Monday, December 11, 2006

Kill Bill: The Class

I am teaching a class this semester (at LAGCC) on Kill Bill. It’s a guided research paper class, and I get to pick the topic. What I am going to do is show Kill Bill, discuss it, and then spend a good chunk of the class lecturing on it. The students get to pick a popular genre connected, even if very marginally, to Kill Bill: the western, samurai, kung-fu, science fiction (Ellie, you will remember, dies in a parody of her character from Blade Runner), revenge tragedy, superhero, grindhouse. The students, possibly in groups (I have not yet worked that out), have to experience their chosen genre across time – seeing at least three examples from three distinct historical periods; they have to find articles on their genre and compose a paper describing they ways in which the genre has shifted, they ways in which latter works (works they chose) respond to earlier ones. I will be lecturing on the ways in which works in a genre respond to their history, something I have been writing about for years. I am going to guide them toward films that are allusions in Kill Bill, and then, at the end, they will all hand in their papers and present their conclusions on how the history of their genres flow into Tarantino’s big movie.

Fun class, yeah? I will let you know how it goes, and take suggestions. Currently I am looking for good books on film genre -- I have quite a bit at the house, but I am looking for something comprehensive for students, either a big book for all of us, or a series of books on each genre for each group. I am looking for something with clarity and scope and trying to avoid French philosophical and psychoanalytic jargon. Weigh in.

5 comments:

pat moler said...

I wish you were my teacher. Though, I'm sure you'd dread having me as a student. haha

Mitch said...

I concur with Pat. haha. I don't guess this is a class available to the public, eh? Just LAGCC students? Not that I could swing it with my work schedule...

Marc Caputo said...

Geoff, I think that I've mentioned that I'm a teacher (junior high Math) and I would NEVER tell another educator what to do, but when it comes to students working together (especially if they are in their late teens), I would give them an option; solo or pairs. Even at the ripe old age of 40 (in a few months), I appreciate being given the option (I'm finishing up my administrators licence work right now).
Good luck - and any chance of auditing the class?

Alexandre said...

I had a great class as an undergrad with Richard Slotkin on the evolution of the American Western (so admittedly, no direct coverage of the spaghetti westerns), from silent to about the seventies w/ Peckinpah and the like. The lectures were basically the same as the book wrote, but that didn't matter as he was a pretty entertaining speaker. That, and most of the time we watched movies. So I'd endorse Gunfighter Nation, with the caveat that it's a study the West and mythmaking through media, rather than just movies.

Geoff Klock said...

Pat, Mitch: its only for LAGCC students.

Marc: they will have the option to work alone of course and the paper's will be written alone -- the thing that I may do is allow the creation of, like, Kung fu groups so they can watch movies and research together.

Alexaandre: thanks