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April 26, 2006

Film Review: V is for Vendetta and H is for Holocaust

Der Danse Macabre III - © 2006 Lee Hobbs
Photograph: 'Der Danzig Danse Macabre III' © 2006 Lee Hobbs

Today's Film Review courtesy of English-blog contributor Rachael T.

*Warning: Article may contain spoilers!

Heroes in the Eyes of the Beholder

First a synopsis:

From the creators of the hit trilogy, The Matrix, comes a thrill ride of a movie that'll leave you quoting it for the rest of the day. V for Vendetta is a perfect blend of action, suspense, mystery, and drama, making the film . . .

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This entry posted by lhobbs at 08:59 PM and is filed under Film.

April 25, 2006

The Poetry of Death (Or, The Death of Poetry?)

Der Danzig Danse Macabre II - © 2006 Lee Hobbs
Photograph: 'Der Danzig Danse Macabre II' © 2006 Lee Hobbs

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me -

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This entry posted by lhobbs at 10:30 PM and is filed under Photography.
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April 24, 2006

Travel Photography - Revisiting and Reflecting Upon a Time before Katrina

'Old Bicycle in Old New Orleans' © 2006 Lee Hobbs
Photograph: 'Old Bicycle in Old New Orleans' © 2006 Lee Hobbs

"It has been said that a Scotchman has not seen the world until he has seen Edinburgh; and I think that I may say that an American has not seen the United States until he as seen Mardi-Gras in New Orleans." - Mark Twain

Caption: Two years before the catastrophic floods of Hurricane Katrina brought the "Big Easy" to its knees, this antique bicycle stands testimony to the thriving business of the Old French Quarter (2003) . . .

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This entry posted by lhobbs at 09:11 PM and is filed under Photography.
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April 21, 2006

Discussing Truth: Is There a Factual Definition?

Hello Everyone,

This month there has been a lot of discussion about the concept of "truth." Do you recall the film Dekalog 8 by Krzystof Kieślowski? It had everything to do with telling "the truth," remember? So did the documentary Strongwoman. Several of you, I might add, expressed that you did not believe Justyna's testimony (which seemed to horrify Maria Z. who, in fact, did!)

In our last exercise we looked at Henry Adams's (1838-1948) admonition to learn as the prime directive. In other words, the ability to learn or the process of learning, above all, is the most important thing of all since it gives a person "enough" to get by in life. If we take this statement for granted, are we then to assume that we should be learning "truthful" things? Would Adams sound nearly as clever if he told us to go out and fill our heads with "untruths"? It seems important, then, if we are to learn let it not be wasted on lies and propaganda (useless data) but on knowledge that we somehow know to be true . . .

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This entry posted by lhobbs at 12:48 PM and is filed under Critical Theory.
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April 19, 2006

Is Knowing How to Learn Enough? Debating Life's Necessities

Der Danse Macabre IV - © 2006 Lee Hobbs
Photograph: 'Der Danzig Danse Macabre IV' © 2006 Lee Hobbs

“They know enough who know how to learn.” ~ Henry Adams (1838-1918)

Adams seems to have it all sorted out. How about you? Can you concur with this bit of pragmatic philosophy or is there more to know than this?

I originally gave my students a choice between . . .

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This entry posted by lhobbs at 12:25 PM and is filed under Critical Theory.
Readers' Comments (21)

April 18, 2006

Rediscovering the Comparison Paper: Intolerance in Two Very Different Films


Source: http://www.sonoma.edu/users/s/steiner/img/marinij_3.jpg

The film Process B-7185 by Bernard Offen and the academy award winning Hollywood production Crash elicited so many responses (see HERE for Process and HERE for Crash) that I felt it deserved another devoted blog entry. This difference about this entry, however, is how similar thematic developments in both (one was a historical auto-biography, the other a work of fiction) diverged and brought understanding to sensitive issues such as racism, intolerance, hate and hate-crimes (as opposed to war-crimes, for example). Some of my students did a wonderful job comparison writing exercises involving subject matter from both films . . .

