Your Role as a Film Discussant in Anth 344

In this course, we take a multimedia or multimodal approach to the anthropology of sex, gender and sexuality, treating images, audio and video as seriously as we do written texts. We screen a total of eleven films this semester, all of which are keyed to complement and illustrate aspects of the SGS issues our assigned readings raise for the week. Everyone should make time to screen all the films, in time to think about and discuss them in relation to the week's readings.

In order to ensure that our films are fully integrated into our in-class and Moodle forum discussions, you will sign up to act as Film Discussant for four of the eleven films. At least one of those weeks should overlap with the week you sign up to be Discussion Facilitator. There will be multiple Film Discussants for the same film weekly, so we should get some good comments from different voices.

As Film Discussant, it's your job to:

  • View the week's film by Monday evening, so that you can comment on it both Tuesday and Thursday. Jot down some notes about your responses/impressions/critiques of the film, and any specific scenes that struck you (note time stamp if possible--we can view a clip together in class, or you can post a link to a screen capture or screen shot of the scene in Moodle).
  • Add at least one comment on the film as an answer to at least one of the Discussion Facilitator's discussion questions in the week's Moodle discussion forum for both Tuesday and Thursday (can include a link to a screen capture or screen shot of the scene).
  • Bring up the week's film in class at least once that week, either to begin a conversation, or to respond to question or comment from your peers. The goal is to link the film to issues or theories raised in the assigned readings.

A note on commenting on films in Moodle forums or in class:

This is not a "film review," (eg., just what you liked or not about the film), but the idea is to critically comment on course films with reference to ideas and debates from the relevant week's readings. In this, pay attention NOT just to the "content" of the film (what it seems to be about, the story it tells), but think multi-modally: HOW is it filmed and framed for you by the director? and WHY? with what goals or effects? Editing is where the art and politics of films happen. Consider in this:

  • Scene composition
  • camera angle: whose 'eyes' does the camera represent? how does the film address its viewers?
  • music soundtrack
  • the sound environments created
  • use of slow motion or other filmic techniques
  • the juxtposition or 'cuts' between scenes
  • how voices are handled aurally,
  • who/what figures or subjects are centered or marginalized.

Comments can be in many forms, for example:

  • Follow up with a peer's comment by bringing in a relevant moment from the film that illustrates the dynamic they're discussing.
  • Start a conversation by describing a particular scene that struck you in relation to the readings (this week or previous weeks).
  • Respond to comments about authors' goals and voices with a thought about the film director's goals and voices.
  • Compare and contrast narrative techniques in the readings to filmic techniques used in the film.