Age of Innocence

Second thematic essay: supplemental images

One of the requirements of the second essay is to include a close reading of one of the 5/45/85 frame grabs from the second set of films or of an alternative, which you can select yourself or may be suggested by me. I have chosen the following images from The Age of Innocence, The Dark Knight and The Royal Tenenbaums:

From The Age of Innocence:


(at 18:49)


(at 73:43)


(at 110:21)

From The Dark Knight:


(at 10:24)


(at 89:25)

From The Royal Tenenbaums:


(at 4:50)


(at 27:08)

Preview for THE AGE OF INNOCENCE (1993)

With The Age of Innocence our focus is on historical authenticity.

  • What makes m-e-s an effective tool for making the audience feel as if they are watching people in 19th century New York? What specific elements contribute to the perceived authenticity of the film's representation of time and place?
  • How is m-e-s used specifically to evoke the social world of the characters? Are there specific shots or visual elements that feel particularly effective at conveying a sense of what it might have been like to be the people on screen?

A note on "authenticity"

One of the assumptions I made in selecting the films for the second part of the course is that each is striving for some kind of authenticity, in relation to truth, to historical representation, to character, and the preview questions reflect this assumption. Primarily, I am asking how the filmmakers succeed in realizing their visions. However, it maybe that some of the films fail for you in achieving the desired authenticity. In Rashomon, for example, maybe you think that one person is clearly lying. Maybe The Age of Innocence doesn't feel like a window onto 19th century New York. Maybe the characters in The Dark Knight and The Royal Tenenbaums never feel like anything but silly fictions.

In thinking about these films, feel free to flip the preview questions around and discuss what doesn't work for you in terms of m-e-s and authenticity.