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Storytelling on the Screen: The Elements of Cinematic Style

Session 3 of 4-Session Course

Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Code: 1W0079C

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Makeup is applied to transform actor F. Murray Abraham into Salieri in the 1984 film Amadeus (Photo: ShotOnSet!)

Watching a filmed story is a complex act involving sensations, emotions, and ideas. From its birth, film absorbed photography, painting, theater, drama, fiction, poetry, sculpture, architecture, dance, and music. Add to these a moving camera, instantaneous shifts in space and time, and complex interactions of words, sounds, and images, and film becomes a unique art form.

Jack Jorgens, professor emertius in the department of literature at American University, looks at scenes from some of the best screen works, asking what constitutes style in film and how cinematic expression works. He explores how the images and sounds that wash over viewers are chosen, written, designed, shaped, and performed.

Featured Topic

The Tramp and the Fool: Ideas In Film

Studio head Sam Goldwyn said “If you want to send a message, use Western Union.”  Movies are full of ideas—but audiences want them saturated in feelings and sensations, and prefer visual thinking to sermons. Examine how Chaplin’s Modern Times and Jacques Tati’s Mr. Hulot’s Holiday use the unique takes on comedy of their directors (who are also its stars) as vehicles for ideas.


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S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)