Movies and Methods: The Films Of Vincente Minnelli (FILMEDIA 290, FILMEDIA 490)
Bukatman, S. (PI)
Working at MGM, the most opulent of Hollywood studios, Vincente Minnelli epitomized the studio system, and yet his films remain idiosyncratic, distinct, and personal. He is thus a curious figure within the history of auteurist study. Minnelli's work constitutes a series of rich collaborations with some of Hollywood's most prominent stars, screenwriters, composers, cinematographers, choreographers, cinematographers, set designers and costume designers while remaining both formally and thematically coherent as a body of work. His opulent melodramas, musicals, and comedies are haunted by a recognition of the fragility and necessity of illusion. His characters display what Thomas Elsaesser calls 'the vital need to assert' - not so much one's self, but rather one's conception of meaning, one's vision of things. Characters in such films as Meet Me in St. Louis, Madame Bovary, Some Came Running, The Bad and the Beautiful, The Band Wagon, Brigadoon, and Lust for Life strive to remake reality, pushing their (and the films') aesthetic sensibilities beyond the limits to produce the experiential shift described by the philosopher and cineaste Gilles Deleuze as a 'movement of world.' Minnelli was also formally adventurous, his worlds steeped in the bold use of color, widescreen, camera movement and performance. The seminar will be film-heavy, with students watching about two films per week. This course is the capstone seminar for graduating FMS seniors. Instructor permission required for everyone else.
McMurtry Art Building 115