FAVz050 Film Stars and Stardom

Filozofická fakulta
podzim 2014
2/0/0. 5 kr. Ukončení: zk.
Martin Shingler (přednášející), doc. Mgr. Petr Szczepanik, Ph.D. (zástupce)
Mgr. Šárka Gmiterková, Ph.D. (pomocník)
Mgr. Luděk Havel, Ph.D. (pomocník)
prof. PhDr. Jiří Voráč, Ph.D.
Ústav filmu a audiovizuální kultury - Filozofická fakulta
Dodavatelské pracoviště: Ústav filmu a audiovizuální kultury - Filozofická fakulta
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Cíle předmětu
At the end of the course students should be able to: understand and explain basic concepts of star studies, as well as practices and histories of film stardom.
  • Film Stars and Stardom
  • Lecturer: Martin Shingler (University of Sunderland), author of Star Studies: A Critical Guide (2012) and co-editor of the BFI Film Stars series
  • Lecture 1: Stars Studies Theory, Part 1: Mapping the field
  • This lecture maps out the field of star studies and identifies the most influential works associated with it. In particular, it explores the seminal influence of Richard Dyer’s book Stars (1979), looks at some of the work that pre-dated this publication (e.g., Edgar Morin’s Les Stars, 1957) and considers how other scholars have subsequently taken star studies into new directions, such as Jackie Stacey with her monograph Star Gazing (1994) and Karen Hollinger with The Actress: Hollywood Acting and the Female Star (2006). This lecture demonstrates that during the 1990s and 2000s, star studies became a significant sub-disciplinary field within film studies, largely through the publication of a series of edited collections that substantially increased the number and scope of academic studies of film stars and stardom: namely, Christine Gledhill’s Stardom: Industry of Desire (1991), Ginette Vincendeau’s Stars and Stardom in French Cinema (2000), Bruce Babington’s British Stars and Stardom (2001), Thomas Austin & Martin Barker’s Contemporary Hollywood Stardom (2003), Andy Willis’s Film Stars: Hollywood and Beyond (2004), Tytti Soila’s Stella Encounters (2009), and Mary Farquhar & Yingjin Zhang’s Chinese Film Stars (2010).
  • Reading:
  • Martin Shingler, Star Studies: A Critical Guide (2012), chapter 1, pp. 8-36.
  • Christine Gledhill (ed.) Stardom: Industry of Desire (1991), Introduction, pp. xiii-xx, and chapter 11, pp.132-40 and/or chapter 12, pp. 141-63.
  • Screening: A Star is Born (George Cukor, 1954).
  • Lecture 2: Stars Studies Theory, Part 2: Historicising Hollywood’s Industrial System of Stardom
  • This lecture continues to explore the legacy of Richard Dyer’s work on film stars by examining a radical shift away from his approach, one that adopts a more historicised understanding of the industrial conditions of stardom. This will included detailed examination of the work of scholars such as Danae Clark, Barry King and Paul McDonald.
  • Reading:
  • Barry King, ‘Articulating Stardom,’ in Christine Gledhill (ed.) Stardom: Industry of Desire (1991), chapter13, pp. 167-82.
  • Paul McDonald, The Star System (2000), Introduction and chapter 1, pp. 1-15.
  • Screening: Singin’ in the Rain (Sidney Donen and Gene Kelly, 1952)
  • Lecture 3: A History of Film Stardom, Part 1: the Studio Era, 1920-60
  • This lecture is chiefly concerned with the economics and business practices of stardom and the ways in which stars operated within the industrial context of film production, distribution and exhibition between 1920 and 1960: that is, as workers, commodities and capital. It sets out some of the main characteristics of the Hollywood star system, noting how stars have functioned in the studio era. In part, this is concerned with the terms and conditions of the contracts between stars and studios but it is also about casting practices (particularly typecasting) and the use of star vehicles as a means of stabilizing demand for film among movie-goers. This includes a case study of Bette Davis and her battles with Warner Bros. during the 1930s.
  • Reading:
  • Martin Shingler, Star Studies: A Critical Guide (2012), chapter 4, pp. 92-120.
  • Paul McDonald, The Star System (2000), chapter 3, pp. 40-70.
