Film Studies 2258 Canadian National Cinema Department of Film Studies Faculty of Arts and Humanities University of Western Ontario

Page 1 of 16 INSTRUCTOR: DR. C.E. GITTINGS Fall 2014 OFFICE: ON 58 TELEPHONE: 661-2111 X 85781 E-MAIL: [email protected] (but use OWL course email for...
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Fall 2014

OFFICE: ON 58 TELEPHONE: 661-2111 X 85781 E-MAIL: [email protected] (but use OWL course email for all non-emergency correspondence) OFFICE HOURS: Tuesday 15:30-16:30 Thursday 16:30-17:30

Film Studies 2258—Canadian National Cinema Department of Film Studies Faculty of Arts and Humanities University of Western Ontario SCREENINGS: Thursday 13:30-16:30 in AHB 3B04 LECTURES/DISCUSSIONS: Tuesday 13:30-15:30 AHB 3B04 COURSE AIMS Beginning in the silent period and extending into the twenty-first century, this course seeks to answer historical, cultural, ideological and aesthetic questions about Canadian cinema. We will explore how cinema has reflected the complex and unstable notion of Canada as a nation, focusing upon issues of representation as well as problems of production, distribution and exhibition as these are grounded in political economy. Additionally, we will consider the transnational flows between the Canadian film industry, Hollywood, and other global film industries through co-production and casting. Questions addressed include: What is the influence of the documentary tradition on Canadian cinema as a whole? Is there an innate division between Canadian “art” cinema and popular cinema? What are the relationships of First Nations, regional, diasporic and queer cinemas to a Canadian national cinema? Does Canadian cinema embody two linguistic, cultural and industrial “solitudes” or are there in fact a range of Canadian cinemas? How have history, immigration and economics shaped Canadian cinema? What roles can genre play in understanding Canadian cinema? How do gender, sexuality, race and class inflect the representation of Canadian nation on screen? Required Course Readings: 

Christopher E. Gittings, Canadian National Cinema: Ideology, Difference and Representation (London/New York: Routledge, 2002) [CNC]

Available from the UWO Bookstore 

Additional Readings available on the course Owl page under Lessons and PDF Course Readings (see the schedule of readings below). A list of all course resources is found by clicking on Lessons on the left side of the Owl page.

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All students will attend screenings and seminars prepared to participate in discussions based on the week’s assigned readings and screenings.

Notes should be taken during or immediately following all screenings.

Come to class with questions or comments that have arisen from your readings, the lecture and screening.

Make notes during the lectures, and class discussions, with a view to challenging or developing some of the points expressed.

Review lecture slides frequently

TERM WORK Attendance /Tutorial Participation


Group Presentation (Annotated Bibliography, research notes, document posting)

20 %


09 October



18 November






Attendance Please arrive on time to all lectures/tutorials and screenings. Lateness and/or early departures will adversely affect your participation grade. Do not miss screenings as lecture and discussion will also take place in these slots. Do not ‘chatter,’ or use any communications devices during screenings (cell phone, text messaging, pagers or social networking sites accessed through digital devices). Assignments are based on films screened in class and one film screened outside of class in 1G23 for the Group

Page 3 of 16 Presentation. You must attend all screenings, including films you have already viewed. Study copies of most films will be available in 1G23. Departmental policy provides that students may be refused permission to write the final examination if their level of attendance is unacceptable (more than four unexcused absences per term). See the departmental website at: for a statement of university attendance policies. Attendance includes screenings, lectures and seminars. Laptop/iPad Policy You are welcome to use laptops/tablets to record notes during lecture/tutorial. However, unless it is absolutely necessary, please try to take notes with a pen and paper during screenings as the light from devices can be distracting for other viewers. If devices are used for random web surfing, social networking, game playing or any other activity the instructor deems outside of acceptable usage your device will be banned from this class. Participation Participation marks will be awarded for active and informed engagement in class and online discussions. If you do not feel comfortable contributing to discussion in class, you must email me questions and comments on the week’s readings and film(s) asap, i.e. before lecture/tutorial on Tuesday so that I may place them on the forum on OWL

Course Assignments I

Reception Presentation and Panel Discussion—Group Work This assignment asks students to incorporate a reception study of a given film with a group panel discussion offering a critical evaluation of the film. The presentation is composed of three linked components. The first part of the presentation will summarize the critical reception of the film. The second part of the presentation will afford each group member an opportunity to offer their own critical evaluation of the film. The third component will focus on a film clip of a key moment in your title, chosen by the group and followed by a close reading (shot by shot analysis that decodes how meaning is produced formally).

