Royal Tenenbaums

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 ROYAL TENENBAUMS (2001)

Similar to The Dark Knight, the questions here are primarily about authenticity and character.

  • What kinds of words would you use to describe the look of the film? What aspects of m-e-s stand out to you in terms of your choice of adjectives?
  • How does the film use objects to establish character? What role does acting style play here in making the characters feel real?
  • Does this world of this film feel self-contained or as if it is the same world as that of the audience? In other words, does this film appear more open or more closed and how does that appearance relate to the authenticity of the characters?

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.