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SSO School Fall Semester: Here's Looking at You, Kid

Discussion of the actors, directors and film-makers who 'made it all happen'

Moderators: Sue Sue Applegate, movieman1957, moira finnie, Lzcutter

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inglis
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Postby inglis » August 6th, 2008, 8:08 pm

MichiganJ wrote:I would suggest considering Brian DePalma’s Body Double as a film that would fit in nicely with the proposed themes of the class.
Pedro Almodóvar’s Kika might also fit the bill.

Already a lot of thought-provoking films on the list, but as an adjunct to the “watching” voyeur, there are also a lot of intriguing films featuring “listening” voyeurs.
Just off the top of my head:
Blow Out (DePalma, again...sorry)
Red (Kieslowski)
The Lives of Others (Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck)
I loved that movie Body Double .Its been years since I saw it .Would be interested to see that again

jdb1

Postby jdb1 » August 7th, 2008, 8:46 am

I suggest ChiO, that you behave like any other university professor: cut and paste the works of others, and pass it off as your own.

We won't tell. :wink:

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ChiO
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Postby ChiO » August 7th, 2008, 9:54 am

jdb1: Trust me, I shall. I'll also try to monopolize the discussion (scratch that; what "discussion"?) and suck the life out of an otherwise interesting discussion (there's that word again!). I didn't get all that schoolin' for nothin'.

Excuse me. I now have to think of ways to use "subvert" and "transgressive" in my next post.
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles

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mrsl
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Postby mrsl » August 7th, 2008, 10:14 am

Someone please explain to me what all these non-posts from Bryce are that say, 'edit', or 'nevermind' or some other one word post. Are they things he has deleted and just left the one word or what? When I decide not to print what I've said, I just hit SSO Forum Index, above the dark blue line that reads (in orange) Post a reply, and go back to the SSO home page. If you don't hit Submit, whatever you typed is wiped away, but please start proof reading before you submit.

Anne
Anne


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moira finnie
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Postby moira finnie » August 7th, 2008, 3:24 pm

Someone please explain to me what all these non-posts from Bryce are that say, 'edit', or 'nevermind' or some other one word post. Are they things he has deleted and just left the one word or what? When I decide not to print what I've said, I just hit SSO Forum Index, above the dark blue line that reads (in orange) Post a reply, and go back to the SSO home page. If you don't hit Submit, whatever you typed is wiped away, but please start proof reading before you submit.

Anne



Anne,
Anyone who wishes to eliminate a response can't do so once a post has been responded to previously. Therefore, deleting one's words and replacing them with the word, "edit" is one way to get rid of your previous post. As to proof reading before submission, pausing and taking a breath and a moment to think before posting is something we all need to do from time to time.
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charliechaplinfan
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Postby charliechaplinfan » August 7th, 2008, 3:30 pm

I've been really busy this week and haven't participated as fully as usual. I've come to this thread and because of all the editing I'm confused. However I like the idea of another class. I will be joining in when I return from holiday in a couple of weeks :wink:
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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ChiO
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Postby ChiO » August 8th, 2008, 12:21 pm

The pre-class discussion has been illuminating and very gratifying. Thanks to everyone participating.

As you continue to think about the on-topic films you’ve seen, maybe watch again, and check out some you haven’t seen, here are a few questions to ponder:

What are the characteristics of the voyeur(s) in the movie? What are the characteristics of the person being viewed? Their genders? Their professions? Their societal status?

What are the circumstances of the voyeurism? Premeditated? Accidental? Do the circumstances change?

Is there any significance in how the voyeur effectuates the viewing?

What is the reaction (if any) to the voyeurism by the person(s) being viewed? By others who become aware of the voyeurism?

Where does the film place the film viewer relative to the voyeur(s) and the person(s) being viewed?

Remember: We start in earnest on September 2.

P.S. MichiganJ was somewhat apologetic for mentioning more than one DePalma movie. Well, I watched SISTERS (1973) for the first time yesterday and it fits right into this topic from the opening sequence to the final shot. REAR WINDOW + PSYCHO + ROPE + Bernard Herrmann score + PEEPING TOM + SHOCK CORRIDOR: it should have been a mess, but it wasn't.
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles

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ChiO
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Postby ChiO » August 8th, 2008, 6:08 pm

Watched another movie that's on point today: DEATH WATCH (Bertrand Tavernier, 1980) (VHS & Region 2 DVD). I thought that NETWORK and THE TRUMAN SHOW were two sides of the same coin. This shows that there are at least three sides to the coin. A television station has a TV camera implanted into the eyes of an employee (Harvey Keitel) for broadcasting the imminent death of a young woman (Romy Schneider) with an incurable disease. Also with (a favorite of mine) Harry Dean Stanton and Max von Sydow.

