FLMS3006: Film & Folklore

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Institute of Humanities and Creative Arts

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FLMS3006: Film & Folklore

Mondays, 13:15 – 16:15

 Dr. Mikel J. Koven

m.koven@worc.ac.uk

 

 

This module explores the relationship between folklore and film studies, as complimentary disciplines for cultural analysis. More than simply identification of folklore in feature films, topics covered include motif identification, folktales as historical evidence, issues of orality, discourses of belief vs. disbelief, cultural survivals, ghost stories, urban legends and ostension.  In part an introduction to folklore studies, this module aims to ask different questions about the filmic text and its production contexts, by looking at them through the “lens” of folklore.

 

Learning Outcomes,

By the end of the module, students will be able to,

  1. Utilise highly specialised scholastic skills in contemporary folkloristics, as applied to popular cinema (both fiction and documentary);
  2. Critically review, consolidate a systematic and coherent body of knowledge in history, anthropology, sociology, folklore, performance theory, literary studies, etc. and apply those discourses to popular films;
  3. Critically evaluate popular cinema as emerging from “vernacular” culture;
  4. Critically evaluate new information, concepts and evidence about filmic construction, through breaking the narrative down into its motifs;
  5. Utilise research skills from folkloristics to film studies

 

Attendance Policy:

 It is expected that you will attend all taught sessions, in the same way that attendance is expected in the workplace. Indeed regular attendance has a significant impact on student engagement, understanding and successful completion of University courses. Furthermore non-attendance will significantly affect your ability successfully to complete a module and may jeopardise your ability to undertake re-assessment in the event of failing a module.

It is your responsibility as a student, just as it would be if you were an employee, to ensure that you are punctual and that your attendance has been recorded on the register each week.

Should you, for some unavoidable reason, be unable to attend a scheduled session (for example if you are ill) then you must send an email to ihcastudentabsence@worc.ac.uk . Please include in your email your name and student number, the module code and name, the date of the missed session, and your reason for missing it. You should make sure that you copy the module tutor into the email and also contact your module tutor to make arrangements to catch up on any work you have missed.

Notification must be received within 6 days of the date of the missed session.

Alternatively you can inform IHCA of your absence via the telephone. Please ring 01905 542015 (Shirley Adams) with the required details.

Students with two or more unexplained absences may be required to attend a tutorial/ interview with the module leader, course leader or head of division to discuss their progress.

 

Learning Contract:

On this module you are expected to be courteous and attentive to your fellow classmates and to the module tutor. You are also expected to undertake the required reading each week and to view the film or films under question. Failure to do either of these things will severely impede your success on the module.

The use of mobile phones will not be tolerated in classes, lectures or screenings. Please turn off all phones before the lesson starts.

 Please feel free to email me (m.koven@worc.ac.uk) with any queries you have regarding the module, I will try to reply within 3 working days. My office hours will be posted on the door of my office (BB 133), however I am always open to seeing students at other times if you make an appointment.   

 

Readings:

Weekly readings will come from a variety of sources. These books and journal articles will be made available to you well in advance of the relevant class.

Resource List for this module can be found by following this link.

Films:

Each week, we will be discussing both a primary and a secondary film; the primary film must be watched before the class, and whenever possible, the secondary film should also be viewed.

Every effort will be made to make the films available for you to watch. However, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have seen the texts being discussed. You can source many of the films on Netflix, Amazon Instant or You Tube, however there may be some DVD purchase necessary. In that instance, you will be informed well ahead of time.

 

The DVD Library:

The DVD library for FLMS3006 – Film & Folklore is held in my office (BB133). All DVDs are available for a short term loan (1 day). You can view the film in the Pierson or on your own laptop but you must return the DVD on the day of the loan.

 

Module Calendar (note, topics and film titles subject to change)

Week 1: What is Folklore?

Primary Film: The Wicker Man (GB, Robin Hardy, 1973)

Required Reading: Bascom, W. (1954) Four Functions of Folklore. Journal of American Folklore 67, 333-349.

Further Reading & Viewing:

Foster, Michael Dylan and Jefe A. Tolbert (eds). 2016. The Folkloresque: Reframing Folklore in a Popular Culture World. Logan, UT: Utah State University Press.
Frazer, James Geroge. 2009. The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
McNeill, Lynne S. 2013. Folklore Rules: A Fun, Quick and Useful Introduction to the Field of Academic Folklore Studies. Logan, UT: Utah State University Press.
Toelken, Barre. 1996. The Dynamics of Folklore. Logan, UT: Utah State University Press.

 

The Princess Bride (US, Rob Reiner, 1987).

