Film Studies

Cinema Classics Seminar: All That Jazz

Thursday, July 18, 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm  
Instructor: Maurizio Giammarco, Ph.D., Intellectual Heritage Program, Temple University

All That Jazz (1979) is a surreal spectacle depicting the hectic professional life, promiscuous love life, and death-infatuated fantasy life of a celebrated but insecure choreographer-filmmaker named Joe Gideon (Roy Scheider). Director/co-screenwriter Bob Fosse imbues this semi-autobiographical work with the spirit of Fellini’s , and like that Italian masterpiece, Fosse’s brilliantly stylized and kinetically riveting musical is almost two films. The first is akin to a documentary about the making of a Broadway show by an exceptionally inventive choreographer and filmmaker; the second is a thoroughly Felliniesque series of dream sequences/musical numbers in which the women in Gideon’s life castigate him in song and dance.

All That Jazz has been described as a musical film that people who don’t like musicals can also enjoy. In part, this is because it contains less singing and dancing than many films in the genre; but the real reason is that the non-musical portions are so revealing of who Bob Fosse was while avoiding the clichés of the artist wholly as a raging beast or misunderstood genius. Gideon is capable of feeling deep regret and great appreciation, has people who love him, and also happens to be enormously talented. For these reasons, All That Jazz works as art and as entertainment, as a musical and as an anti-musical. Join us to explore the dichotomies at the heart of this work by—and about—a truly meteoric talent.

Course Information

Location: Multimedia Room

$25 for members, $35 for non-members; includes admission to the film

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