From a list of films found on the course OWL Page under Reception Presentation Film Titles you will select a film for which you will undertake a reception study.

Groups will be formed based on individual selection of a film.

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Each group member will be responsible for viewing the chosen film in 1G23 and searching the following databases for Canadian and international reviews of your chosen film as well as scholarly articles (databases can be accessed via Weldon’s Film Studies portal

FIAF International Index to Film Periodicals International Index to the Performing Arts Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive


* (For best results, please note that once you log onto this resource you will need to click on the ‘All databases’ link located at the top left of the page above the ProQuest logo. This will enable you to exploit 64 databases and pick up Canadian newspaper reviews)

Print your reviews if they are available digitally, if not, locate them in the stacks and photocopy them. With a detailed knowledge, including notes on your chosen film, national and international reviews and two scholarly articles (if available) get together with your group for a meeting in which you consider the following questions: o What do the domestic reviews tell us about Canadian culture and society at the time they were written? o What do they tell us about the relationship between the film critic and the Canadian industry? o What do they tell us about the relationship between the Canadian industry and Canadian audiences? o Do the international reviews tell us anything about the Canadian industry’s relationship to the international market? o Do the international reviews vary in tone or substance from the national reviews, if so how? o You should take notes of key points in this group discussion or use an audio recorder to document the conversation for future reference in the preparation of your presentation and for assessment.

Depending on the film you have chosen, there may only be one or two scholarly articles available or none at all. If published articles on your film exist: o how have academics approached your title?

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o What strategies have scholars deployed to understand and critique the film?

o Are the approaches useful, dated or, if there are no scholarly articles on your title, what does the absence of scholarship tell you? 

Collaborating with your group members, create an annotated bibliography of the reviews and, if present, scholarly articles tracked by all members. The questions you answered above should form the basis of your annotations for each bibliographic entry. The link provided below is intended to suggest the shape and bibliographic format of the project; you should follow the instructions for ‘Summarize’ and ‘Assess’ and, for the purposes of this assignment, ignore ‘Reflect.’ Please use MLA format. For guidelines on generating and formatting an annotated bibliography see

Having weighed how film critics and scholars interpret and value your film, it is time to field the various ways in which you and your colleagues understand, evaluate and interpret the film. In a group brainstorming session, each group member should offer up their own evaluation of the film, its strengths and shortcomings and a key moment in the film for which they would like to offer a close reading (it is imperative that you prepare rough notes on each of these areas before meeting up with the group so you arrive prepared and all group members can make efficient use of the time together).

Following the discussion of the various key moments for close reading offered by group members, the group should vote to select the key moment that offers the most compelling, insightful and rich reading of the film. The key moment might be a turning point in the narrative, or a scene or sequence of shots that best expresses a central thematic or conceptual concern of the entire film. The key moment of insight, as you understand it, may even be located in the film’s establishing shots. A representative from the group should contact TECH SERVICES about making the clip 1 week in advance of the presentation due date.

Once all of the above steps have been completed the group can begin to assemble a plan for the presentation of its findings to the class.

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o 10 minutes—summary of critical reception (both scholarly and journalistic) o 10 minutes—group members offer their own critical evaluations of the film o 10 minutes—key moment clip and close reading (max. length of clip: 2:00 minutes) o For a review of ‘close reading’ see:

Ideally, the 30 minutes will contain varying degrees of agreement and disagreement with critics, scholars and each other. 

