Another short exercise that is useful to teach audio-visual analysis is the remixed trailer. In some courses, I use this to set up a full length film, while in others I devise a whole module around the work of remix (this is what I am doing this semester).
One 30 second clip can generate 30 minutes of discussion, though the approach works well with a few remixed trailers watched consecutively. While the films are familiar to the students generally, the element of defamiliarization is once again at play because their expectations have shifted.
Discussions of these remixed trailers often entail considerations of genre markers, trailers as forming expectations, the role of sound, the power (and invisibility) of ideology, and the role of memory (many students will reveal that they found Mary Poppins creepy as children) and pleasure.
I often teach this clip on the second day of SC: Film to establish the most basic tenets of critical viewing. While we don’t have time to watch the longer clip today, the next few scenes establish the subjective narration of the film, something that I teach them was clearly set up from the opening credit sequence. The opening credit sequence stands as an excellent example of the importance of the body and affect when dealing critically with images and image analysis.
Also, please note that working with older, avant garde (more dangerous territory), or foreign/art cinema is often idea for initial work with images, as defamiliarization allows for critical distance. I often develop a discussion of habituated recognition, though not necessarily in those terms for freshmen, to fruitfully explore expectations and the breaking of expectations. In fact, based off the breaking of expectations, they inevitably construct a pretty thorough map of how mainstream American cinema functions.
Here is a short piece that I wrote for the Tell Us a Story blog about mothering an egg in high school and my never-ending love of the Replacements.
visuals are excerpts of “Weather Beaten “Melody” (one of my absolute favorite cartoons) and Los Shakers for the sound that cuts in and out as the bee plays the record with his ass.