Sunday, 29 March 2009

Science of Watchmen, War Films, plus Mira Nair, from YouTube EDU

Film Studies For Free is grateful to Peter Suber of Open Access News for the tip-off that YouTube has launched a new channel to facilitate access to video material submitted by universities and colleges: YouTube EDU.

The new channel makes it much easier than before to search for and access high-quality scholarly material related to film and media studies, FSFF has found. As Wired Campus also reports, 'The new section makes it possible to find out which college-produced video is most popular'.

The winner in the popularity stakes so far just happens to be an interview [embedded above] with a University of Minnesota [physics] professor discussing the science behind the new movie Watchmen.' In the video, Professor James Kakalios discusses how he was asked to add a physics perspective to the upcoming Warner Brothers movie, Watchmen. Kakalios explores how quantum mechanics can explain Dr. Manhattan's super human powers in the film, and how he came to become an expert on the topic of the physics of superheroes (click here to read an excerpt from Kakalios's book on this topic).

Film Studies For Free has browsed further Film Studies highlights from YouTube EDU and embedded two more of its top quality educational videos below:

1. University of California Television Presents 'My Dinner with Alain: War Cinema' (56 mins 41 secs):

Alain J. J. Cohen is a Professor of Comparative Literature at UCSD who specializes in film history. In this program presented at the UCSD Faculty Club, Cohen examines the challenges of war films as a genre. Clips from various films about World Wars I & II, Vietnam, space wars, etc., illustrate how the filmmakers battle with issues of world history, order and chaos, studio budgets, editing techniques and conflicts of interpretation to realize their vision of combat.

2. University of California Television Presents 'Cinema Diaspora: Discussion with Mira Nair' (57 mins 35 secs):

Mira Nair's films, Salaam Bombay, Monsoon Wedding and The Namesake, illuminate the ambiguities of the immigrant experience and highlight the conflicts between modern and traditional cultures. She is joined for a discussion of modern cinema by Gayatri Gopinath and Juli Wyman, both of UC Davis.

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