Invited by Iranian National School of Cinema

Jonathan Rosenbaum kicked off advanced courses on “Film Studies: Theory, criticism and analysis”

The first round of advanced courses on “Film Studies: Theory, criticism, and analysis” with the presence of the accepted applicants in the Iranian National School of Cinema Entrance Exam kicked off.

The first round of advanced courses on “Film Studies: theory, criticism, and analysis” with the presence of Jonathan Rosenbaum, internationally renowned film critic, and the applicants began on July 17th. Rosenbaum as the first instructor of the course introduced the film studies “methodology and film criticism” topic.

During this session which was held by the presence of the trainees whom most of them are Cinema graduates, Dr. Rouhollah Hosseini, Head of the Iranian National School of Cinema welcomed the instructor and the students. Furthermore, he said “film studies, is a course which is devised and defined zealously and enthusiastically in 270 hours and for a nine-month period. I am glad that the course is going to be started by Jonathon Rosenbaum and I wish this training course would be fruitful for the cinema and film criticism.”

After Dr. Hosseini concluded his short speech, Rosenbaum explained his approach toward film criticism and continued with some accounts and memoirs of his critique on one of Orson Welles films and his friendship with him. Then he kept on with defining what film criticism, a good criticism and a bad one is and then he elaborated some related topics to theory, criticism and analysis.

During his speech, Rosenbaum implied that film criticism is more like a dialogue, and said: I think criticism is similar to a dialogue; a dialogue which had been in existence before the critic, and he involves in the debate from the midst of this dialogue, and the critic’s role is to continue or direct the conversation or add something to it; even when the critic leaves, the conversation continues.

Then, Rosenbaum told about his first film criticism and how he met Orson Welles for the first time: “I was living in Paris and Orson had entered the Cinema recently I wanted to write down my own first criticism. I wrote a letter to the Welles’ Studio and I informed them of my intention. I wrote a draft that night and I finished it up at 7 in the morning. A few minutes later, the phone ranged. When I picked it up, a woman invited me to the Studio to meet Mr. Welles and eat lunch with him.”

Rosenbaum kept on: “I was really surprised and I went to the studio and met Welles. My first question was why you invited me for lunch. And he told me that I was really busy and I did not have time to write you back. So, you see, I made my relationship with him. And then, sometime later, I witnessed Hemingway encountered with Welles which was not very good at first but it turned into a fragile friendship.”

By showing a film which he made about Orson Welles and referring to the difference between written and visual criticism, the critic said: “Presenting document and expressing reasons in criticizing a work of art is the most important thing in examining a film or a work of art. And if this criticism done visually, presenting a valid document to the audience is necessary and if it is written the explanation should be comprehensive in a way that leaves no points or question in the mind of the viewer. In fact, criticism is about talking about a point which is available and understandable for the audience. But one of the

mistakes and downsides in the realm of criticism is that the critics talk about the phenomenon in the film which are mostly out of the audience reach.

At the end of his first session and workshop for the advanced courses of the “film studies: theory, criticism and analysis”, Rosenbaum said: a good critique is a criticism in which the reader could not easily understand through it that the critic liked the movie or not. I think a good critique is the one that the critic does not merely tell whether the film is good or bad but he should present documents and evidence that why a film is good or bad or to whom the film is appropriate and to whom not.

In this course topics such as “The Principles of Criticism”, “The Concept and the Methodology”, “Theory in Cinema”, “Pathology of Film Critique in Iranian Cinema”, “Aesthetics of Contemporary Iran and the World Cinema”, “Narration and Narratology”, “Narration in Iran’s Tradition”, “The Concept of Genre”, “Genre in the History of Cinema”, “Genre in the History of Iranian Cinema”, “ and interdisciplinary topics such as “Cinema and Psychology”, “Cinema, Politics, and Society”, and “Cinema and Philosophy” will be discussed.

In addition to Rosenbaum, a couple of Iranian and Foreign film critics will teach in this nine-month course.

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