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Description

This week’s play is

Othello

, and I would like you to watch the 1995 film directed by Oliver Parker and starring Laurence Fishburne and Kenneth Branagh. The 1995

Othello

is $3.99 to rent on Amazon Prime. The second link is to the movie on Desirée’s go-to website, which is free:

https://lookmovie.io/movies/view/0114057-othello-1995

Assignment

For this week, we will follow our standard format, taking relevant notes throughout the film and writing down details. Then, we are going to add a bit of personal response to the standard assignment. You should upload your chart to the Discussion tab. Since the personal response is just that – personal – you are welcome to email that to me individually at You can also include it in your document that you upload to Canvas if you feel comfortable doing that; it is totally up to you. All part of the assignment are due by 5 pm.

Choose one of the following prompts: (Note: you don’t have to keep the same “focus” as you did with

Much Ado

. You can choose whichever prompt you like.)

1.)

Postcolonial

. Othello is a black man who was probably born in a Muslim country, living as a “stranger” (the problematic legal term for an immigrant in the Renaissance, similar to the problematic legal term “alien” in contemporary US immigration policies) in the white, Catholic, republic of Venice. As you watch the film, note down ALL the scenes in the film that focus on race, religion, or nationality/regionality/place of origin/belonging.

Note especially moments in which characters are defending themselves against racism or xenophobia or responding to / critiquing racism or xenophobia.

Then, after you have watched all of the film and noted down all of the examples in each relevant scene, choose THREE of those scenes that you relate to personally in some way (you can indicate your choices simply by highlighting them in your Notes). Out of those three scenes, choose one. Write a ½ page on how you relate personally to the focus on race, religion, or nationality in the scene and why the focus on race, religion, or nationality in the scene spoke to you personally.

2.)

Gender Studies

. As you watch the film, note down ALL of the scenes in the film that focuses on the treatment of women or sexuality.

Note especially: moments in which women are being brave and heroic, moments in which women are critiquing double-standards, moments in which women are defending themselves or other women, moments in which men are speaking up against abuse and defending women.

Then, after you have watched all of the film and noted down all of the examples in each relevant scene, choose THREE of those scenes that speak to you in some way (you can indicate your choices simply by highlighting them in your Notes). Out of those three scenes, choose one. Write a ½ page on how you relate to the treatment of women or sexuality in the scene and why the treatment of women in the scene spoke to you personally.

3.)

Psychological

. As you watch the film, note down ALL the scenes in the film that focus on psychological underpinnings. Then, after you have watched all of the film and noted down all of the examples in each relevant scene, choose THREE of those scenes that you find intriguing personally in some way (you can indicate your choices simply by highlighting them in your Notes). Out of those three scenes, choose one. Write a ½ page on what you find intriguing about the psychological underpinnings in the scene and why the psychological underpinnings in the scene spoke to you personally. [Note: I’m not seeking any confessions here. The personal connection can be something as simple as knowing what it’s like to deal with jealousy or insecurity or even just being intrigued by plays and movies that explore characters’ psychological motives, like

The Joker

for instance.]

4.)

Additional approaches: Sociopolitical, Performance Studies, etc

. If you would like to choose a focus that prompts 1-3 don’t really allow for, feel free to do so. Just use the instructions and follow the format above to come up with a prompt that works for you. For instance, you may have been taking a Cultural Historical approach and focusing on the military and representations of soldiers. Feel free to keep doing so, taking notes throughout the film and then choosing the three notes you relate to the most and writing ½ page on how and why.

Reminders

The bulk of this assignment follows our standard format for each film. Write the time marker in the left column, and write your observations in the right column. Write down useful details for yourself – a few words from one of the lines, specifics about a character’s costume or an actor’s gesture, that sort of thing. The additional part of the assignment this week is to choose three scenes and write ½ page on one of the scenes, following the instructions in whichever prompt you choose.

Do not consult secondary sources.

Time marker Your notes on the

Othello

related to the interpretive focus you chose

  
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