OLD WORLDS – NEW WORLDS
Write an essay (approx. 1500 words) on ONE of the following topics
1) Pocahontas tells a “true” story, about “real” people, as if it were a musical fantasy, set in colonial America. Write an essay discussing the way the film represents Pocahontas and John Smith, using details from the film’s use of intense colour, music, body shape, and movement. Why is this famous pair shown this way?
2) “These maps have no manners. The smaller locales are out-roared and outrageously bullied by empires and kingdoms.” (Kellyana Morey, “Cartography”, p194.) Use this quote as a starting point for an essay about how Māori and/or Pacific writers describe and challenge the power difference between “smaller locales” and “empires and kingdoms.” Do they accept the idea of smallness? How do empires and kingdoms “bully” these places?
3) Throughout history, music has been bound by rules and conventions which have always been challenged, bent and broken. Discuss how any one of the following composers have changed the course of musical development: Beethoven; Wagner; Schoenberg; Pierre Boulez; John Cage; David Bowie.
4) Digital technologies have had a significant impact on the narratives we tell. From lo-fi, autobiographical filmmaking in Tarnation (Jonathan Caouette, 2003) to the rise of VR, cinematic storytelling has been liberated to explore inner and outer worlds. A low budget is no longer a restriction on creativity and facilitates personal filmmaking that has more resonance than blockbusters. Write an essay on a low-budget film that reflects a personal journey. Consider the role of digital technology in its production and examine its narrative execution. NB: Your essay must explore the personal journey of a character within the film you have chosen. You may not write about your own work, or your own personal journey. “Low budget” means a budget of under $500,000.
5) Philip Pullman has said that the idea for Pantalaimon, Lyra’s daemon, came to him as the solution to a very practical story-telling problem: how do you show what’s going on in a character’s head, without resorting to clunky explanations? He continues: “Then I saw what the daemons were, and what they did, and how important they were, and I realised that they were a very good way into the whole story.” Write an essay exploring the appeal and function of daemons in Northern Lights. https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/videos/teaching-content/philip-pullman-interview-pullman-his-inspiration-daemons-his-dark-materials-series/
6) In Catherine Chidgey’s novel The Wish Child, a teacher delivers a series of monologues as she accompanies her class on trips to German factories. How does Chidgey make one voice speak for many in these passages, and how do the factory visits reflect the events unfolding on a larger scale in Nazi Germany? Are there any points of slippage, at which the teacher betrays her true thoughts? If so, what do these accomplish in the novel?
7) F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu uses the figure of the vampire through which to explore clashes between genders, religions, classes, and nationalities. But for all the film’s interest in the differences between these worlds, it also strongly emphasises similarities between them. Examine the ways in which the film connects Count Orlock, Hutter, and Ellen, and analyse the significance of these connections.
8) Discuss the proposition that many cinema worlds today are created as much by fans as they are by scriptwriters and directors. Base your discussion both on examples of fan activity around The Lord of the Rings and/or Hobbit film series and on one or two other films that you are familiar with. While considering fan identities, fan practices and to what degree they influence production, also discuss the limits of fan activity. When does it deviate too much from the rules of the source world and what happens when it does?