Film Art

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Democracy, Open Space

Ecological literacy


Gloria Steinham

Film Art:

  1. Film as art: Creativity, Technology, and Business, 2
  2. The Significance of Film Form, 56
  3. Narrative as a Formal System, 78
  4. The Shot:Mise-en-Scene, 118,
  5. The Shot: Cinematography, 167
  6. The Relation of Shot to Shot Editing, 223
  7. Sound in Cinema, 269
  8. Summary: Style as a Formal System, 312
  9. Film Genres, 328
  10. Documentary, Experimental and Animated Films, 349
  11. Film Criticism: Simple Analyses, 396
  12. Film Art and Film History, 454.











CORE acronym








Media analysis









Site Map





WEAL acronym








Environmental literacy

the technique of simply explaining ecology fragile demo

The visual, cognitive, descriptive, analytical and synthetic understanding of a surrounding's ecology.

1) ecological imagination, 2) inquiry, 3) ecolacy, 4) Open Space & 5) film as media


"And through television they learn that the earth is theirs for the taking. The Result is a a generation of ecological yahoos without a clue why the color of the water in their rivers is related to the food supply, or why storms are becoming more severe as the planet warms."

David Orr, Ecological Literacy, p 85-86.

What is a sustainable operation from the view of environmental literacy?

"A sustainable society," offers David Orr "is one that satisfies its needs without jeopardizing the prospects of future generations."

(p. 23, Ecological Literacy. SUNY Press, 1992)

Excellent case studies on the web:

Quantum gravity a beautiful economy of explanatory power



Terms to know:

public ecology

literate, numerate, ecolate

Ecological laws & other words.

What is science?

Cases, see water and ecological problems.





The art and technology of films & filmmaking

What is artistic about film?

bok David Bordwell & Kristin Thompson, Film Art: An Introduction.

New York: McGraw Hill, 2010. 9th Edition.

Film Art:



Chapters in Six Parts

  1. Film as art: Creativity, Technology, and Business, 2
  2. The Significance of Film Form, 56
  3. Narrative as a Formal System, 78
  4. The Shot:Mise-en-Scene, 118,
  5. The Shot: Cinematography, 167
  6. The Relation of Shot to Shot Editing, 223
  7. Sound in Cinema, 269
  8. Summary: Style as a Formal System, 312
  9. Film Genres, 328
  10. Documentary, Experimental and Animated Films, 349
  11. Film Criticism: Simple Analyses, 396
  12. Film Art and Film History, 454.


Ross Gelbspan, The Heat is On, 1997 and Boiling Point, 2004. Media critic over climate change denial & disinformation.

landscape index learn words index learn photograph index

David Orr, Ecological Literacy. SUNY Press, 1992. p. 23.

The future is a difficult concept for many to apprehend. Yes, trees should be planted today for tomorrow, seeds may require a season to germinate and bear fruit. The long view of five to forty-five years is one idea of a reasonable future to plan for. But in the global warming context a century or more is far more time than we have ever thought of for planning how to restore a system to functional effectiveness. There are “no regrets” solutions that can be undertaken now at little or no expense that will save money in the long run. Efficient transportation, heating, refrigeration, insulation and alternate energy industries can be stimulated to provide antidotes to the global climate change and the carbon dioxide buildup and consequent warming problem.


Critical of the idea

“the possibility of balance and permanence in a world where we experience precisely the opposite”

“already changing climate patterns.”

One hundred square miles of rain forest are being lost each day. Species are going extinct at the unprecedented rate of three per hour.”

“In search of comfort, convenience and material wealth, we have begun to sacrifice not only our own health, but also the health of all species. We are starting to exhaust the capacity of the very systems that sustain us, and now we must deal with the consequences.”

p. 3


Connections among: nature, technology, values, power, and culture:

# spheres constraints  
1 nature space, water, energy, capacity, wildlife, food
2 technology energy, structural, material
breadth of consensus vs. sharpness of funds
4 values
ethical norms, ecological justice atomism
language, habits, food, habitation, & accurate recognition

So what is the connection?

Critique of widespread faith in progress that lies at the heart of technological sustainability:

“ they largely fail to deliver the particulars involved in making a transition to a more sustainable world grappling with the issues it raises.”

Adequate design is redefined as
“People committed to changing their own communities.”

p. 4.

Technological versus Ecological sustainability contrasted:

[“..they embody two very different visions.” ]

p. 5.