 

Week 2: The Fairy Tale Film

Primary Film: Tale of Tales (IT, Matteo Garrone, 2015)

Secondary Film: La belle et la bête (FR, Jean Cocteau, 1946)

Required Reading: Zipes, Jack. 1997. Towards a Theory of the Fairy-Tale Film, The Case of Pinocchio. In Happily Ever After, Fairy Tales, Children and the Cultural Industry, pp. 61-88. London, Routledge.

Further Reading & Viewing:

Basile, Giambattista. 2016. The Tale of Tales. London: Penguin
Greenhill, Pauline and Sidney Eve Matrix (eds.) 2010. Fairy Tale Films: Visions of Ambiguity. Logan, UT: Utah State University Press.
Greenhill, Pauline and Jill Terry Rudy (eds.). 2014. Channeling Wonder: Fairy Tales on Television. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press.
Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm. 2016. The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: The Complete First Edition. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Perrault, Charles. 2010. The Complete Fairy Tales. Christopher Betts (trans.). Oxford: Oxford University Press
Schwabe, Claudia (ed.). (2016). Special Issue: Fairy Tales and its Uses in Contemporary New Media and Popular Culture. Humanities 5.3: http://www.mdpi.com/journal/humanities/special_issues/ fairy_tales [Last accessed 19 September, 2016]
Stone, K. 1975. Things Walt Disney Never Told Us. Journal of American Folklore 88, 42-50.
Stone, K. 1981. Märchen to Fairy Tale, An Unmagical Transformation. Western Folklore 40, 232-244.
Tatar, Maria (ed.). 1998. The Classic Fairy Tales. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Co.
Teverson, Andrew. 2013. Fairy Tale. London: Routledge.
Zipes, Jack. 2011. The Enchanted Screen: The Unknown History of Fairy-Tale Films. London: Routledge.
Zipes, Jack, Pauline Greenhill, and Kendra Magnus-Johnston (eds.) 2015. Fairy-Tale Films Beyond Disney: International Perspectives. London: Routledge.

 

The Company of Wolves (Neil Jordan, 1984)
Mirror, Mirror (Tarsem Singh, 2012)
Maleficent (Robert Stromberg, 2014)
Red Riding Hood (Catherine Hardwicke, 2011)
Snow White and the Huntsman (Rupert Sanders, 2012)

 

Week 3: Tale Types & Motifs

Primary Film: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1974)

Secondary Film: The Seasoning House (Paul Hyett, 2012)

Required Reading: Brottman, Mikita. 2005. Once Upon a Time in Texas. In Offensive Films, pp. 96-112. Nashville, Vanderbilt University Press.

Further Reading & Viewing:

Aarne-Thompson-Uther Classification of Folk Tales. Multilingual Folk Tale Database. http://www.mftd.org/index.php?action=atu [Last accessed 19 September, 2016]
Ashliman, D. L. 1996-2016. Folklore and Mythology Electronic Texts [Folktexts]. http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/folktexts.html [Last accessed 19 September, 2016]
Greenhill, Pauline, Kendra Magnus-Johnson & Jack Zipes. 2016. The International Fairy-Tale Filmography. http://iftf.uwinnipeg.ca/ [Last accessed 19 September, 2016]
Heiner, Heidi Anne. 2007-2012. eBooks Index. SurLaLune Fairytales.com. http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/ebooksindex.html [Last accessed 19 September, 2016]
Heiner, Heidi Anne. 2007-2012. Index to the Annotated Tales. SurLaLune Fairytales.com. http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/talesindex.html [Last accessed 19 September, 2016]
Propp, Vladimir. [1928] 1968. Morphology of the Folktale. Bloomington, Indiana University Press.
Stewart, S. 1982. The Epistemology of the Horror Story. Journal of American Folklore 95, 33-50.
Swann Jones, Susan. 1987. On Analyzing Fairy Tales, “Little Red Riding Hood” Revisited. Western Folklore 46, 97-106.
Thompson, Stith.  [1948] 1977. The Folktale. Bloomington, Indiana University Press.
Warner, Marina. 2014. Once Upon a Time: A Short History of Fairy Tale. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

 

Les amants criminels/Criminal Lovers (François Ozon, 1999)
The Fall (Tarsem Singh, 2006)
The House at the End of the Street (Mark Tonderai, 2012)
Freeway (Matthew Bright, 1996)
Freeway II, Confessions of a Trick Baby (Matthew Bright, 1999)

 

Week 4: Fairy Tale Film Analysis

Primary Film: Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

Secondary Film: Sleeping Beauty (Julia Leigh, 2011)

