Pedagogy of Constructive Humanistic Transformation Through Cinema
2. Cinema as pedagogy for constructive humanistic transformation
· 2 · cinema as pedagogy for constructive humanistic transformation In this chapter I will discuss the discipline of cinema studies to distinguish the different approaches taken in order to learn how to utilize cinema for human- istic transformation. I have to qualify this part of my discussion by acknowl- edging that my focus is primarily on American film. The language of cinema, it can be argued, is easy to grasp. With this ease of language and merging of low and high culture comes the danger of form dominating content. If a film is purely a story that is reduced to nothing but a stylistic gesture, that film should be looked at in comparison to another film that is rich in content. If viewers are to become aware of the various dimensions of cinema (e.g., form and con- tent) and the extent of the influence of such dimensions, then what they will need is critical thinking skills to understand these influences. Cultural critics argue that most Hollywood films are designed to be agents of consumption. That is, a typical Hollywood film is made to be a make- believe product to passively entertain the audience and sell its prod- ucts, namely, the fantastic myths and many products strategically placed in the story. Moreover, in the age of globalization and late capitalism (Jameson, 1999), Hollywood as a system enjoys a world dominance that is unparalleled in the history of humanity (Litman, 1998). One can argue that the culture industry (Adorno, 1969) has come full...
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