Technological means “every problem has either a technological answer or a market solution”

David Orr,

“It is about expert interventions in which the planet’s medical symptoms are carefully stabilized...”

p. 4

Ecological sustainability “is the task of finding alternatives to the practices that got us into trouble in the first place, it is necessary to rethink agriculture, shelter, energy use, urban design, transportation, economics, community patterns, resource use forestry, the importance of wilderness, and our central values.”

p. 5. (top).

The idea of sustainability from OUR COMMON FUTURE

Sustainability is defined as:
“development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”“This prescription (in the fine print details) implies a highly technical approach based on more and better management and technology.”

“a cornucopian spiral of material, technological, and economic expansion.”

p. 5.

“our material wealth and physical well-being depend on nature’s own health.”

critics of development

“Is technological sustainability simply a kinder gentler form of reductionism to which we do a more efficient job of using up, accounting for and managing nature?”

p. 6.

Wolfgang Sachs

“a reality that contains mountains of data, but no people The data do not explain....”

“they provide knowledge that is faceless and placeless, an abstraction that carries a considerable cost: it consigns the realities of culture, power, and virtue to oblivion.”


Technological Sustainability, “seems to fit well into existing structures of power”

Narmada Valley Dam, India

[ not unlike: Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze, Stanislaus River, Dinosaur National Monument and Glen Canyon Dam, TVA, Hetch Hetchy, etc.] JVS.

social justice and technological virtues are on each side in the debate to flood 10 thousand villagers, forest and wildlife

p. 6.

“fine tune the global interface between people and the and the biosphere,... while displaying a naive optimism concerning our ability to manage planetary systems.”


“requires limits to technology, limits to material wants, limits to the stress placed on the biosphere and limits to hubris.”

p. 7.

Four characteristics

David Orr’s four attributes of ecological sustainability accounting for why we screw up a good thing.

restated by JVS

  1. people are finite and fallible
    rebuilt only from the bottom up
    traditional cultural knowledge derived from place is crucial to effective designs
  2. the nature is a source for modeling what succeeds.

    “the true harvest of evolution is encoded on nature’s design.”
    “Nature is more than a bank of resources to draw on: it is the best model we have for all the design problems we face.”

    “Such redesign --
    attending carefully to scale
    community self-reliance,
    traditional knowledge,
    and the wisdom of nature’s own designs
    -- requires patience and humility.”

    “It is a search for the nitty gritty design details of a sustainable culture, one grounded in the texture of our everyday lives.”

p. 7

The rest of chapter one.

critique of the growing dependence of homes on centralized delivery of essential services

p. 8

Sean Wellesley Miller
Towards a Symbiotic Architecture

“Infrastructure for the provision of food, fuel, water, and building materials.”

Crucial, unseen, yet critical 1/12th and 1/3d

-- “One BTU in twelve is used to heat and cool the US building stock”

“On average it takes as much energy to heat and cool the US building stock for three years as it took to build it in the first place.”

p. 8

Ecological Design, Cowan & Van der Ryn.

Class and Film Attendance suggestions and policies:

Everyday you come to class and actively participate you earn a fraction of the 15% to 20% of YOUR GRADE that is attributed to class participation.

Each film we see is the equivalent of two classes, but in addition to your seeing films and adopting a film to promote, the class will meet two times as a group at one of the four different afternoon film discussion sessions in Bush-120.

  1. Promoting an adopted film and then see films:
  2. Panel discussions:
    • Terry Tempest WilliamsOpen Space
    • David Orr–Ecological Literacy
    • David Bordwell & Kristin Thompson–Film Art


Survival kit for any class.

Going to class may seem like a personal choice. But this decision amounts to a two letter grade advantage, for regular class attendance. In addition to improving your grade, there are three reasons why a choice not to attend class is detrimental to your performance. These can be thought of as academic, real world and personal reasons for getting to class on time. Academically those who miss classes usually do much worse than those who regularly pay attention to what is said and discussed in the classroom or in the field. Participating in class can assure you of doing well. Another academic consideration is that I, like many other professors, consider the classroom a participatory arena where you are a necessary player. This is because books and articles are frequently either wrong or difficult to interpret.

Class discussions will often direct you a clearer and better understanding of the concepts you need to put into your papers and projects.

There are real world reasons for diligent attendance are important.

  • When you seek a job, professional school training or other career opportunity you will be expected to be punctual and give accurate accounts of what you know.
  • Consider every class as an opportunity for you to practice "real world" skills without the penalties you would find at work or in any responsible profession.

Finally, personal difficulties are bound to arise for you or anyone during the term. These personal matters may cause you to miss the course meetings you are being charged for. So a poor attendance record is only made worse if for some reason personal problems arise during the term.


I can not award you points for failure to attend class for what ever the reason. You earn points by showing that you have read the assignments and by participating in class activities.