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Notes Towards Day 15 (T, Mar. 13): From Still to Moving Pictures

Anne Dalke's picture

I. coursekeeping
welcome back:
any relevant, "generic" stories ? -->
dglasser's proposal for an English lab!

w/ theory on the first floor, field work on the floors above,
“testing” literary theories as models for story-constructing
(and getting beyond the "knowing" stance/
pretense of most of our discussions....)

responses from leamirella:
just sitting in a library reading a bunch of books...?

and froggie:
the really hard questions
the humanities ask don’t have neat, concise answers--
that’s sort of the point....In lab, you would have a
conversation about what the theories mean for the world. 
Also, if I were designing this lab, I’d want there to be
some sort of action component--like go use this theory
to make something happen.

is this not what we are doing already? and/or
how might we do more of or here?

my responses
to your papers are up,
linked to your earlier ones, and to one another's-->
2 (sterrab, froggie) on the emerging "genre" of the self
--w/ "gaps of intedeterminacy" not just in the narratives
we read, but also in those we tell about ourselves;
4 (Alicia, Ayla, kobieta, vspaeth)
on the emerging "genre" of the classroom
--w/ lots of interesting intersections/challenges among you!
and 4 on the genre of the graphic narrative:
* how different media prod us to think "differently" (dglasser),
* how "gutters are not only a "comics-based phenomenon," but
a transferable, and universally used, literary device; they mark
"those places where the narrative jumps, and the reader jumps
with it, filling in the blank spaces to gain a picture of what was not said"
* how you might play with graphic forms yourself (leamirella -->
Scott McCloud's 10 Suggestions for First-Time WebComics Artists)
I encourage you to write back, continue the conversation....

A note/some queries re: appropriate
conventions re: our use of sources?

vspaeth: Disclaimer: As we all know, everything we write is a
composite of everything we have ever read.  Many of the ideas
in this paper have probably come from readings I’ve done in
various education classes but I cannot pinpoint which ones.

froggies315: This story was inspired by everything.  Most
directly, it is the product of: this song, this song, my experience
reading this book, our discussions in class, and a conversation
Anne and I had last Wednesday.  

I also filled in the remainder of the semester--let's look this over
together and make sure we're on the same page...

for Thursday, read the last of our "graphic narratives,"
Neil Gaiman's A Game of You, thinking about the
ways in which it resembles/differs from Persepolis
as an exemplar of the genre (great example of a
cross-over from realism to speculative fiction!--
see esp. Samuel Delany's intro on this....)

II. today we discuss the 2008 DVD,
Persepolis, made
by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronaud in 2008.

two stepping off points-->
Ayla's queries about genre-change:
I am intrigued by the conversion of books into movies.  I would like to
answer questions of, "How does a screen-writer decide what to keep
in a movie and what to leave out," "How is the same message
portrayed in a movie, if it is," "How is learning different in a movie
than in a book," "Why would an author be interested in turning his/
her movie into a book," and more.  I think that I am mostly curious
about the actual conversion of a novel into a screen play.  How is
a novel crunched and converted into mostly dialogue.  What
challenges does a screen-writer have to overcome?

also leamirella's queries, re a reviewer's saying that
If “Persepolis” had been a conventional memoir rather than a graphic novel,
Ms. Satrapi’s account of her youth in pre- and post-revolutionary Iran would
not have been quite as moving or as marvelous. Similarly, if the movie version
had been conventionally cast and acted, it would inevitably have seemed less
magical as well as less real.

I can't help but wonder why ... I've always equated images and
animation with fantasy, rather than realism...I wonder if anyone has a response?
Is it because of the nature of the narrative? Or is it because Persepolis
has already been written in the form of a graphic novel that conceiving
it in any other way seems difficult?

other initial reactions to the film: did you enjoy it? what did you notice?

What was the effect of the
* sound track,
* French language,
* movement (no borders!),
* use of color?
Any questions about accuracy (vs. the creation of newness?) in adaptations?
How did all this differ from your experiences with the "autographic"?

What about the social difference between holding a book
while sitting or reclining alone, vs....what bodily/communal position?
What difference does changing the site and mode of RECEPTION make?

What is else is different about this form??

Satrapi speaks to some of the particularities of her project in a short video: and interview transcript:

See also a longer interview on LinkTV

Transcript of Chapter 11; cf. The Holy Moment from Waking Life:

The best scripts don't make the best films, because they have
that kind of literary narrative thing that you're sort of a slave to....
But, you know...a song..has to come out of the moment. And
that's what film has. It's just that moment, which is holy.
You know, like this moment, it's holy. But we walk around
like it's not...And if film can let us see that, like frame it so
that we see, like, "Ah, this moment. Holy."

Did you experience any such "holy moments" in Persepolis?
"framed and held, moment by moment by moment"?

cf. froggies315 on the education of "falling" into the graphic narrative....

Satrapi also placed Persepolis in the tradition of the
wildly flexible exploratory, discovery mode of
avant garde black-and-white expressionist film--
(structurally more unified; yet also more horrifying....)

One particularly interesting ancestor for Persepolis
might be Metropolis, the classic science fiction film
directed by Fritz Lang in 1927
(in Germany during a stable period between the wars):
a futuristic urban dystopia exploring a
social crisis between workers and owners
(also a gesture toward the genre of science fiction....)

Persepolis: capital of the
Persian Empire, 550-330 BCE

Metropolis: title of the
1927 Fritz Lang film

Transformation scene

[Cf. KT on tracing the "DNA" of a text @ Booklamp]