Poetics and the State

Respond to the following questions. Be sure to answer each question completely, citing the assigned texts where necessary. Your total response should be at least 750 words. 1. How do you interpret what John Grierson writes about “ding-dong” descriptions of machines in a film like Berlin,  Symphony of a Great City in his essay, “First Principles of Documentary”? Cite a moment in Berlin, Symphony of a Great City from the following clip to support your response. Focus on clip from 10:35 to 16:30. 2. In his essay, “John Grierson and the Documentary Film Movement,” Ian Aiken highlights the forces that Grierson saw as a threat to the state’s preservation of social unity.  How do you understand Grierson’s primary concerns? How did the changes Grierson witnessed after World War I in Scotland and the United States (as discussed by Aiken) confirm his fears? What do you think are the greatest threats to social unity today?  3. Ian Aiken traces out the arch of Grierson’s career. What do you find most interesting or surprising about how it unfolded. 4. Both Night Mail and Len Lye’s Trade Tattoo are concerned with exploring the cinematic effects of pattern and rhythm, but mobilize very different strategies to emphasize their visions of social unity. What do you find most interesting about the different ways in which Night Mail and Trade Tattoo attempt to hold facts, in what in Greirson calls “a living organic relationship together”? 5. What is something you found interesting about Len Lye’s work at the GPO as discussed by Desmond O’Rawe? Cite a passage that stood out to you and explain why. Links to films: https://youtu.be/LdFasmBJYFg (only focus on 10:35 to 16:30) https://vimeo.com/352633639 (Night Mail)  https://youtu.be/AJgChOuCSRM (Trade Tattoo)

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