As you’ve no doubt discovered over the course of this semester, happy or “Hollywood” endings are not nearly as common in foreign films as they are in their American-made counterparts. Why is this? As food for thought, review the second chapter of Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need. In it, if you recall from Discussion Board Post Two, the author, a successful Hollywood screenwriter, describes ten movie formulas to which most corporate films made in this country subscribe. Find one that comes close to a film you’ve watched this semester to use as the basis of your discussion.Next, read the article “The Tyranny of the Happy Ending,” by Laura Miller. Consider especially her concluding remarks:”The truth is that we all lose sometimes, and sooner or later all of us run out of time. Few of us (besides the terminally self-important) want to wallow exclusively in stories that emphasize this fact, but they are nevertheless essential. By not embracing the tragic aspect of life, we not only lie to ourselves, we also begin to lose our ability to see the significance of a human life that transcends mere happiness. By treating art as if its only job is to cheer us up and on, we make it, and ourselves, a lot smaller.”Note that this comment of hers focuses primarily on the individual response to and impact of the “Hollywood ending.” How do you explain the prevalence of the happy ending and the almost complete disappearance of tragedy in movies made in Hollywood? What effect do Hollywood endings have on a larger, collective or societal scale? In other words, in what ways, if any, might happy endings anesthetize the masses and, on a subconscious level, discourage viewers from thinking about, let alone questioning, the “status quo”–the way things are, rather than the way things could be? Is this a bad thing? (You may, at this point, also want to review the chapter reading assignments on the prevalence and purposes of realism in Third World cinema.) In what ways can foreign films offer a different viewpoint and, in so doing, “enlarge” and “enrich” our sense of the human experience beyond what Hollywood has to offer? Which films from those assigned this semester most affected you and why? In what ways might foreign films help shed light on such conventions in film-making as the “Hollywood ending” that we might otherwise not even notice, let alone examine?Your final draft should be between 750-1000 words in length (more or less).It should have:your name and identifying information on your course and instructor;a title that signals your focus;an introductory paragraph that establishes your purpose and organizes your approach;a body that incorporates supporting evidence from assigned readings and movies; anda conclusion that summarizes and synthesizes your thoughts and discoveries.
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