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Anatomy of Cinema: How Movies Move Us

Full Seminar Pass: $85/$70 (Belcourt member) | This seminar is now SOLD OUT

Please note that capacity is limited, and previous Anatomy of Cinema seminars have sold out quickly.

When we watch a film, the experience washes over us. We pay attention to the story and recognize its effect, but we may not notice the techniques that move us—the underlying anatomy that makes up every film. In a series of four two-hour sessions, Vanderbilt faculty members in cinema and media arts lead interactive discussions on film technique and the aesthetic experience of the moving image.

Seminar sessions will progress and build on each other.  We’ll watch clips and discuss techniques within the context of film history, genre, and the key movements that revolutionized how a film could be made and watched.

Each session is on a Tuesday, 6-8pm, in the Belcourt’s second floor Jackson Education and Engagement Space.

Session 1: Mise-en-scène | Literally translated as “placement in the scene,” mise-en-scène is an umbrella term for location, set design, lighting, and the arrangement of people and things to be filmed. What difference does it make to shoot in a dark studio—the model of classical Hollywood cinema—versus the location shooting of Italian neo-realism or the Berlin School? What are the aesthetic and ethical dimensions of controlling mise-en-scène as opposed to allowing contingency to determine the content of the shot? Led by Se Young Kim

About the presenter: Se Young Kim is a Mellon Assistant Professor of Cinema and Media Arts at Vanderbilt University. His areas of teaching and research specialization include contemporary East Asian and U.S. cinema, digital media in Korea and Japan, political economy, as well as classical and contemporary film theory. He is currently working on a book that investigates the violent contemporary cinema of South Korea and Japan.

Session 2: Acting in Cinema | What difference does it make that film actors play to a camera instead of a live audience, or that what we perceive as a single performance is typically many performances edited together? How do human actors compete with animals, things, and cinema’s wider environments in film as opposed to theater? This seminar takes stock of the film actor as a force of narrative, a master of technique, and as an entity uniquely produced by film style. Led by Claire Sisco King

About the presenter: Claire Sisco King is associate professor of communication studies and cinema and media arts at Vanderbilt University and chair of the communication studies department. She also teaches in Vanderbilt’s comparative media analysis and practice program. Her areas of teaching and research specialization include visual studies, popular film and media cultures, and gender and sexuality. She’s the author of Washed in Blood: Male Sacrifice, Trauma, and the Cinema. She is currently finishing a new book on celebrity culture and ephemeral media.

Session 3: Cinematography | Sometimes described as writing with light and movement, cinematography entails the choice of film stock, lenses, framing, shot duration, and camera movement, all of which determine how we see the things, people and environments placed before the camera. Led by Lutz Koepnick​

About the presenter: Lutz Koepnick is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of German, Cinema and Media Arts at Vanderbilt University, where he also chairs the department of German, Russian and East European studies and serves as the directors of the joint-Ph.D. program in comparative media analysis and practice. He has published widely on film, media theory, visual culture, and new media aesthetic. His most recent books, The Long Take: Art Cinema and the Wondrous and Michael Bay: World Cinema in the Age of Populism, will both appear later this year.

Session 4: Editing | Editing is the joining of shots, ranging from the “invisible style” of Hollywood cinema to the more experimental techniques of Soviet Montage and the French New Wave. Because editing enables filmmakers to create completely imaginary geographies and temporalities, it is often considered to be the most cinematic of all techniques. Through it, cinema creates its own world. We consider this manipulation and creation. Led by Jennifer Fay​

About the presenter: Jennifer Fay is associate professor of cinema and media arts and English at Vanderbilt University and director of the cinema and media arts program. She specializes in American and continental film theory and history, ecological criticism, and the political economy of cinema.  She is author of Theaters of Occupation: Hollywood and the Reeducation of Postwar Germany (Minnesota, 2008) and Inhospitable World: Cinema in the Time of the Anthropocene (forthcoming from Oxford University Press), as well as the co-author of Film Noir: Hard-Boiled Modernity and the Cultures of Globalization (Routledge, 2010).

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