ENG 330- Sample Practice Question

In the Epstein 1 section an excerpt from Jean Epstein’s, Le Cinema et Les Lettres Modernes, is used to compare poetry and cinematic strategy. In the essay Epstein goes through a series of bullet points in which he discusses how both poetry and film each use whatever “aesthetic” the bullet point is referring to. These list of aesthetics includes aesthetic of proximity, suggestion, succession, mental quickness, sensuality, metaphors, and momentary aesthetics ( Epstein 275). Epstein argues that modern literature and modern cinema are hurting the chances of continued success of theater. An interesting thing that Epstein seems to harp on in a few different aesthetic bullet points is that the physicality and visceral rawness that film is what causes it to appeal to more people than theater. In bullet point A, the Aesthetic of Proximity, Epstein says, ” compared to the drama of muscles moving in close-up, how paltry a theatrical performance made of words.” Epstein seems to put great emphasis on the the physicality of film, especially close-ups. In the bullet point aesthetic of sensuality, he again says along the lines of “what is the point of platonic flowers when the audience is looking at a face illuminated by forty arc lamps”( Epstein 275). Epstein seems to be insinuating that some subtly of sensuality can be lost through the images of film. Does Epstein’s argument  implying that film avoids using dialogue and verse as much as theater and literature and instead focuses on the physical side of movement etc ring true today? Proof could be in the existence of the disaster genre where the goal is basically destroy as much and as big of things as possible, basically no dialogue or story needed, all kinetic motion.   

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