Friday, July 11, 2008

Brokeback Mountain in Paris

I finally went into that new museum, musée du quai Branly (2006), to see the "Non-European" art (especially since I enjoyed that hidden basement of the Louvre so much). It was a fantastic choice. I was loving the masks from Cameroon and Mali and, since I forgot the camera, I was forced to sketch shitty likenesses.

Deeper into the museum I heard the gunshots and horse whinnies of an old Western movie. It was quite loud. Who the hell was watching a Hollywood Western in a Non-European art museum? Was it my imagination? No, those are gunshots. I had to investigate.

Upstairs was the "melange" section -where cultures collide. 16th Century Mayan art with clear Spanish influences, a model galleon some foreign street artist had made out of discarded coca cola cans, and a little theater with six screens that was comparing Asian cinema to American cinema.

I sat down to watch. It was quite a nice set up. There were three pairs of screens. The first pair was paused. It was some anime movie and, beside it, some space sci fi movie. In the second pair both of the movies were playing but they were only running the audio for one. The sound would switch back and forth so you could get the gist of both films. The movie on the right was Brokeback Mountain. The movie on the left --


Was that Tony Leung? Am I watching a Wong Kar-Wai film in Paris? Yes I am. That was a surprising-


Look at the third pair. I know those faces. I don't know the name of the American movie but that's Ernest Borgnine! Wait... the movie there comparing it to is... that Vietnamese Western/Melodrama that we didn't finish watching!!!

One nice and surprising thing that I have noticed about the students is that no one carries an iPod. No one is plugged in and they all walk and talk together.

Today we did the best poetry lesson that has been done in the last, oh... 150 years.
Morning: we taught all of the standard poetry terms -particularly iambic pentameter, and had them scan a classic and modern poem. Afterward they had to take a side on two questions:
1. Are classic or modern poets more talented?
2. Does close study of a poem ruin it or increase your appreciation?

Evening: Went into the Rodin museum for inspiration. They all wrote 20 line poems. Then we sat on the grass boulevard south of Napoleon's Tomb and made them condense the poem to 10 lines. Naturally, this was agonizing for them. Their reward for their hard work was to condense it into 2 lines.

Then we had them reconstruct those two lines as imabic pentameter.

A learning experience that has been informative, fun, and produced creative work.

1 comment:

Liz said...

Tears of the Black Tiger may induce narcolepsy if viewed all at once. It's merciful that they broke it into bits.
Say hello to Tony for me! Whoop Whoop WKW!s