Sign up today by contacting the instructor via Owl course email only. I will be distributing the topics on a first come, first served basis. Once I confirm your topic, I will place the names of the people in your group (most groups will be comprised of 2-3 people) on the presentation sign-up list available in the Reception Presentation Sign Up folder online. Please check this document to see the availability of topics.

All co-presenters must complete and submit, a signed form documenting how you and your group members have distributed your contributions (See the form on OWL). It is expected that all co-presenters will participate in the research, writing, design and delivery of your presentation.

One review/article from your research endeavors will be submitted to the instructor as a PDF to be posted on the Canadian National Cinema OWL page.

Due in class in a folder on the date of your presentation: 

 

A copy of your research notes (individual rough notes from each member responding to: the reception questions above, ‘key moment’ notes, group drafts of the presentation notes, the notes themselves; all materials that will assist the instructor in seeing and assessing your process. These will be returned to you at the feedback session.) 1 copy of the group’s Annotated Bibliography of national and international reviews and, if they exist, scholarly articles. A statement signed by co-presenters accounting for how your collaboration was structured through shared responsibilities and equal division of labour. This form is available online at the course OWL page under Lessons and then click on Course Doucments. If you use Powerpoint to illustrate your presentation, a copy of that file

Page 7 of 16  

A PDF of one of the reviews to be posted on the course OWL page by the instructor. A grade will not be returned to you until the above materials have been received by the instructor. Materials that are not submitted in a folder of some type will not be accepted for grading.

Oral presentations are to be approximately 30 minutes in length (you will be stopped at the thirty-minute mark). Speak clearly, and slowly; the pace of an oral delivery, and the amount of eye contact a speaker has with an audience often determine the effectiveness of the presentation. As we are working with visual culture, a judicious selection of illustrations (a brief key clip and/or screen captures) can assist you in the substantiation of your points. Bear in mind that you have only 30 minutes and a total of 2 minutes for the clip. Following the presentation, students should make an appointment with the instructor for feedback. Research from the group presentation may be combined with the additional research and writing required for the essay assignment. II Research Essay—Assignment Guidelines Brilliant ideas are often buried under incomprehensible writing. Ensure that you have good and effective writing skills by investigating the Writing Support Centre: Assessment criteria for your essays can be found in the grading template available online and the grading key at the end of this document. You have the option of incorporating the presentation research into your separate research essay. The essay assignment requires that you analyze two films. For the essay questions, click on the Course Documents link on the course OWL page (to be posted by Week 2). Essay Assignments must be submitted digitally in MS Word via OWL Assignments. Your file title should consist of your surname, course number and essay. For example if I was uploading a file it would be titled this way: gittings_2258_essay Essays must have student name and number, instructor name and course title and number indicated clearly on the front page as per MLA. All essays are automatically vetted through turnitin. **All assignments must be completed; failure to do so will lead to an automatic F for the course.

Page 8 of 16 Re-Writing Assignments: Departmental policy allows each student to re-write one assignment per course, with the permission of the instructor. The re-written assignment must be submitted within two weeks of the original due date and the maximum grade that may be issued is 65%. See the departmental website for a complete statement of this policy. Plagiarism: Plagiarism is a major academic offence and is prosecuted to the fullest extent that university regulations permit. Students must write their essays in their own words. Whenever students take an idea, or a passage, from another author, they must acknowledge their debt both by using quotation marks where appropriate and by proper referencing such as footnotes or citations.