Required Reading: Short, Sue. 2006. Misfit Sisters, Screen Horror as Female Rites of Passage. Palgrave. [pp. 1-44]

Further Reading & Viewing:

Bacchilega, Cristina. 1999. Postmodern Fairy Tales: Gender and Narrative Strategies. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Bettelheim, Bruno. 1991. The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales. London: Penguin.
Carter, Angela. 1995. The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories. New York, NY: Vintage.
Darnton, Robert. 2009. The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History. New York, NY: Basic Books.
Dégh, Linda. 1994. American Folklore and the Mass Media. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
Davies, Ann, Deborah Shaw and Dolores Tierney (eds.). 2014. The Transnational Fantasies of Guillermo Del Toro. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Rankin, Walter. 2007. Grimm Pictures: Fairy Tale Archetypes in Eight Horror and Suspense Films. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co.
Short, Sue. 2014. Fairy Tale and Film: Old Tales with a New Spin. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Tiffin, Jessica. 2009. Marvelous Geometry: Narrative and Metafiction in Modern Fairy Tale. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press.
Warner, Marina. 1995. From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers. New York, NY: Vintage.
Zipes, Jack. 2011. Fairy Tales and the Art of Subversion. London: Routledge.

 

Beastly (Daniel Barnz, 2011)
Ever After (Andy Tennant, 1998)
Hansel & Gretel (Pil-sung Yim, 2007)
Pretty Woman (Garry Marshall, 1990)
The Seasoning House (Paul Hyett, 2012)

 

Week 5: Mythic Cinema

Primary Film: Noah (Darren Aranofsky, 2014)

Secondary Film: Exodus: Gods and Kings (Ridley Scott, 2014)

Required Reading: Bascom, William. 1965. The Forms of Folklore, Prose Narratives. Journal of American Folklore 78, 3-20.
[The Book of] Genesis, VI – IX [The story of Noah]

Further Reading & Viewing:

Barthes, Roland. 2009. Mythologies. Annette Lavers (trans.). New York, NY: Vintage.
Gaiman, Neil. 2017. Norse Mythology. London: Bloomsbury.
Haydock, Nickolas and E. L. Risden. 2013. Beowulf on Film: Adaptations and Variations. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.
Martin, Joel W. and Conrad E. Ostwalt, Jr. (eds.). 1995. Screening the Sacred: Religion, Myth and Ideology in Popular American Film. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Okuyama, Yoshiko. 2016. Japanese Mythology in Film: A Semiotic Approach to Reading Japanese Film and Anime. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
Sebeok, T. (ed). 1955 Special Issue, Myth, A Symposium. Journal of American Folklore 68(4).
300 (Zach Snyder, 2006)
Beowulf (Robert Zemeckis, 2007)
Clash of the Titans (Desmond Davis, 1981)
Clash of the Titans (Louis Leterrier, 2010)
Excalibur (John Boorman, 1981)
King Arthur (Antoine Fuqua, 2004)
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (Guy Ritchie, 2017)

 

Week 6: Worcester Week

 

Week 7: The Hero’s Journey

Primary Film: Star Wars [A New Hope] (George Lucas, 1977)

Secondary Film: Star Trek (J. J. Abrams, 2009)

Required Reading: Campbell, Joseph. 2012. The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Novato, CA: New World Library.

Further Reading & Viewing:

Campbell, Joseph. 1989. The Power of Myth. New York, NY: Bantam Books.
Hill, Geofrey. 1992. Illuminating Shadows: Mythic Power of Film. Boulder, CO: Shambhala Publications.
McDowell, John C. 2014. The Politics of Big Fantasy: The Ideologies of Star Wars, The Matrix, and The Avengers. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co.
Rank, Otto, Lord Raglan, Alan Dundes & Robert Segal.1990. In Quest of the Hero. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Reynolds. Richard. 1994. Super Heroes: A Modern Mythology. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi.
Stasak, Jennifer. (2016). 12 Female TV Characters Redefining the Hero’s Journey. Screen Rant. http://screenrant.com/female-heroes-tv/?view=all [Last accessed 19 September, 2016]
Volger, Christopher. 2007. The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition. Studio City, CA: Michael Wiese Production.
Voytilla, Stuart. 1999. Myth and Movies: Discovering the Mythic of 50 Unforgettable Films. Studio City, CA: Michael Wiese Production.

