Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Brandon Flyte is a high-school student in Oregon who recently made a film for a class assignment. He chose to do a take-off on Brokeback Mountain called Brokeback High. (That's him above playing the jock--the high-school equivalent of a ranchhand--in his film.) He removed a short scene in which the two leads "snuggle" shirtless as the teacher deemed it violated the assignment's prohibition of "nudity." But he showed the film to another class and was expelled for "insubordination," but was soon readmitted, under circumstances that are a little unclear. (A local news story claims that he lied on his website about the circumstances of his expulsion.) You can find the story and the "snuggle scene" on his website. Brandon is straight.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

I got some comments on the post about teaching Sex in America Cinema, so here's more:
I have like 10-12 films I can show. The list I posted of 40-50 was already pared down a bit and obviously, what I need to do is figure out how these films can create "units" on topics it makes sense to me give priority to. For what I'm thinking of--heterosexual courtship vs. marriage--Rear Window works better than Vertigo. I don't really like Eyes Wide Shut or Last Tango in Paris, but I'd probably use excerpts from them, as I will from some of these other films, including Salo, maybe I am Curious (Yellow), In the Realm of the Senses--because it is a course on American cinema, and I'm bringing in foreign films, especially of the '60s, only as an influence on American culture and films. I might use some subterfuge to bring in Y tu mama tambien, very likely in contrast to an American film like The Last American Virgin, American Pie, or one of the other countless who-can-get-laid-first-or-most comedies from the '80s to the present. (I have a real soft spot for Porky's.) And at the moment, I'm thinking I'll ask students to analyze a film we haven't had time to see in class, so I don't want to show everything there is.
I am very, very interested to see--after researching this some--that there's really no book out there that attempts to survey this area. (There's one coming out in Britain this week.) There are collections of essays on the topic (like Robin Wood's or Laura Kipnis's), and books on particular issues (like Linda Williams' excellent survey of straight pornography, Hard Core). But not a book--I don't have time to review the articles--that attempts something like a typology, a general consideration of the relation of cinema to sexual behavior, something that connects social history to film theory.
I posted a query at a listserv I belong to on film studies and the response was interesting. I made the mistake (well, it isn't actually a mistake) of saying I'd like to do more than gender studies and was berated--one of the respondents called it a "pile-on": why was I so determined to ignore gender studies? Clearly I did not understand that the whole question of sexualty could be reduced to gender performance theory. Yeeesh. So this is why I'm not really an academic, or a critic, or whatever these people are who, at the age of 26 or so, have the answer to everything.
I swear, I just get meaner and nastier every year.
My research is pretty haphazard. After receiving a solicitation from Deep Discount DVD, 3 films for $20, I added a fw others to the list. For one thing, it reminded me of Foxy Brown, which I'm thinking I can add as a comparison to Mandingo.
By the way: Matt Langley, I don't know how to find you. Where'd your blog go?