Assignment for Thursday, 11.12.20

Dear Cinemythologists,

On Thursday, November 12, our unit on the Trojan War continues. Please do the following.

VIEWING

Streaming on Swank Digital Campus. Take notes as you see fit. This film is a close adaptation of a tragedy by Euripides — so much so that he should have been credited for the screenplay. In class, we’ll review selections from the play, but I won’t ask you to read it in advance.


ANALYSIS

Bernstein and Padala will conclude our Analysis series. Their sequence selection is in the comments.


READING

  • McDonald, Marianne. 2001. “Eye of the Camera, Eye of the Victim: Iphigenia by Euripides and Cacoyannis.” In Winkler, Martin M. Classical Myth & Culture in the Cinema, 72–101. Oxford University Press.

McDonald discusses the use of the camera as a means of enacting Iphigenia’s victimhood.


SEQUENCES

  • Graubart, Savage.

Use the comments feature on this post to recommend a sequence to be reviewed and discussed in class.

Recommendations should contain the following:

  • A brief description of the sequence.
  • Precise starting and ending times (hh:mm:ss — hh:mm:ss).
  • A rationale as to why this sequence is worth our time.

DC

Assignment for Tuesday, 11.10.20

Dear Cinemythologists,

On Tuesday, November 10, we continue our unit on the Trojan War, and with an emphasis on the so-called small screen. Please do the following.

VIEWING

  • Troy: Fall of a City (BBC-Netflix, 2018): Episode 1, “Black Blood” & Episode 4, “Spoils of War.”

Streaming on Netflix. Take notes as you see fit, perhaps on what becomes possible when the Trojan Saga is turned into serial television, versus a movie. We can’t watch it all, so here we’ll focus on events precipitating the Trojan War and on events on the periphery of the Iliad.

!!CONTENT ADVISORY!! Depictions of sexuality (throughout) and rape (in Ep. 4).


READING

We’ve alluded to the Epic Cycle, a massive collocation of epic hexameter poetry. whose origins lie in the Bronze Age, and which were given textual shape in the 8th century and onwards. Here’s an article (via Oxford Reference) that describes all of the poems in the Cycle. Of these, the Cypria has the most bearing on Episode 1 of TFOAC.


TFOAC‘s casting of Black actors to play Zeus and Achilles (Hakeem Kae-Kazim and David Gyasi, respectively) raised some hackles. This piece describes the controversy and offers commentary by prominent classicists, who break down the historical whitewashing of the Classics.


SEQUENCES

  • Jefferson, Knepper.

Use the comments feature on this post to recommend a sequence to be reviewed and discussed in class.

Recommendations should contain the following:

  • A brief description of the sequence.
  • Precise starting and ending times (hh:mm:ss — hh:mm:ss).
  • A rationale as to why this sequence is worth our time.

DC

Assignment for Thursday, 11.05.20

Dear Cinemythologists,

On Thursday, November 5, we resume our unit on the Trojan War. Please do the following.

VIEWING

  • Troy (Wolfgang Petersen, 2004)

Streaming on Swank Digital Campus. Take notes as you see fit. Coming nearly 50 years after Helen of Troy, today’s viewing ought to give us a long view on Hollywood screen epics of the 21st century.


ANALYSIS

Davis and Knepper will continue our Analysis series. Their sequence selection is in the comments.


READING

  • Blondell, Ruby. 2013. “‘Third Cheerleader from the Left’: From Homer’s Helen to Helen of Troy.” In Nikoloutsos, Konstantinos P. Ancient Greek Women in Film, 51–74. Oxford University Press.

Blondell explores the tensions between Diane Kruger’s Helen, Rose Byrne’s Briseis, and Brad Pitt’s Achilles — all with an eye toward ancient sources.


SEQUENCES

  • Cullors, Rosenblum.

Use the comments feature on this post to recommend a sequence to be reviewed and discussed in class.

Recommendations should contain the following:

  • A brief description of the sequence.
  • Precise starting and ending times (hh:mm:ss — hh:mm:ss).
  • A rationale as to why this sequence is worth our time.

DC