How do Will (Ben Foster) and Tom (Thomasin McKenzie) demonstrate the tension or fluidity between being marginalized by choice and marginalized because of how others identify you? How does this tension affect their relationship to each other?
Here are possible topics for our discussion of Leave No Trace on M. Feel free to make additional suggestions or to start the conversation here.
- Establishment of setting in the opening shots.
- A related issue is the use of light and color.
- Use of props to develop character.
- Action and performance, particularly in terms of how Ben Foster and Thomasin McKenzie use their faces and bodies to communicate their place in the world.
- Based on what we are shown in the first act of the film, what do you think we are supposed to think about how Will (Dad) and Tom live? How do you think these feelings are meant to change as the film progresses? Who did you identify with more, Dad or Tom? Why? Or is this a false choice? What did the filmmakers show you that persuaded you to feel this way?
Following our re-watch of Twelve Monkeys, I thought there would be interest in getting some insight into theories of time. This question will come up again when we screen Arrival (2016).
One thing to think about now is whether any of the these theories are helpful in making sense of the narrative in Twelve Monkeys.
First, here is a Guardian science podcast that features a conversation with different physicists about their, often competing, theories of time. The podcast is just under 35 minutes.
Second, this interview with physicist Carlo Rovelli about his new book, The Order of Time, addresses his view that time is simply a way of expressing how humans experience the universe. What makes this interesting in the context of Twelve Monkeys is that he argues that time is always a story we tell ourselves, and not just when we might be "mentally divergent."
One theme in the Post-Film Writing this week is the use of repeating elements between times and places, not only visually, but also with sound, in Twelve Monkeys, particularly to raise questions about Cole's perception of reality. What kind of repeating elements did you notice in the film? Which ones were most effective in making you doubt Cole's perceptions about himself and what he's doing? Which ones did you simply appreciate aesthetically or formally?
A number of students mentioned the end of Twelve Monkeys in the Post-Film Writing. How did the ending strike you? Did you find it hopeful? Unsettling? Ambiguous? What do you think it means? Now that you know the end, how do you think that will affect how you watch in the second screening?
Here is Chris Marker's short film, La Jetée, which is the basis for Twelve Monkeys. Feel free to discuss in comments, and, in particular, how watching this film informs your understanding of Twelve Monkeys.
In the Post-Film Writing this week one question I wanted to open up was the use of color, and specifically the choice to signify the past, in narrative terms, with black and white, but to show Leonard's memories of his wife in color. What do you think this means?
A common topic in the Post-Film Writing this week is the use of props (objects) to mark time, space and memory in the film. What were the most important objects to you as a viewer in attempting to make connections in time and space while watching Memento? Did this change between viewings?
A question from the Post-Film Writing after the re-watch of Vertigo is related to the way the filmmakers showed dreams, primarily through color, but also by using devices like animation. What are other good examples of similar devices in other films? How else have you seen filmmakers visually signify dreams or altered mental states?
In the Learning Assessments this week a number of students had questions about the ending of Eternal Sunshine, like: Is it a happy ending? Should it be happy ending? What do the final shots mean in terms of what we see Joel and Clementine doing and where they are doing it? What do the jump cuts (editing) mean?