Saturday, February 4, 2012

Time to Start!

While the class has been going for nearly two weeks now, so far it's all been about orientation "stuff" that is essential to the student's success in the class, but isn't nearly as much fun as actually watching and dissecting the films!  But there's a lot to be said for a strong beginning, and I think it's a solid approach to give students time to get their online ducks in a row.

That's done now - or will be by Monday, when the first viewing assignment goes up.  We're starting with the classic German Expressionism film Metropolis, which is also really the beginning of big screen science fiction.  I've given them several links to supplement their viewing - I always think it's a good idea to have some background on the film, the filmmaker, and the time period in which the film was made.  After all, science fiction is often about a view of the future and it's interesting to note how that changes.  You didn't see atomic monster movies before WW2 showed us what the unleashed atom could do and looking at the tech on the old Star Trek seems quaint in the 21st century.  Their first paper is a simple response to the film - not totally undirected, of course.  I want the students to start looking critically at film, not just see it as background entertainment.

I'll post the material on Monday and we'll see how things go from there.  I have high hopes.  Metropolis may be an "old movie" (it was released in 1927, so it's not only black and white, it's a silent film - which for most of my students is a whole new ballgame), but many of my students in the past have discovered that the story is quite compelling.

In the meantime, my co-author in the Wanna Cook? project and I were talking about animals in space.  Who knows why - these things just sort of happen.  Did you know that cats have experienced zero gravity?  It must have driven them nigh-crazy to not be able to land on their feet.  Odd, to say the least.  But not nearly as strange as this:

Onward to Metropolis!

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