• July 15-19 from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm

    The Global Teenager: A Film Seminar for High School Students

    July 15-19 from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm

    This summer, as part of its Education and Engagement Program, the Belcourt Theatre presents The Global Teenager: A Film Seminar for High School Students for rising 10th, 11th and 12th graders. On July 15-19, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., students have the opportunity to join four leading film professors from Vanderbilt, Watkins, and Sewanee: The University of the South to watch and discuss films about teenagers from around the world. Four of the sessions include screening films, and the fifth session focuses on the art of screenwriting.

    The Global Teenager explores representations of teenage life, especially as the transition into adulthood coincides with an entry into political, historical and social independence. What new freedoms and responsibilities come with early adulthood? How do individuals from other countries negotiate these pressures? Can we speak of something like a global teenage experience, despite all of the varieties of teenage life? The series introduces participants to distinct directorial styles through films that feature teenagers. Why make a film about young adults? What are the strategies for capturing the ways teenagers talk and interact? How might a film about teenage life put pressure on censorship? And what is the difference between making a film about teenagers and making a film for teenagers? The seminar will devote four sessions to watching and discussing films and will conclude with a screenwriting workshop. We’ll discuss how watching a film can prepare a writer to write a screenplay, the difference between lived and scripted teenage life, and how, and should, we translate our lives into a cinematic story for other people.

    This series features high-quality films that explore real issues facing real teenagers. Because of that, some films contain adult situations, profanity, drug/alcohol use, brief nudity, sexual situations, and violence.


    Tickets for the week are $75 ($50 for Belcourt members). The seminar is priced as a package only; there are no tickets available for individual sessions. Boxed lunches will be served.

    Sessions will be taught by:

    Jennifer Fay (Ph.D., Film Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 2001), Director of the Film Studies Program at Vanderbilt University. Jennifer Fay (Ph.D., Film Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison) is Associate Professor of Film Studies and English at Vanderbilt University where she also directs the Film Studies Program. Her areas of research and teaching are broadly concerned with the intersection of political culture and cinema. She is the author of Theaters of Occupation: Hollywood and the Reeducation of Postwar Germany (University of Minnesota, 2008) and co-author of Film Noir: Hard-Boiled Modernity and the Cultures of Globalization (Routledge, 2009). Her essays have appeared in such journals as: Film History, Cinema Journal, Cultural Critique, Modernism/Modernity and Discourse. Currently she is writing a book provisionally entitled Cinema and the Inhospitable World on film theory, environmental studies, and the cinema of ecological displacement.

    Chuck Stephens (B.F.A., Visual Arts: Filmmaking, 1984, University of Maryland; M.A., Cinema Studies, 1987, New York University), film instructor at Watkins College of Art, Design and Film. A freelance writer, film critic and specialist in Japanese and other Asian cinemas, Chuck is a member of the National Society of Film Critics, and has been teaching film studies since 1988. A contributing editor to Film Comment magazine, former West Coast Editor of Filmmaker magazine, and a former columnist for Kinema Jumpo (Japan’s oldest and leading film periodical), Chuck has written for the Village Voice, San Francisco Bay Guardian, Interview, Cinema Scope, The New York Daily News and publications around the world. He is also a frequent contributor to Criterion.com and has authored numerous essays for laser discs and DVDs in The Criterion Collection.

    Jonathan Waters (B.A., Webster University, M.F.A., Filmmaking, Syracuse University), Senior Lecturer, Film Studies, Vanderbilt University. Jonathan Waters is a multifaceted filmmaker/artist who has created work in a variety of different filmmaking modes, including fiction, non-fiction, and other hybrid forms, as well as using film, video, and still photography as his creative media. He has experience in the technical fields of cinematography, editing, writing, directing, and many more, with much of his personal work exploring questions of identity construction, social awareness, and issues of race, class, and ethnicity.

    Wei Yang (Ph.D., Yale University), assistant professor of Chinese language, literature and cinema, University of the South. Wei Yang is an assistant professor in the Asian Studies and Film Studies programs at Sewanee: The University of the South. She teaches and researches broadly on Chinese and Asian cinemas in a global context, with specific interest in post-colonial theory and film genre. Her articles have been published in journals such as Modern Chinese Literature and Culture and Science Fiction Studies. She is currently completing a book manuscript on film space and subjectivities in contemporary Chinese cinema.


    Film selections include:

    HIGH SCHOOL
    Dir. Frederick Wiseman, USA, 1968, NR, 75min, 16mm

    Known for his documentaries of American institutions, Fred Wiseman trains his unflinching gaze on a Philadelphia public high school in 1968. His hand-held camera wanders the corridors with hall guards, stops in on girls’ gym, lingers in an English class, and explores at every turn the strategies of the administration, teachers, and parents to discipline students and prepare them for circumscribed adult roles. Shot during the Viet Nam war and around the time of Martin Luther King’s assassination, the film subtly demonstrates that the values perpetuated by well-meaning adults are out of touch with the history erupting outside the high school’s hermetic world.

    “The high school is the very heart of America, and Wiseman has captured its strength and rhythm perfectly.” – Edgar Z. Friedenberg, The New York Review of Books

    LOS OLVIDADOS
    Dir. Luis Buñuel, 1950, Mexico, NR, 80min, 35mm

    A group of juvenile delinquents live a violent and crime-filled life in the festering slums of Mexico City, and the morals of young Pedro are gradually corrupted and destroyed by the others. Winner of two Cannes Film Festival awards, Luis Buñuel's 1950 film was the director's first international box-office success, and the beginning of a new chapter in the surrealist filmmaker's career. Filled with startlingly gritty neo-realist images and strange forays into nightmarish dream logic, LOS OLVIDADOS is one of the most unnerving depictions of poverty, cruelty, and teenaged angst ever made.


    BLUE GATE CROSSING
    Dir. Chih-yen Yee, Taiwan, 2002, NR, 85min, 35mm

    When 17-year-old Yueh-chen admits she likes the boy swimming champ Shihao, she talks her best friend Kerou into talking to him for her. But Shihao ends up liking Kerou instead, and the rest of the film develops their sweet friendship and adolescent romance. The only problem is that Kerou thinks she might be in love with her best friend.

    “The meticulous framing and haunting use of repeated motifs bespeak the influence of Taiwanese veterans Hou Hsiao-hsien and Edward Yang… [the film] conjures the dreamy, intensely private nature of teen longing.” —Nathan Lee, Village Voice

    OFFSIDE
    Dir. Jafar Panahi, Iran, 2006, PG, 93min, 35mm

    In 2005 Iran’s national soccer team competed in Tehran to qualify for the World Cup. Under the country’s Islamic Law, women are banned from attending these matches despite being passionate soccer fans. Shot entirely on location and partly during the big match itself, Panahi’s film follows a group of girls who attempt to sneak into the stadium dressed as boys. Caught early in the match by patrolling soldiers, the girls are held captive just yards away from the action. OFFSIDE is not only about the rules of what, according to the girls, is an antiquated social order, or the laws of soccer; it thematizes in its visual style what can and cannot be seen, what is offside, off-screen, and off the table for political discussion.  The film was banned in Iran, where Panahi is currently on house arrest (see THIS IS NOT A FILM).

    “As the political rhetoric between Washington and Tehran becomes dangerously overheated, Offside offers an intimate antidote: an affectionate glimpse into the cultural schisms that young Tehranis face every day.” —David Ansen, Newsweek