Library Resources: Take One (available online via Weldon and Proquest as Take 1: you will need to log into Weldon as a remote user if you are attempting to access from off campus) Online Film Studies/ Canadian Cinema Resources

Metacritic—tracks Critical and User reviews

TIFF Top Ten Canadian Films

Canadian Film Encyclopedia

Playback (Canadian industry magazine)

First Weekend Club (promotes Canadian productions and VOD for Canadian film)

Telefilm Canada (federal production funding)

Canadian Journal of Film Studies

CBC web site (for reviews and features on the Entertainment Page, but also for cultural, economic, political social contexts)

Blog for First Nations’ Idle No More Social Justice Campaign

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Selected Journals The Canadian Journal of Film Studies Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture and Media Studies Cineaction Cinema Journal Sight and Sound Variety Selected Newspapers (for reviews and features of films as well as context) Globe and Mail National Post Toronto Star NY Times The Guardian

Only after you have discussed your grade with the instructor can you begin the appeals process. For further information on the appeals process, see the “Information for Students” on the Department of Film Studies web site LATE PAPER POLICY: LATE PAPERS ARE PENALIZED AT THE RATE OF 5 MARKS FOR THE FIRST DAY, AND 2 MARKS FOR EVERY SUBSEQUENT DAY LATE.

UWO Policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness: Students seeking academic accommodation on medical grounds for any missed tests, exams, participation components and or assignments must apply to their Academic Counseling Office of their home Faculty and provide documentation. Academic accommodation cannot be granted by the instructor or department. Please go to the following site for information on the university Policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness:

For information on the examination services provided by the Student Development Centre, please visit:

Page 10 of 16 Mental Health: Students who are in emotional/mental distress should refer to Mental Health@Western for a complete list of options about how to obtain help.

NB. If you have difficulties with the English language or if you have a learning, reading or writing issue, please speak to the instructor ASAP. General Course Objectives and Grading Criteria I. General Course Objectives  Understandings of the historical trajectory of Canadian cinema. 

Mastering of Film Studies’ critical terms ‘national cinema,’ ‘postmodern,’ ‘political economy,’ ‘transnational’ and ‘ideology’ as these apply to Canadian cinema.

The above will be acquired by students through a capacity for argument, research, judgement and analysis that will be fostered by essays, presentations and other assignments, and by in-class small-group and whole-class discussion on Canadian national cinema.

Communication skills will be imparted through in-class discussion and credit will be given for frequency and quality of contributions.

Research skills will be developed through the reception study assignment and the research required for the term paper.

Essays and other written assignments are marked in accordance with the grading criteria listed below and include benchmarks for the expectations associated with each grade.

Awareness of the limits of knowledge will be enhanced by exploring the legitimate differences of opinion and methodology within the field, and by requiring students to negotiate the formulation of their own opinions in-class with the terms and knowledge brought to discussions by other students and the instructor.

The ability to argue and decide on complex issues will be fostered by essays and in-class discussion. Time management skills will be fostered by the need to prepare properly for class and to deliver assignments in a timely manner. Academic responsibility will be developed by the need to source assignments accurately.

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GRADING CRITERIA Please read this! A (80 and up) · ·

· · · ·

Clear development of a specific and challenging thesis, with proper paragraphs Sentence structure correct, with full range of sentence types (compound, complex, and compound-complex), with full range of punctuation (including semicolons, colons, dashes, parentheses) Graceful style, neither pompous nor breezy, and few errors Detailed reference to appropriate texts, with evidence of individual response Quotations well integrated into text, with proper documentation Ability not only to expound subject but to see it around–subtleties and ambiguities, qualifications and concessions, relations to other subjects, etc.

B (70 to 79)

· · · · · ·

Clear development of a specific thesis, with proper paragraphs Sentence structure correct, with reasonable range of sentence types and full range of punctuation Style not too wordy, with errors relatively few and minor Adequately detailed reference to texts Quotations well integrated into text, with proper documentation Ability to expound reasonably sophisticated ideas with clarity

C (60 to 69) · · ·

· ·

Reasonably clear development of a thesis, with proper paragraphs Sentence structure correct, but perhaps overly simple, with tendency to avoid punctuation besides period and comma Errors relatively few, but occasionally serious, with evident misunderstanding of some point of elementary grammar (comma splices, fragments, semicolon errors, subject-verb disagreements, poorly integrated quotations) Effort to support points with references to the text, with reasonable effort at documentation Basic ability to expound ideas