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This entry posted by lhobbs at 10:10 PM and is filed under Composition.
Readers' Comments (12) |TrackBacks (5)

 

April 17, 2006

Quotations as Writing Prompts that State a Position: Agreeing with Gandhi

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

No, it's not a recently discovered verse from the Gospel of Judas, it's a 20th century adage. But, insightful nonetheless. It reminds me of another quotation by Maya Angelou which reads, "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain." In many ways, this is a philosophy not of victimization but one of personal responsibility. That is, responsibility not only for yourself but for your species, your planet, your world.

What does this have to do with writing and the learning institution? That's excactly what I want you to figure out . . .

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This entry posted by lhobbs at 12:36 AM and is filed under Composition.
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April 16, 2006

Making Choices: The Road Theme Revisited

If you follow current events in pop-culture, you can see choices all around us. Katie Couric has made her choice to leave one successful job--her morning show--to try on another as chief anchor for CBS. In the same regard, Meredith Vieira chose to leave her successful television job--The View--to replace Katie's post on the morning show. Some choices our parents or guardians made for us, like whether we would celebrate Passover (if your family is of one religious tradition) or Palm Sunday (if your family is of another). Other choices are cost dependent and, once you begin to earn your own money, you have the financial freedom to buy, say, a vintage Kenny Rogers LP or a collector's edition Red Hot Chilli Peppers CD. Choices are all around us and they determine our every move. Recently, with the newly released translation of the Gospel of Judas, people have begun to revisit a very old agument that wonders whether the infamous "Judas"--the betraying character of the Christian religious tradition--actually had a choice, perhaps even asked, in doing what he did (the free will theory) or whether or not he was predestined--like a robot--to do what he did (the divine will theory) . . .

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This entry posted by lhobbs at 07:39 PM and is filed under Composition.
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April 13, 2006

Seven Days and Seven Scenarios: Understanding Kieślowski's Fascination with Numbers


Image Source: http://www.lafilmforum.org/past/Spring%202006/spring2006/5:28/SEVEN_WOMEN_OF_DIFFERENT_AGES_1978.jpg

Hi All,

Today was really a great opportunity in class as director and filmmaker Maria Zmarz-Koczanowicz visited our room, showed a Kieślowski short, gave a small talk and answered student questions. It was interesting to hear some of the inside information, such as details about the film Strongwoman, that weren't put into the film due to time restrictions and legal reasons. Also, we found out, some things we observed superficially--like the technique of transitioning from monochrome to color in Children of the Revolution--actually had a more layered meaning that we first imagined . . .

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This entry posted by lhobbs at 12:13 AM and is filed under Film.
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April 11, 2006

Katrina and Popular Film: New Ways to Read Into the Horrific Aftermath

The independent film about Hurricane Katrina, by filmmaker Creighton Hobbs, got such an overwhelming amout of remarks (read them at THIS ENTRY) I came to the conclusion that some of the more lengthy (and thought out) ones deserved a blog entry of their own. What makes this approach different is how some of my students compared not only the film but the event itself to ideas expressed in the film Crash, Process B-7185, and others. . .

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This entry posted by lhobbs at 10:05 AM and is filed under Composition.
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April 05, 2006

Film Review: Children of the Revolution

Dzieci Rewolucji [Children of Revolution]. Screenplay by Maria Zmarz-Koczanowicz and Leszek Koczanowicz. Dir. Maria Zmarz-Koczanowicz. 60 minutes. Telewisja Polska [TVP], 2002.

That's revolution, not "corn."

The next in our series of Maria Zmarz-Koczanowicz documentaries examines the after-effects of revolution, particularly the people themselves. While Generation '89 used this "then and now" model for the details of one event in Polish history, this films looks at a much broader spectrum. This time, Zmarz-Koczanowicz looks at many different revolutions from many different dates in several European nations . . .

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This entry posted by lhobbs at 10:14 PM and is filed under Film.
Readers' Comments (12)

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