Post-Miderm Review


1.  Movie-of-the-week (MOW) docudrama:


     --similarities to/differences from feature film docudrama?

     --“victim” logic?

     --Pirates of Silicon Valley:  strategies?  Arguments?

     --Strange Justice:  arguments?  Timeliness?


2.  Genre theory and docudrama (note reading assignments by Neale and Altman):


     --why/how do the biopic and the social problem film show shortcomings in traditional genre theory?


     --with regard to what Altman calls a “semantic and syntactic” theory of genre:  can genre be more of a matter of expressive process, rather than “fixed” formal characteristics?  Does this blur the distinction between modes and genres?


3.  Rosewood, and issues of race and justice in docudrama:


     --How is Rosewood a blend of the western and docudrama?


     --what is the impact of this mixture on what and how the film argues?


4.  The Insider, and issues of health and the environment in docudrama:


     --what docudramatic “logics” (syntactic patterns of development) might be evident here (including warranting; exemplification; victimization)?


     --why use feature film docudrama as a forum to narrate experiences related to these issues?  How are The Insider (and Erin Brockovich, etc.) similar to and different from 40s social problem films and more contemporary movies of the week that also take up social issues? What is the impact of star casting on the arguments the film makes?


5.  The biopic, film cycles and film genres


     --why has there been a recurring cycle of biopics since the early 1990s?


     --how does Shine exemplify the biopic?  What are the semantic and syntactic elements of this kind of storytelling?


6.  War docudrama


     --war film genre?  Characteristics?  Arguments?

     --melodrama and the war film?

     --war docudrama arguments on:




     --why the turn to MOW war docudrama?  What are the arguments evident here about:


          --group cohesiveness?

          --victimization?  Survival?


     --why are these timely arguments for a contemporary audience?  How are they evident in the examples we’ve examined?