Film to be selected by the student.
Due: Tuesday September 14 by noon.

Director, Ingmar Bergman, perhaps, best summarizes the relation between directorial intention and the construction of meaning in film:

Thus if I am asked what I would like the general purpose of my films to be, I would reply that I want to be one of the artists in the cathedral on the great plain. I want to make a dragon’s head, an angel, a devil – or perhaps a saint – out of stone. It does not matter which; it is the sense of satisfaction which counts. Regardless of whether I believe or not, whether I am a Christian or not, I would play my part in the collective building of the cathedral.

This sentiment, expressed metaphorically, articulates the director’s desire to aid in the establishment of our foundational constructs, the "devils" and "angels" through which we navigate our day to day existence. Bergman acknowledges the way in which films are able to ground our experiences and shape our world view; they give us the possibility to explore meaning and a means to negotiate life’s many dilemmas.

In your essay, analyze a film of your choice with a specific emphasis on the director’s understanding of "Free Will" and "Human Nature" as it is portrayed in the film.

Some of the issues you may wish to consider are:

Free Will: Are we free to decide our destiny and, if so, is this freedom a blessing or a curse? Is freedom of choice a manifestation of evil or does it represent an unfettered liberty that permits a self-realization? Are we the victims of the fall or the progeny of a "fortunate fall"?

Human Nature: What is the relationship between our corporeality – sensuality, sexuality, mortality, aesthetic creation – and moral and ethical living? Is our embodied "imperfection" an expression of our humanity or a material expression of our corrupted state? Are our choices forever flawed by our "imperfect" embodied existence? Or do our physical bodies enhance our ability to choose?

You may further augment these concepts with material from the course lectures, readings and assignments.