Film Studies

Over at Degenerasian, blogger Tracy sardonically remarks that she might get an A+ in porn studies. Background to this is Annanova reporting that the Mass Communications Department at Providence University in Taiwan is running a course in studying porn movies. I note this as I used to lecture on film and television studies and while pornography was beyond the pale, theories of sexuality and filmic study were de rigeur at the time.

Much of the Theory for these studies was provided by the French post-structuralist philosopher and post-Freudian analyst Jacques Lacan. My students were not much amused by Lacanian film theory, not the least because no one had thought to teach them basic Freud, so they naturally got a bit confused when ‘Jacques the Lack’ Lacan was trotted out. Lacan is not only notoriously difficult to read, it also implies to say the least a knowledge of Freud and Semiotics. We has done Semiotics via Barthes but not Sigmund, so against all the guidelines I provided a crash course in Freudian theory. Afterward, at least 2 of my students actually thanked me for it.

At another art college in the Midlands, the students did have a go at embarrassing me when they were given free reign on a presentation project. Two presentations stay in my mind. One chose a gay sadomasochistic manga cartoon as their topic with lurid drawings of blonde Aryan types being taken advantage of by Japanese warriors. Another chose Jeff Koons’ rather graphic art-house photographs of his liaison with his then wife La Cicciolina (Ilona Staller). I sat unphased throughout the presentations and marked the students on their attention to detail, use of Theory and presentation skills. I sometimes wonder if all these years on, they’re using those self-same skills in corporate-ville.

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