AC231 Romance and Tragedy

AC231 Romance and Tragedy - Romance and Tragedy in the...

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Romance and Tragedy in the Golden Age of Film and Anthropology AC 231 Fall 2005 Sept 27
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Overview The film Moana is not just another film of rampant exoticism and eroticism. Their display in cinematic form also provides insight into sub-genres (the “racial film”; the “black and white silent”) that reveal dominant and problematic assertions about the cultures of their subjects. Because these assertions are about other cultures, these kinds of films were also closely linked to ethnography – anthropological interests in cultural difference. Thus, films like Moana, through the formal elements that stage the erotic in the exotic, also tell us about dominant ideas about how culture is conceptualized and about issues of power as a result of how culture is conceptualized. Much as how feature entertainment films (like the Mutiny on the Bounty trilogy) are also classified as “historical films” that provide powerful ways of shaping historical consciousness, films like Moana (and others in its class) also provide powerful ways of shaping how we understand other cultures. Like the “historical film”, “racial”/ethnographic films – no less steeped and shaped by the tag team called exotica/erotica -- also has much to say about their producers and viewers.
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Outline I. Golden/Classical Age of the Exotic and the Erotic: Forms and Themes A. “Racial Film” B. “Black and White silent” (intertitles juxtaposed with sounds) C. “Ethnographic film” 1.cultural relativism 2. salvage ethnography 3. tragedy and romance
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AC231 Romance and Tragedy - Romance and Tragedy in the...

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