Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Western

I signed up for two film courses this semester: The Western and Canadian Film and T.V.

I am a ten minute walk from the university. I go Monday afternoon, Tuesday morning and then all day Thursday, where I get a mixture of film, lectures and student presentations.

Add caption
 I grew up at the Saturday afternoon matinee at the Plaza where I saw a B-Western every Saturday. I can still remember the thrill of the lights going down, and the cheers from the audience as the pre-movie serial began to roll. Now I get to sit in lectures and hear about the life of the Western, one of the few genres that is truly American.

 Last week the whole lecture was on genre-mix: the Western cross over into Science-Fiction.
Based on a true story,
this is the tale of Josephine Monaghan

Today the topic was Gender in the Western. I was taking notes as though I were going to prepare for an essay or write an exam.

The professor talked about the stock plot, the exaggerated homo-social world, the bad girl, the Hawksian woman (women who appear in movies directed by Howard Hawks), the captivity narratives, the revisionist westerns. The professor pauses sometimes to ask if there are questions, but there are none.

 Most of the students in the class were born long after the Western Genre began its decline and this is the first time they have looked in depth at the Western.
The story is about a man returning
to his abandoned wife after seven years 

of drifting from job to job throughout the southwest. 
The embittered woman will only let him stay 

if he agrees to move in as a hired hand.

We watch a problematic clip of Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifter. I want to know what to make of the voyeur who observes violence but does nothing.

The professor launches into a mini-lecture on the worshipful male, whose job it is to return masculinity to the hero. 

No one is sadder than I am when the class ends. I come home and study my notes while I eat my supper. I wonder why I am doing this, but I can’t stop myself. Beside my dessert is my text book and begin to read a few of the unassigned essays from it. I

f I could change my life in any way, it would be to have time to do more film.


1 comment:

  1. ah ...thanks for letting me imaine myself in class beside you