The Film Appreciation Course 2007 (FA) - Part 1: The Experience

by meeta | 18 comments | 6,442 views | Add comment

This is the first in a series of posts about the film appreciation course I recently did. This post describes the overall experience at the course. Later posts will have details on the structure of the course, the content, more on the movies screened, etc. (Update: The second and third parts, discussing the movies and the lectures have now been posted.)

Exactly a month after we said our goodbyes to the participants, the lecturers, the organizers, the chai-waala - Jaggu and the handout-waala - Shyam, I sit here trying to summarize what I experienced in the 4 weeks that I spent at FTII and NFAI. Yes, I learnt a whole lot, we watched about 70 movies…but it is the overall experience that made it all worth it.Getting abstract, am I? Well, that is one thing I have certainly picked up from the course. Abstractness can be found in the simplest things (movies, scenes, shots) and the most abstract movies can be described by a profound yet simple one-liner.One write-up is not enough to narrate what was imparted, processed and retained in that one month. So, in this post, I will just give a gist of what the course was all about, a laundry list of the movies we saw, etc.

As you would know from the schedule below, very broadly, the course content can be categorized into lectures and screenings. The mystery of mise-en-scéne was unraveled. And accept it or not, melodrama too has theory. There was a lot of history and technicalities like editing, cameramanship, and sound design. Many lecturers inspired awe because of their knowledge about the topic at hand, and the passion for movies that their eyes conveyed. Of course there was also the mandatory school-childlike nicknaming of lecturers, the irresistable complaining about rambling professors, and the inevitable skipping of classes that followed.

The choice of screenings was designed to cover all genres and geographical regions, as many classics as possible, and most of the legendary directors. Along with the task of covering this huge range there was an obvious attempt to have some connection with the lecture topic of the day. My favorite example is watching Citizen Kane after the day’s lectures on “visual composition” and “camera techniques”.

When I took off for the course, little did I know that what I would remember most fondly would be the relationships that I made in my time there. My sort-of “statement of purpose” in the application form mentioned ‘introduction to technicalities of film-making’ and ‘exposure to world cinema’. And while those two purposes were sufficiently satisfied, it’s the wide variety of people that I met, that I am still in awe of.

There were 72 registered participants literally from all around the country. In fact, we had a film-maker from Sri Lanka amongst us. To say that they were from varied backgrounds would be an understatement. From anthropologists to documentary film-makers, from people involved in mainstream feature films to a Priest, from people working on advertisements to an art historian, from a biochemist to a mathematician turned professor who is working on the connection between science fiction and theology. I would like to say: name it and we had it.

To be continued…
(Update: The second and third parts, discussing the movies and the lectures have now been posted.)

- meeta, a part of the audience

Comments (18)

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meetu:

Hi Geetha, am glad you liked the write up. Hope I described what you do appropriately :). Your comments are more than welcome...it would be great to have a discussion here.

DesiPundit » Archives » film appreciat:

[...] shares her experience at the intensive one-month-long film appreciation course conducted by FTII, Pune. [Hat tip: Navin] As you would know from the schedule below, very broadly, the course content can [...]

meetu:

Thank you Filmer! Have no clue how that happened, because the links were working when I had posted the article. Anyways, have fixed it.

Arcopol:

After refusing two job offers and getting myself all set for this course, I received a mailer saying I was not selected for the course. Maybe I'm too young or I don't know, the reason was never mentioned. I finally found work at a website as a journalist.
But its fascinating to get an insight into life during the course. And I'm so looking forward to the course next year, maybe I'm too young right now. :)
I'm really looking forward to the forthcoming posts!

meetu:

Hey Acropol, Congratulations on your job!! Which site do you write for?

At the course, I don't think there were too many people under 25. Thanks for stopping by.

Arcopol:

Hey Meetu!
Thanks! Yes, presumably so, I don't think they would be taking in many people below 25 yrs old. I'll be doing the course sometime though! :)
I write for Indiantelevision.com, based in Mumbai.
We recently hosted the News Television Awards in Delhi and we do the Indian Telly Awards as well.
I write about the advt industry, TV channels and more!

meetu:

Thank you, Subrat!

meetu:

@siddharth, i don't remember exactly but i think around a month before the start of course.

meetu:

Well, mira...The rooms are 'alright' clean. the loo was reasonably clean in the room that i stayed in.

Anyway, you are having such a good time outside or with new friends you have made, in the room that the 'state' of the room won't matter!

Good luck and enjoy!

meetu:

aaah, i got a room in the TV hostel (it is bang opposite FTII where classes are conducted) and those rooms had attached bathrooms. Don't know about the hostels in the FTII campus.

meetu:

well, siddharth this is the only one i know about.

meetu:

Well siddharth, they do not tell us why they have selected a particular movie. Also, unfortunately, very few movies actually had time reserved for follow-up discussions.

meetu:

Oh...That's too bad Viswanath! Oh well...maybe some other time...

flowers:

you are having such a good time outside or with new friends you have made, in the room that the ’state’ of the room won’t matter!

Suhani Sharma:

Hi,

I am Suhani from Pune. I am applying for Film Appreciation Course for this June. I have a query. In the application form there is a box at the last page for Statement of Purpose which should be at least of 1000 pages , however the space is not enough to write 1000 words . Should I write it on separate page and attach it ?

Please reply .
Thanks.

meetu:

@Suhani Though I am no authority, I'd think it should be fine to attach separate pages.

Geo Sebastian:

Hello Can you give me tips to fill the form to get into the course successfully?

meetu:

@Geo I'd say be honest and let your passion for films show. Though, you must know I have no clue what the criteria is.

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