December 6th, 2010

Information on accessing films from our last class

Many of the films we screened last week are hard to find, but I’ve been able to get them all on reserve. Here are titles and links to the discs that contain these works if you would like to study/write about them, or if you missed class:

Sembene, Black Girl– on reserve in library; Netflix

Alea, Memories of Underdevelopment– on reserve in library; Netflix

Bute, Rhythm in Light— On reserve (PN1995.9 .E96 U57 2005 v.3); Netflix (in collection Unseen Cinema, Disc 3, “Light Rhythms: Music and Abstraction”)

Deren, Meshes of the Afternoon— on disc Maya Deren: Experimental Films on reserve (PN1995.9 .E96 M39 2002) on on Netflix

Cornell, Thimble Theater– On reserve (PN1995.9 .E96 U57 2005 v.2); Netflix (in collection Unseen Cinema, Disc 2, “Devil’s Plaything”)

Shimane, Odds and Ends— in collection Treasures IV: American avant garde film, 1947-1986, on reserve (PN1995.9 .E96 T74 2009– check out both discs) or Netflix (both discs)

Menken, Go Go Go— in collection Treasures IV: American avant garde film, 1947-1986, on reserve (PN1995.9 .E96 T74 2009– check out both discs) or Netflix (both discs)

Brakhage, Mothlight— By Brakhage: An Anthology, Vol. 1, Disc 2 on reserve (PN1998.3 .B74 B93 2003) or on Netflix

Anger, Kustom Kar Kommandos— The Films of Kenneth Anger V. 2 on reserve (PN1995.9 .E96 F552 2007) or on Netflix

December 6th, 2010

Deadlines for all projects swiftly approaching….

This is a friendly reminder that the deadline for extra credit assignments, as stated in the syllabus is 12/8, our last class (just two days away).

Please bring your essays and ticket stubs for any screenings you attended to hand in before or during our class meeting.

I will offer a generous two day extension for any extra credit clip blog postings. These need to be up by 9am Friday 12/10.

Film Analysis projects need to be posted by 9am Friday 12/10.

And please remember that all blog posts and comments need to be up by 9am Monday 12/13. No posts or comments will be counted after this date/time.

December 1st, 2010

Sound Editing Workshop–The Soundscape of Shutter Island

This is a great opportunity for those of you interested in film sound and sound production:


The Soundscape of SHUTTER ISLAND.

For the first time, MPSE brings its wildly entertaining and enlightening seminars on film sound editing to New York City!!  Join us as we explore the stunning sound design of Paramount Pictures’ blockbuster Shutter Island, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

Produced by the Motion Picture Sound Editors organization and Manhattan Edit Workshop, the Sound Show takes you behind the scenes of a major motion picture to understand the sophisticated sound work crafted by the movie’s team of audio artisans.

Guiding us through their process will be award-winning supervising sound editor Phil Stockton (Salt, The Departed), Eugene Gearty (Inside Man, Brokeback Mountain); and award-winning re-recording mixer Tom Fleischman (Angels & Demons, Marley & Me).
Excerpts from the movie will be presented with special “pre-dub” mixes to illustrate the variety of elements used to create this thrilling and moody sonic environment.

One night only: Thursday, December 9, 2010, 7-9pm, at the School of Visual Arts’ Silas Theatre, 333 West 23rd Street, New York, NY, 10011.

General admission is $30. Members of the MPSE, Seniors, and students with valid ID are $20.

November 24th, 2010

Student Evaluations, and some other updates

Please take a moment to log on to the QC Student Evaluation site to offer your candid feedback about the class. On a personal level, I’d be grateful for your advice about what works, and what might need improvement in the course, particularly because I’ve been experimenting with some new requirements and new material this semester.  And from a broader perspective, your input is critical for the Media Studies Department and the administration in terms of evaluating our curriculum, and our faculty. Please provide feedback on all your courses– it is completely anonymous, and should only take a few minutes. The site can be accessed here:

In other news, please see the “Screenings” link above for updates suggestions for extra credit screenings. And let’s add more projects to our “Clips” page– as you write extra credit analyses, send them my way and I’ll create links. Please read and comment on those already posted, too.