Page 12 of 16 D (50 to 59) Inadequacy at one of the following levels: · · · ·

Difficulty with paragraphing or consecutive thought Errors of grammar or diction frequent enough to interfere with understanding Ideas inchoate, but clouded by weak expression Overgeneralization with inadequate support, or with examples that run to lengthy irrelevant paraphrase

F (49 and down) · · ·

Inadequacy on several levels at once Ideas too simple for level of course Content largely “borrowed” from sources with no individual distillation, but no apparent attempt to deceive 0 (Report to Department)


Plagiarism with intent to deceive

Course Schedule (N.b. The screening list is subject to change. Incomplete class discussions will, whenever possible, be carried over from Thursday’s class to Monday’s screening) Week 1 04 September –Course Intro and first 3 Films  Screening: Back To God’s Country (Canada David Hartford, 1919) 73 min. James Oliver Curwood’s source text for the film adaptation may be found here: Nass River Indians (Canada Marius Barbeau 1927) 17 min. Of Japanese Descent (Canada D.C. Burritt 1945) 21 min.

Course Overview: What is/was Canadian National Cinema?

Required Reading for Thursday’s Lecture/Tutorial: Gittings, “Introduction” CNC 1-6 Gittings, “Immigration and Empire Building: Film as a Colonizing Discourse” CNC 1-32

Page 13 of 16 Gittings, “Of Japanese Descent: An Interim Report” CNC 69-75 Gittings, “Saving the Sagas: salvage ethnography” CNC 46-54 09 September Lecture/ Tutorial

Week 2 11 September Screening: Kanehsatake 270 Years of Resistance (Canada Alanis Obomsawin 1993 119 min) Atanarjuat (Canada Zacharias Kunuk 2001 172 min) Excerpt (20 min) Required Reading: Gittings, “Visualizing First Nations” CNC 199-230 16 September Lecture/ Tutorial—Presentation Film: Reel Injun (Canada, Neil Diamond, Catherine Bainbridge, Jeremiah Hayes, 2009)

Week 3 18 September Screening: Visit to a Foreign Country (Canada, Michel Brault and Claude Jutra, 1962 28 min) Mon Oncle Antoine (Canada, Claude Jutra, 1971 104 min) Required Reading: Gittings, “External and Internal Colonialism” CNC 103-106 ---., “Québec USA-ou l’invasion pacifique/Visit to a Foreign Country” CNC 109113 ---., “Melodrama” CNC 114-115 ---., “Mon oncle Antoine” CNC 115-119 ---., “Producing a National Cinema” CNC 76-102 23 September Lecture/ Tutorial—Presentation Film: Les bons débarras (Canada, Francis Mankiewicz, 1980)

Week 4 25 September Screening: Screening: Goin’ Down The Road (Canada, Don Shebib, 1970 90 min), Excerpt 30 min The Grey Fox (Canada, Phillip Borsos 1982, 110 min) Road To Saddle River (Canada, Francis Damberger, 1994) Excerpt 10 min Required Reading: ---., “Genre Texts” CNC 113-114

Page 14 of 16 ---., “Goin’ Down The Road” CNC 158-163 ---., “The Western” CNC 163-176 30 September Lecture/ Tutorial—Presentation Film: I Love A Man in Uniform (Canada, David Wellington, 1993)

Week 5 02 October Screening: Jésus de Montréal (Canada/France, Denys Arcand, 1989 118 min) Required Reading: Bill Marshall, “Modernity and Postmodernity.” Quebec National Cinema. MontrealKingston: McGill-Queen’s, 2001: 285-312. OWL PDF Course Readings 07 October Lecture/ Tutorial—Presentation film: The Corporation (Canada, Jennifer Abbott, and Mark Achbar, 2003)