Special thrill in the end credits -- Tavernier has a dedication: Jacques Tourneur.
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles

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ChiO
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Postby ChiO » August 19th, 2008, 4:07 pm

Dear Friends,

For your convenience, I’ve tried to gather all of the movies suggested by various interested parties in one spot in order to ease your burden of finding what to watch over the next two weeks. Quite a line-up – I wish I could say I’ve seen them all (I could, but it would be wrong). If I inadvertently missed any suggestions, I apologize.

Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954)
Peeping Tom (Michael Powell, 1960)
X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes (Roger Corman, 1963)
Blow-Up (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1966)
The Conversation (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)
Network (Sidney Lumet, 1976)
The King of Comedy (Martin Scorsese, 1982)
Videodrome (David Cronenberg, 1983)
The Truman Show (Peter Weir, 1998)
The Hole (Tsai Ming-liang, 1998)
Being John Malkovich (Spike Jonze, 1999)
Phone Booth (Joel Schumacher, 2002)
Cache (Michael Haneke, 2005)
The Decalogue (Krzysztof Kieślowski, 1988)
Contempt (Jean-Luc Godard, 1963)
Pushover (Richard Quine, 1954)
Bird With the Crystal Plumage (Dario Argento, 1971)
Deep Red (Dario Argento, 1976)
Man Bites Dog (Poelvoorde/Belvaux/Bonzel, 1992)
Place de la République (Louis Malle, 1974)
Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976)
Claire's Knee (Eric Rohmer, 1970)
8 1/2 (Federico Fellini, 1963)
Persona (Ingmar Bergman, 1966)
Body Double (Brian DePalma, 1984)
Kika (Pedro Almodóvar, 1994)
Blow Out (Brian DePalma, 1981)
Red (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1993)
The Lives of Others (Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 2006)
City Lights (Charles Chaplin, 1931)
The Curse of the Cat People (Robert Wise, 1944)
The Window (Ted Tetzloff, 1949)
Shadow on the Wall (Pat Jackson, 1950)
Talk About a Stranger (David Bradley, 1952)
23 Paces to Baker Street (Henry Hathaway, 1956)
To Kill a Mockingbird (Robert Mulligan, 1962)
Reflections in a Golden Eye (John Huston, 1967)
Wings of Desire (Wim Wenders, 1988)
Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
Blue Velvet (David Lynch, 1986)
The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse (Fritz Lang, 1960)
Extreme Close-Up (Jeanott Szwarc, 1973)
Monsieur Hire (Patrice Leconte, 1989)
Death Watch (Bernard Tavernier, 1980)
Sisters (Brian DePalma, 1973)
Witness to Murder (Roy Rowland, 1954)
I Saw What You Did (William Castle, 1965)
Playtime (Jacques Tati, 1967)

Looking forward to the discussion starting September 2.
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles

klondike

Postby klondike » August 19th, 2008, 4:40 pm

ChiO, with your kind permission, I will add some modern titles to your list (which I wouldn't haved dared do, but you did first!):

Sliver (1993)
Mulholland Falls (1996)
Demon Seed (1977)
From Russia With Love (1963)
Dark City (1998)
The Go Between (1970)

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ChiO
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Postby ChiO » September 2nd, 2008, 4:23 am

Will the class please come to order.

Welcome to Here’s Looking At You, Kid: Voyeurism – Implicating and Transforming the Audience. I am your faithful guide, ChiO.

Class Rules & Guidelines:

1. Feel free to arrive and walk in and out at anytime.
2. Food and beverages must be shared (I like martinis up with an olive & salty snacks).
3. Office hours are open – except during Cubs games.
4. Writing anything negative about CITIZEN KANE, a cheaply made film noir, Samuel Fuller, John Cassavetes, Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Ryan, John Alton or – and this is extremely important – Timothy Carey is grounds for disciplinary action.
5. Please try to stay on topic (though tangents that are on topic are encouraged).
6. If films are cited as examples, please do not feel restricted to those examples in your post.
7. PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL OF EACH OTHER. Dissection is always better with a scalpel than an ax.

