Full course description
Instructor Mick LaSalle, SF Chronicle Film Critic
What does a film director do? How and why do directors approach the same material in very different ways? In this workshop we will compare and contrast the divergent choices of influential directors by studying clips from films in which different directors presented the same story and situation—and often the same dialogue. Among the films and topics under discussion will be Romeo and Juliet adaptations, the various “A Star Is Born” films, the three versions of “The Maltese Falcon,” and the two adaptations of the Philip Barry play “Holiday”. Through a mix of discussion, close viewing, and careful comparisons, students will come to see more clearly the hundreds of moment-by-moment choices individual directors make. They will learn how these choices impact the narrative, energy, and aesthetic of the film. Along the way, students will be developing and enhancing their own sense of what makes for bad or mediocre or great direction.
Workshops are taught online through Zoom and Canvas. Students will need a computer or smart phone with webcam and microphone, internet and web streaming capacity, and the Zoom application installed to their device.
Mick LaSalle is the film critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, where he has worked since 1985. He is the author of two books on pre-censorship Hollywood, "Complicated Women: Sex and Power in Pre-Code Hollywood" and "Dangerous Men: Pre-Code Hollywood and the Birth of the Modern Man." Both were books of the month on Turner Classic Movies and "Complicated Women" formed the basis of a TCM documentary in 2003, narrated by Jane Fonda. He has written introductions for a number of books, including Peter Cowie's "Joan Crawford: The Enduring Star" (2009). He was a panelist at the Berlin Film Festival and has served as a panelist for eight of the last ten years at the Venice Film Festival. His latest book, a study of women in French cinema, is "The Beauty of the Real: What Hollywood Can Learn from Contemporary French Actresses."