Thursday, July 8, 2021, 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
ON SITE: $25 for members, $35 for non-members
REMOTE CLASSROOM: $15 for members, $20 for non-members
Instructor: Jennifer Fleeger, Ph.D., Media and Communication Studies, Ursinus College
It’s hard to think of a movie with a simpler plot yet more elaborate interpretative palette than Steven Spielberg’s 1975 classic, Jaws. Variously described over the years as a metaphor for environmental collapse, the Watergate scandal, and even political responses to the pandemic, Jaws is nonetheless the textbook definition of a Hollywood “high-concept” film: giant shark attacks tourist town on the Fourth of July. Yet the novel’s author, Peter Benchley, says he never set out to write a “one-note horror story,” nor did Spielberg create one for the screen (indeed, the film’s famous leitmotif consists of two notes!).
This seminar dives deep into the film’s history, addressing industry folklore about technological mishaps, casting near-misses, and marketing mayhem. We will talk about its influence on the American blockbuster in terms of both style and strategy, and the sequels it spawned. But we will also provide some of the roadmaps developed by film scholars so that those of us watching Jaws for the second, third, or . . . fourteenth time might get something more out of the experience. For instance, what changes when we read Jaws as a buddy film rather than a monster movie? What do the film’s three male adventurers reveal about conceptions of American masculinity? What might the collaboration between Spielberg and John Williams (one that has persisted for decades beyond Jaws) tell us about creative working relationships? How do the film’s innovative editing and sound design contribute to its suspense? Whatever lens you select for this viewing, it’s sure to be a scream watching and discussing Jaws in the theater, together again.
Just want to see the movie? Additional screening dates and showtimes will be announced on Tuesday, June 29.
Cinema Classics Seminars offer an entertaining and engaging way to learn more about some of the true classics of world cinema. All students receive an introductory lecture before the film and a guided discussion after the film. In addition, those who attend the seminar on site at BMFI receive a ticket to see it on the big screen, as well as popcorn and a drink.
Please note: There are two ways to attend in this seminar:
Please email BMFI education coordinator Jill Malcolm with any questions.