|Literature and Film: Poetry and Short Stories
Many important works of literature have inspired filmmakers to create cinematic works of art utilizing varying - and often changing - themes, structures, and language from written masterpieces. We will see how many great short stories, poems and work of fiction have been adapted to cinema. This course will give students the opportunity to read classic works of literature and view films that have been inspired by them. This includes poets such as: Edgar Allan Poe; Charles Bukowski; Allen Ginzburg; Homer; Mary Shelley and Alice Duer Miller, just to name a few.
We will explore the differences between the written word as presented in short stories, poems, plays and novels and the visualized images created in film; and examine how the written word is adapted and translated into visual terms. Critiques regarding the content, style, and themes of each written and film work will be included. Students will be shown how a film can effectively develop a major theme contained in the written work. By the end of the course students will have learned how to distinguish a significant work of prose from one which contains little substance, and how to view cinema on a level deeper than that of entertainment alone. Through the process of analyzing each written work and each film, students will learn that many important themes lie below the surface of both the text and images.
Each week, students will be asked to view a film and read a short story or poem from which it was adapted and class time will be used to discuss the works of literature and the films they inspired. Detailed sources for these works will be provided. In class we will examine if the film is true to the story in theme, and why or why not? A short lecture will be provided to introduce the assignments for discussion in the next week.
Week #1 — Introduction. Class will read Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” during the session. Watson and Webber’ short film of the same title will be shown, along with clips from a film version by Roger Corman. We will compare and contrast the differences between the written words of Poe and that of Coreman and Watson/Webber.
Reading assignment: Ernest Hemingway’s short story “The Killers”
Viewing assignment: “The Killers” by Don Siegel starring Ronald Reagan, Angie Dickinson, John Cassavetes, Lee Marvin in an all star cast.
Week #2 — Discussion regarding the film “The Killers” and the short story, along with short talk introducing the work of Daphne Du Maurier and that of Alfred Hitchcock.
Reading assignment: Short story “The Birds” by Daphne Du Marier
Viewing assignment: “The Birds” by Alfred Hitchcock.
Week #3 - Discussion regarding the film “The Birds” and the short story followed by a short introductory lecture about the work of Ang Lee and Annie Proulx.
Reading assignment: The very short fiction “Brokeback Mountain” by Annie Proulx
Viewing assignment: “Brokeback Mountain” by Ang Lee.
Week #4 — Discussion of “Brokeback Mountain” in both film and literature. We will discuss Anniel Proulx’ style of writing and compare it to Ang Lee’s style of filmmaking. A brief lecture will introduce the work of Julio Cortezar and the work and contributions of the filmmaker of Michelangelo Antonioni.
Reading assignment: Short story ”Blow Up” by Julio Cortezar
Viewing assignment: ”Blow Up” by Michelangelo Antonioni
Week #5-- Discussion of the short story by Cortezar, his style of writing, his content and compare it to the cinematic style and techniques of Antonioni, followed by a short lecture about the poet John Keats and Jane Campion.
Reading assignment: “Bright Star” by John Keats
Viewing assignment: “Bright Star” by Jane Campion
Week #6-- Discussion of the short poem by Keats, it’s rhythm, theme and tone. We will compare it to the film “Bright Star”.
Dominic Angerame teaches and has taught (as an adjunct Professor) filmmaking/cinema studies/criticism the San Francisco Art Institute. He has also taught film production and cinema studies at the University of California Berkeley, Extension, and New College of California; and has been a guest lecturer and visiting artist for Stanford University, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Graduate School of Theology in Berkeley, The International Film School in Cuba and elsewhere.
Mr. Angerame was nominated for a John D. Rockefeller Foundation Grant in Filmmaking in 2000. He was a guest artist in South Korea. He has shown and lectured about the importance of Avant Garde/Experimental Cinema in Tokyo, Havana, SFMOMA, Argentina; San Francisco Film Society, Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao; Austria, Warsaw, Germany, among many other notable museums, universities, film festivals and organization around the globe.