  • Screening: Dangerous (Alfred E. Green, 1935)
  • Lecture 4: A History of Film Stardom, Part 2: The Post-Studio Era, 1960-2010
  • This lecture looks at how film stars have operated since 1960 as freelance labour and, in some cases, have gained greater levels of control over their work by becoming directors and producers, often directing or producing their own star vehicles (e.g., Clint Eastwood). Whilst this lecture is largely focused on Hollywood, it does also draw comparisons with Bollywood, discussing in some detail the work of star turned star-producer Shah Rukh Khan. In addition to discussing the film stars of the post-studio era, this lecture also examines the roles of talent agencies in Hollywood, such as MCA (Music Corporation of America), the William Morris Agency and CAA (Creative Artists Agency). In addition, the role of publicists and public relations companies are also considered here, particularly the way in which they mediate between the star and the media (e.g., press and TV) on order to protect the highly lucrative brand identities of major film stars. This lecture includes, as a case study, an examination of the career of Tom Cruise, exploring the way in which his star identity was formed in the early 1980s, how his image deepened in the late 1980s and early 1990s as he acquired higher levels of stardom and celebrity, and also how he and his team have attempted to manage his image during the late 1990s and early 2000s in the face of revelatory news stories and gossip, particularly after the widespread use of the Internet as a source of star information.
  • Reading:
  • Paul McDonald, The Star System (2000), chapter 4, pp. 71-110. P. David Marshall, Celebrity and Power: Fame in Contemporary Culture (1997), chapter 4, pp. 79-118.
  • Screening: Cocktail (Roger Donaldson, 1988)
  • Lecture 5: Manufacturing Stars and Stardom
  • Building on the theories and histories set out in the previous lectures, this session explores the dynamics of the star system, looking at how film stars achieve success in the commercial film industry. This involves a consideration of the requirements of stardom, the skills and attributes required to become a film star, the economic benefits of having stars in movies, as well as the typical career trajectories of film stars. This includes another look at the career of Bette Davis, including the peaks and troughs of her long career (from 1931 to 1989). This lecture also considers the ways that stars are discovered, developed and monitored in order to ensure commercial success. In particular, it considers the importance of acting talent for a range of film stars working in different film industries and genres.
  • Reading:
  • Martin Shingler, Star Studies: A Critical Guide (2012), chapter 3, pp. 65-91.
  • Christine Geraghty ‘Re-examining stardom: questions of texts, bodies and performance,’ in Christine Gledhill & Linda Williams (eds), Reinventing Film Studies (2000), pp. 183-201.
  • Screening: What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (Robert Aldridge, 1962)
  • Lecture 6: Unstable Symbols: On the representativeness of film stars
  • This lecture considers the cultural significance of film stars, noting the ways in which various studies have argued that a particular film star incarnates or embodies ideological values, often defining specific moments in history. This includes a re-examination of Richard Dyer’s work, especially his book Heavenly Bodies (1987), and the way that it has promoted an approach to stardom in which stars are considered as ‘embodiments of the social categories in which people are placed and through which they have to make sense of their lives, and indeed through which we make our lives – categories of class, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and so on’ (Dyer 1987, 18). Much work on stars has been developed out of this notion of stars as embodiments of social types. This lecture not only considers some of this work but also questions the notion of stars as representative of social types and historical moments, arguing that film stars have been lumbered with a heavy burden of representation that few, if any, can support. This lecture includes a case study on the transnational work of Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and the way in which she has been used as a global ambassador for a modern middle-class India in the twenty-first century.
  • Reading:
  • Richard Dyer, Heavenly Bodies: Film Stars and Society (1987), Introduction, pp. 1-18.
  • Martin Shingler, Star Studies: A Critical Guide (2012), chapter 6, pp. 149-80.
  • Screening: My Week with Marilyn (Simon Curtis, 2011)
  • Christine Gledhill (ed.): Stardom: Industry of Desire. London: Routledge 1991.
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Informace učitele
Block course in English, 10-13 November, room C34, FF MU.

Teaching schedule:
10 Nov., 14.10–15.45
11 Nov., 12:30–15:45
12 Nov., 12:30–15:45
13 Nov., 9:10–10:45
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