Portrait of the Artist

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In this course, we will study representations of the artist in films. The artist may be a painter, a writer, an actor, a dancer, a musician, an architect, a photographer, or a filmmaker. A portrait of the artist is often an inquiry into the form and meaning and uses of art, a reflection on what art is and what art does. We will look at films from different countries and periods portraying artists in different ways—films such as Chaplin’s The Circus and Cocteau’s Blood of a Poet, Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera and Fellini’s , 42nd Street and The Band Wagon, Satyajit Ray’s Apu trilogy and Abbas Kiarostami’s Koker trilogy, Carné and Prévert’s Children of Paradise and Victor Erice’s Sun of the Quince Tree, Angelopoulos’s Travelling Players and Jia Zhangke’s Platform, Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon and Gillian Armstrong’s My Brilliant Career, Renoir’s La Chienne and French Cancan, Mizoguchi’s Five Women Around Utamaro and Ugetsu, Bergman’s Magician and Persona, Antonioni’s La Notte and Blow-Up, Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev and Mirror, Godard’s Contempt and In Praise of Love—and we will examine what they have to tell us about the character of artists and the nature of art, its means and its ends, and its situation in society.