November 22nd, 2010

Pather Panchali

Just wanted to remind those of you who were in class last week of the title of the film we watched, and to let those who were not there know that we had a substitute screening.

The film we viewed was Pather Panchali (1955), by Satyajit Ray, the first in his famous “Apu Trilogy.”

FYI, this film is not available on Netflix, but I have ordered a copy for the library, which I will place on reserve as soon as it arrives.

November 15th, 2010

Final Exam

Our final exam date has been set:

Wed. 12/15, 1:45-3:45 in Kiely 264

Please mark your calendars!!

November 2nd, 2010

Class is meeting tomorrow (11/3)

Just to clarify any confusion regarding the schedule of classes: we ARE meeting tomorrow at 1:40. Although Wednesday morning classes are canceled, all classes that end after 4pm are in session. I know this is confusing, but it has to do with CUNY juggling conflicts with various religious holidays, while still holding the required number of meetings for each course.

See you tomorrow,
Prof. Herzog

November 1st, 2010

Klinger Reading

Just a note to let you know that I’ve decided to cut the Klinger reading for this week– I thought everyone needed a break after the midterm. Thanks to all of you who checked in about this, and see you in class on Wednesday.

Prof. Herzog

October 18th, 2010

The Cinematic Artistry of Roman Polanski

Monday, October 25th, 2010 at 6:30pm

Room 150, Kiely Hall

Queens College, CUNY

Join us for a discussion of the work of Roman Polanski, director of numerous films including Knife in the Water (1962), Repulsion (1965), Rosemary’s Baby (1968), Chinatown (1974), Frantic (1988), and The Pianist (2002).

Panelists include Dr. Stuart Liebman (Professor of Film and Media Studies, Queens College and the Graduate Center, CUNY), Joe Neumaier (New York Daily News), Matt Zoller Seitz (filmmaker and Salon film critic), and Dr. Sheila Skaff (author of The Law of the Looking Glass: Cinema in Poland, 1896-1939).

Sponsored by the Media Studies Department of Queens College, the Queens Jewish Historical Society, and the Polish-Jewish Dialogue Committee

Admission is free, and all are welcome to attend

Photo: James Jackson/Evening Standard/Getty Images

October 17th, 2010

Example of a shot-by-shot description

For your film analysis project, I suggested preparing a shot-by-shot description of the scene you are going to analyze. While this is not something that you will hand in, these notes will help you to write an essay that is richly detailed, and focused on the filmic elements at work in the scene (cinematography, sound, framing, etc.) rather than just the plot.

In creating a description like this, I’d suggest breaking down each shot according to its various components, and then add some preliminary notes about what purpose you think these elements might serve. You can do this in any way that you find useful for yourself, but it might help to break this down into columns, or a table, to help you distinguish between shots, and between those things that you observe (e.g. close-up versus long shot, high key versus low key lighting, high angle versus low angle, the way that actors move through the frame) and the meanings that those elements might suggest (e.g. the male protagonist is show in ways that suggest he is powerful).

Here is an example from a class at Yale, analyzing a scene from Luchino Visconti’s Rocco and his Brothers (1960). The scene is only 5 shots long, but the analysis contains many, many notes about the editing, cinematography, sound, mise-en-scene, and camera movements. A second column keeps track of notes that will help to create a detailed analysis of what all these elements might add up to, in terms of the larger meaning of the film: Note: the description contains abbreviations for various kinds of shots: CU=close-up, MLS=medium long shot, LS=long shot, ML=medium shot, ESL=extreme long shot.

Bear in mind that you don’t need to create something this detailed for our assignment– these will just be your notes to prepare for writing your essay. But these are the kinds of things you should be paying attention to, and writing about, as you analyze your own scene.

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