Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Preparing The Class

I have never taught the film Pan's Labyrinth before. In fact, at the time I decided to teach it this summer, I had only seen it once, and been impressed by its richness and mixture of lyricism and horror. So this past weekend and continuing into this week, I began to study the film, watching it twice thus far, with difficulty, since the technology of this new television set, with its HDMI and multiple remotes presents a number of difficulties for someone who gives up in the face of technological snags rather quickly. But I persevered, and was pleased to find that the film rewards study. Tomorrow I will watch it again, and with any luck, make up the study questions and perhaps the prompt. Or maybe that will take yet another watching.
The order of the class is another question. Usually, I save for last a text that has been written about enough that I can find two essays with something interesting to say about it. Usually, the film is smack in the middle of the class because it takes up the most time and presents difficulties of its own since students have not studied or even thought about film critically before, for the most part. It takes a while to get into.
But this time there is a problem, since the only text about which things of value have really been written of the three I am teaching is the film. There is extremely little written about Butler's story "Bloodchild" that I have found useful or appropriate to give to students, maybe one essay and an interview with Butler. I could do that. It would probably be the best thing to do, but there are two excellent short essays about the film, each presenting a very different angle on the text, and they would be useful in a paper. Since the class is only eight weeks long, I might be sorry if I do that though. The story is short, and it will not take that long to discuss. Perhaps there have been more worthy essays written about it since I last taught it a couple of years ago. I will check.

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