 

Batman vs. Superman: The Dawn of Justice (Zach Snyder, 2016)
Man of Steel (Zach Snyder, 2013)
The Matrix (The Wachowski Brothers, 1999)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (Steven Spielberg, 1981)
Superman (Richard Donner, 1978)
Wonder Woman (Patty Jenkins, 2017)

 

Week 8: Mythological Adaptations

Primary Film: Trojan Women (Mihalis Kakogiannis, 1971)

Secondary Film: Edipo Re/Oedipus Rex  (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1967)

Required Reading: Segal, Robert. 2004. Myth: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Further Reading & Viewing:

Alvares, Jean. 2017. Classical Myth and Film in the New Millennium. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Cyrino, Monica S. and Meredith E. Safran (eds.). 2015. Classical Myth on Screen. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Nisbet, Gideon. 2008. Ancient Greece in Film and Popular Culture. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.
Winkler, Martin M. (ed.) 2001. Classical Myth and Culture in the Cinema. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

 

Clash of the Titans (Desmond Davis, 1981)
Clash of the Titans (Louis Leterrier, 2010)
Immortals (Tarsem Singh, 2011)
Iphigenia (Mihalis Kakogiannis, 1977)
Jason and the Argonauts (Don Chaffey, 1963)
Medea (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1969)
Wrath of the Titans (Jonathan Liebesman, 2012)

 

Week 9: Legend Films

Primary Film: The Fourth Kind (Olatunde Osunsanmi, 2009)

Secondary Film: TrollHunter (André Øvredal, 2010)

Required Reading: Oring, Elliott. (2008) Legendry and the Rhetoric of Truth. Journal of American Folklore 121, 127-166

Further Reading & Viewing:

Dégh, Linda. 1996. What is a Belief Legend? Folklore 107, 33-46.

Dégh, Linda. 2001. Legend and Belief: Dialectics of a Folklore Genre. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Ellis. Bill. 1989. Death by Folklore, Ostension, Contemporary Legend, and Murder. Western Folklore 48(3), 201-220.

Ellis, Bill. 2003. Aliens, Ghosts, and Cults: Legends We Live. Jacksonville: University Press of Mississippi.

Ellis, Bill. 2003. Lucifer Ascending: The Occult in Folklore and Popular Culture. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky.

Goldstein, Diane, Sylvia Ann Grider and Jeannie B. Thomas. 2007. Haunting Experiences: Ghosts in Contemporary Folklore. Logan, UT: Utah State University Press.

Heller-Nicholas, Alexandra. 2014. Found Footage Horror Films: Fear and the Appearance of Reality. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co.

Thomas, Jeannie Banks (ed.). 2015. Putting the Supernatural in Its Place: Folklore, the Hypermodern and the Ethereal. Logan, UT: Utah State University Press.

 

Blair Witch (Adam Wingard, 2016)

The Blair Witch Project (Eduardo Sánchez, Daniel Myrick, 1999)

Grave Encounters (Vicious Brothers, 2011)

Paranormal Activity (Oren Peli, 2007)

 

Week 10: No Class

 

Week 11: Documentary & Docudrama

Primary Film: The Town That Dreaded Sundown (Charles B. Pierce, 1976)

Secondary Film: The Town That Dreaded Sundown (Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, 2014)

Required Reading: Tangherlini, Timothy. R. (1990) “It Happened Not Too Far from Here …”, A Survey of Legend Theory and Characterization. Western Folklore 49(4), 371-390.

Further Reading & Viewing:

Bird, S. Elizabeth. 1994 Playing with Fear, Interpreting the Adolescent Legend Trip. Western Folklore 53(3), 191. 209.

Campion-Vincent, Veronique. 2007. Rumors and Urban Legends. Diogenes 54.1: 162-199.

Fine, Gary Alan and Bill Ellis. 2010. The Global Grapevine: Why Rumor of Terrorism, Immigration and Trade Matter. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Fine, Gary Alan, Veronique Campion-Vincent and C. Heath (eds). 2005. Rumor Mills: The Social Impact of Rumor and Legend. Aldine Transaction.

Smith, Paul. 1991. The Cottingley Fairies: The End of a Legend. In Peter Narvaez (ed.), The Good People: New Fairylore Essays. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, pp. 371-405.

Wood, Juliette. 2006. Filming Fairies: Popular Film, Audience Response and Meaning in Contemporary Fairy Lore. Folklore 117.3: 279-296.

 

Cropsy (Joshua Zeman, 2009)

Fairytale:  A True Story (Charles Sturridge, 1997)

Killer Legends (Joshua Zeman, 2014)

Robin Hood (Ridley Scott, 2010)

Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves (Kevin Reynolds, 1991)

Rosewell (Jeremy Kagan, 1994)

 

Week 12: Urban Legends

Primary Film: Urban Legend (Jamie Blanks, 1998)

Secondary Film:  Candyman (Bernard Rose, 1992)

Required Reading: Koven, Mikel. 2008. Film, Folklore & Urban Legends. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.