Here are the kick-off questions:

Voyeurism generally involves use of the voyeur’s eyes, but in several films the voyeur uses additional artificial means of looking. Does use of a camera add any meaning and does the meaning vary among the films in which it is a factor? Is there any significance to the type of camera used (for example, a photograph camera vs. a television or movie camera)? Does any meaning change by use of binoculars or telescope? How does such meaning(s) differ, if at all, from that of a mirror, which is a common trope in many movies?
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles

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Dewey1960
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Postby Dewey1960 » September 2nd, 2008, 11:06 am

Teach asked: Does use of a camera add any meaning and does the meaning vary among the films in which it is a factor? Is there any significance to the type of camera used (for example, a photograph camera vs. a television or movie camera)? Does any meaning change by use of binoculars or telescope? How does such meaning(s) differ, if at all, from that of a mirror, which is a common trope in many movies?

The physical use of a camera as a prop which enables the character / viewer to enhance a sense of voyeurism definitely adds meaning to a film whose underlying theme is voyeurism itself. Certain directors who have used this theme (Hitchcock, Powell, DePalma, Cronenberg) have done so in a purposeful way to trap the audience, thereby making them accessories during and after the fact. Does the type of camera matter? I doubt it. Does the meaning change by the use of binoculars or telescope? Yes, definitely. In REAR WINDOW, Jefferies (James Stewart) utilizes both instruments, further implicating himself by his desire to view "deeper" into the lives of others. In the similarly themed WITNESS TO MURDER, Cheryl Draper (Barbara Stanwyck) initially makes her fateful observation with her naked eyes, purely as an accident of nature. But Fate being what it is, she is later driven to magnifying tools of inspection making her an unwitting slave to her obsession. And then we have PEEPING TOM whereby the camera itself becomes an implement of destruction. But that could easily be a topic unto itself.

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inglis
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Alfred Hitchcock

Postby inglis » September 2nd, 2008, 12:01 pm

I don't know if I am on the right trail here but I was thinking about the movie Psycho and the camera work involved in making the scene where Janet Leigh is in the shower.I find that to be really scary and you know Norma Bates was checking her out before that scene came into play and how that ties together with this subject. Excuse me if I am not making a statement here conected to this topic but I am finding my way .

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bryce
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Postby bryce » September 2nd, 2008, 12:11 pm

While the many excellent thoughts by my fellow student Dewey mirror my own, I have to bring in to question the fact that simply by participating in their hobby or profession, is a photographer not all ready a voyeur of sorts? In many instances we aren't to know their preferred subject - whether human, animals, nature, objects or any combination thereof (such as in Rear Window) - only that through their photography they are passive observers to a busy world. I feel it is a natural step when a person all ready pre-disposed to voyeurism is unwittingly drawn deeper into their obsession until the point at which they purposely engage it. I speak generally here, of course, but I believe that the other side of the coin proves my point: television viewers (such as those in Network) are voyeurs in their own right, peering harmlessly into mostly fictional worlds as passive observers, as well. The camera offers false intimacy while guaranteeing a semi-secure sense of detachment. It is the perfect way in which to feed their obsessions, and in many cases, it is most often only when the voyeur deviates from their established pattern or their obsession furthers to the point where they disregard detachment for much-coveted intimacy that they find themselves or their subjects in hot water. This alters not the meanings Dewey has found; instead, I believe it bolsters them.

jdb1

Postby jdb1 » September 2nd, 2008, 4:45 pm

In considering some of the films you've listed, Professor, I've been thinking that the use of binoculars can give quite a different slant to the observing character than his or her use of a camera. On a very basic level, the camera is somehow less intrusive, because it is expected that the photographer will be looking at you -- I think I'm expressing this badly. I mean to say that if an audience sees someone wielding a camera, it seems, at least at first, somehow less objectionable. That's what cameras are for after all. But doing the same thing with a pair of binoculars, or through a spyhole -- that puts the act of looking into a different category, even if the observer is regarding the exact same thing he looked at through the lens of his camera.

I agree with Bryce's conclusion that a photographer is a kind of voyeur, but he is generally the kind that we don't object to, unless he takes his voyeurism to what we consider an unacceptable level.

For me, at least, when I first see Jeff Jeffries in Rear Window pointing a camera out his window into the backyard, I'm not shocked. He's taking a picture; and he's a photographer, so what. But when he looks into the near distance with a pair of bincoluars, then he starts to become less a photojournalist, and more a voyeur. In this particular film we have an ends vs. means situation. Clearly, this character is not evil, but he is crossing a societal line.


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