Mid Term: 50 min. in Screening on 09 October The test will cover all materials up to and including Week 5. Please see the mock mid-term test on OWL (Course Documents) to familiarize yourself with the test format Week 6 09 October Mid Term: 50 min. @ 13:30 The test will cover all materials up to and including Week 5. Please see the mock mid-term test on OWL (Course Documents) to familiarize yourself with the test format Screening (following mid term test): Le Confessional (Canada/U.K./France, Robert Lepage, 1995 100 min) Required Reading: Gittings, “Le Confessional” CNC 127-135 14 October Lecture/ Tutorial—Presentation film: J’ai tué ma mere (Canada, Xavier Dolan, 2009) Week 7 16 October Screening: Dead Ringers (Canada, David Cronenberg, 1988, 116 min) Required Reading: Gittings, “Dead Ringers” CNC 278-280

Page 15 of 16 Steve Neale , “Horror and Science Fiction.” In Genre and Hollywood. New York and London: Routledge, 2000: 92-99. OWL PDF Course Readings 21 October Lecture/ Tutorial—Presentation film: Pontypool (Canada, Bruce McDonald, 2008) Week 8 23 October Screening: Ginger Snaps (Canada, John Fawcett, 2000 108 min) Required Reading: Martin Barker, Ernest Mathijs, Xavier Mendik, “Menstrual Monsters” Film International July 2006, 4.3: 68-83 28 October –Lecture/Tutorial—Presentation Black Christmas (Canada, Bob Clark, 1974 98 min.)

Week 9 30-31 October—FALL STUDY BREAK—NO CLASSES SCHEDULED Week 10 04 November Hour 1: How to write a successful essay in Film 2258 Remaining 50 minutes = 30 min. presentation 20 min. discussion of presentation Presentation film: Porky’s (Canada/USA, Bob Clark, 1982) 06 November Screening: The Making of Monsters (John Greyson, 1991 35 min) Zero Patience (Canada, John Greyson, 1993 100 min) Required Reading: Gittings, “Screening Sexuality” CNC 281-293 Michele Aaron, “New Queer Cinema: An Introduction.” In ed. Michele Aaron, New Queer Cinema: A Critical Reader. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004: 3-14.

Week 11 11 November Lecture/Tutorial: Zero Patience Presentation film: Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives (Canada, Lynn Fernie and Aerlyn Weissman, 1992) 13 November Screening: Continuous Journey (Canada, Ali Kazimi, 2004) Excerpt 20 min Masala (Canada, Srinivas Krishna, 1992 106 min) Required Reading:

Page 16 of 16 Gittings, “Multicultural Fields of Vision” CNC 231-255 Week 12—Essay Due today via OWL 18 November Lecture/Tutorial: Continuous Journey and Masala Presentation Film: Water (Canada, Deepa Mehta, 2005 117 min) 20 November Screening: The Stories We Tell (Canada, Sarah Polley, 2012 108 min) Our Marilyn (Brenda Longfellow, 1987 27 min) Required Reading: Gittings, “Our Marilyn” CNC 273-275 Bill Nichols “The Reflexive Mode of Representation” Representing Reality. Issues and Concepts in Documentary. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1991: 56-75. OWL PDF Course Readings Week 13 25 November Lecture/Tutorial: Stories We Tell Presentation film—I’ve Heard The Mermaids Singing (Canada Patricia Rozema, 1987) 27 November Screening: Trailer Park Boys: The Movie (Canada, Mike Clattenburg, 95 min) Excerpt Breakaway (Canada/India, Robert Lieberman, 2011) Excerpt Goon (Canada, Michael Dowse, 2011 92 min) Main Screening The Adventures of Bob and Doug Mackenzie: Strange Brew (Canada/USA, Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis, 1983 90 min) Excerpt Bon Cop Bad Cop (Canada, Eric Canuel, 2006 116 min) Excerpt Passchendaele (Canada, Paul Gross, 2008 114 min) Excerpt Required Reading: David Pike, “Across the Great Divide: Canadian Popular Cinema in the 21st Century.” Bright Lights Issue 56, May 2007: Also on OWL PDF Course

Week 14 02 December Lecture/Tutorial: “Goon, Hoser Masculinities and the Search for Commercial Success in AngloCanadian Cinema” Presentation film: Les Boys/The Boys (Canada, Louis Saia, 1997) 03 December—Fall Session classes end

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