Further Reading & Viewing:

Bennett, Gillian. 2009. Bodies: Sex, Violence, Disease, and Death in Contemporary Legend. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi.
Bennett, Gillian and Paul Smith (eds.). 2016. Contemporary Legend: A Reader. London: Routledge.
Brunvand, Jan Harold. 1983. The Vanishing Hitchhiker: American Urban Legends and Their Meanings. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Co.
De Vos, Gail. 2012. What Happens Next? Contemporary Urban Legends and Popular Culture. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.
Ellis, B. 1994. “The Hook” Reconsidered, Problems in Classifying and Interpreting Adolescent Horror Narratives. Folklore 105, 61-75.
Fine, G. A. and B. N. Johnson. 1980. The Promiscuous Cheerleader, An Adolescent Male Belief Legend. Western Folklore 39(2), 120-129.
Mikkelson, Barbara & David Mikkelson. Snopes.com. http://snopes.com. [Last accessed 19 September, 2016]
Norman, Mark. (2016). The Folklore Podcast. http://thefolklorepodcast.com/ [Last accessed 19 September, 2016]
Wilson, M. 1998. Legend and Life, “The Boyfriend’s Death” and “The Mad Axeman”. Folklore 109, 89-95.

 

Alligator (Lewis Teague, 1980)
Campfire Tales (Matt Cooper, Martin Kunert, David Semel, 1997)
Dead Man on Campus (Alan Cohn, 1998)
Dead Man’s Curve (Dan Rosen, 1998)
When a Stranger Calls (Fred Walton, 1979)

 

Week 13: Revision & Conclusions


Assignments,

Assignment One

Choose any one (1) of the following questions to answer. Your discussion should make use of the bibliography below as thoroughly as possible. Essays will be graded according to the learning outcomes (on page 2 of this handbook), specifically,

  1. Utilise highly specialised scholastic skills in contemporary folkloristics, as applied to popular cinema (both fiction and documentary);
  2. Critically review, consolidate a systematic and coherent body of knowledge in history, anthropology, sociology, folklore, performance theory, literary studies, etc. and apply those discourses to popular films;
  3. Critically evaluate popular cinema as emerging from “vernacular” culture;
  4. Critically evaluate new information, concepts and evidence about filmic construction, through breaking the narrative down into its motifs;
  5. Utilise research skills from folkloristics to film studies

Essay questions:

  1. Using William Bascom’s essay, “Four Functions of Folklore” as a starting point, discuss how any film of your choice (other than a “primary” or “secondary” film) can be read as functionally folkloric.
  2. Zipes proposes that the ‘fairy tale film’ is a genre in its own right. Using an appropriate film, examine the fairy tale film as genre [Note, answering this question should draw on Rick Altman’s ‘pragmatic’ approach to genre].
  3. Using an appropriate film, examine how fairy tale films are able to discuss contemporary adult fears.

Length, 1500-words

Due, 30 October, at 15:00

Weighting, 40%

 

Assignment Two

Choose any one (1) of the following questions to answer. Your discussion should make use of the bibliography below as thoroughly as possible. Essays will be graded according to the learning outcomes (on page 2 of this handbook), specifically,

  1. Utilise highly specialised scholastic skills in contemporary folkloristics, as applied to popular cinema (both fiction and documentary);
  2. Critically review, consolidate a systematic and coherent body of knowledge in history, anthropology, sociology, folklore, performance theory, literary studies, etc. and apply those discourses to popular films;
  3. Critically evaluate popular cinema as emerging from “vernacular” culture;
  4. Critically evaluate new information, concepts and evidence about filmic construction, through breaking the narrative down into its motifs;
  5. Utilise research skills from folkloristics to film studies

Essay questions:

  1. Using an appropriate film, examine the film’s hero as “the hero of tradition”.
  2. Using an appropriate film, examine the cinematic articulation of mythology in that film.
  3. Using an appropriate film, examine the cinematic articulation of a legend in that film.

Length, 2000-words

Due, 19 January at 15:00

Weighting, 60%

 *Assignments will be graded within three weeks of submission*

 Submission,

Both assignments should be electronically submitted via the student’s SOLE page. All assignments will be submitted to Turnitin by the module leader.

For information regarding plagiarism, referencing, and general study skills please visit http,//www.worc.ac.uk/studyskills

 

 

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