Actors & Acting

We've discussed the role that actors play in how audiences might interpret or relate to a film. Certain actors bring certain expectations, e.g., for most people Jimmy Stewart signifies decency, Bruce Willis signifies toughness. However, filmmakers can either use these expectations in casting or try to subvert them by casting against type, e.g., as noted in class, Brad Pitt's role in Twelve Monkeys can be seen as going against type as a romantic leads. Actors, in this sense, are important parts of mise-en-scene.

Do you have strong impressions of any of the actors that have appeared in the films we have screened? Were those actors used in roles you would expect or cast against type? How effective were they used in either case? What's the difference between someone who is simply an actor and someone who is "star"? What do stars bring to films? For you, who are the movie stars that we've seen this term? Have any of the films been "star-less"?

What kind of filmgoer are you?

Do you watch a lot of movies? At home or on personal devices or in the theater? Do you prefer to watch by yourself or with others? What rituals do you have around movie watching (food, seating, cosplay, etc.)? Do you like to talk about the films you watch? Do you relate to films in an intellectual way or do you see film as more of a visceral or emotional art? Do you juggle different reactions to different films in different situations? What movies have been important to you?

Viewing process

One of the issues I noticed in the Learning Assessments is how different students view the films, and engage in pre- and post-film discussions. Some students feel more engaged in discussions before the film, but not quite ready to discuss right afterwards. Others feel more distanced in the pre-film discussions, but ready to jump in after. Others indicated that they find engaging in critical analysis challenging because the affective aspects of watching a film, emotions, personal associations, are so strong.

What is your process for viewing, discussing, and analyzing the films in class like?

Suspension of disbelief

One of the topics that came up as a point of interest and curiosity from this week is suspension of disbelief and film. What persuades you to suspend disbelief when watching a movie? What do film makers need to give you for this to happen? To what extent do all films, whether fantastic in nature or more mundane, require suspension of disbelief on the part of the audience?