For the first time, Christina Kallas will be teaching a seminar called FILM BC 3990y: The Mulit-Protagonist Film. It will fulfill the Senior Seminar requrirement for both Film Studies majors and English majors with a Concentration in film and will meet Thursdays 2:10 - 6 pm. The roster still has a few openings. If you are interested in signing up, please come by the English Department office to add your name. Questions can be sent to the Film Studies Program via the English Department as well at email@example.com.
The contemporary tendency to abandon the single-protagonist structure on which most film narratives have traditionally relied and replace it by a wider assortment of characters with more or less independent narrative lines, has lead to a storytelling pattern, which we refer to as multi-protagonist, which is anything but new in the history of cinema. Yet, it is not until the last two decades that it started to make a significant impact. Under a variety of shapes and names - ensemble and mosaic films (Troehler 2000, 2007), sequential and tandem narratives (Aronson 2001), polyphonic, parallel, and daisy-chain plots (Ramirez Berg 2006), or network narratives (Bordwell 2006) - multi-protagonist movies have emerged as one of the most visible and recurrent trends in contemporary cinema. This seminar is designed to help graduating film majors prepare their senior essays. The first part of the course is rooted in close analysis of the concept of the multi-protagonist film and its potential to overcome the hierarchical organization reflected in our classic storytelling's privileging of one character and her point of view over the rest. Three multi-protagonist films, PULP FICTION, HAPPINESS and MAGNOLIA will be analyzed from a variety of perspectives, focusing on the construction of a frame of reference: How do multi-protagonist films work as far as causal agency, point of view, and, especially, spectator identification are concerned? In the second half of the course, students make presentations based on their proposed senior essays. These oral reports can include screenings of selected sequences from the films being analyzed. The students may also suggest brief readings for other class members in preparation for their individual reports.