Spring 2008 Anthropology and the Cinema Course by Dr. Louise Krasniewicz
In this course, students were required to analyze and compare two films using one of many theoretical concepts discussed in class (including theories of symbolism, metaphor, ritual, narrative, and culture). Instead of a traditional academic paper, students were required to present the material in a visual format. The concept behind the assignment was to help students understand the organization of ideas and images required to present information visually. This would not only encourage them to consider the films they were analyzing more carefully, but would help them experience the issues involved in translating ideas into images. Since more and more daily communication takes this form, this effort to advance the students' visual literacy has both academic and practical implications.
Options for the projects included creating film posters, video mashups that combined two films into one, board games, paintings, and websites. Most of the students had little production experience. Twenty six students created video mashups; five are showcased below. Most of the video projects took the form of faux film trailers, advertising for movies that don't exist but that were a combination of the two project movies. They combined elements from each movie including music, dialog, visuals, and characters. The results were a fascinating example of the connections between movies that seem to have nothing in common, and the power of editing and iconic film moments in the creation of a story.