Folklore in film - Cleveland State University

Folklore in film - Cleveland State University

FOLKLORE IN FILM Ellen Quinn COM 329: Contemporary Film Dr. Neuendorf 12/2/14 WHAT IS FOLKLORE Although the word folklore is more than a century old, no exact agreement has ever been reached as to its meaning. The common idea present in all folklore involves the dances, songs, tales, legends, and

traditions, the beliefs and superstitions, and the proverbial sayings of peoples everywhere. -Stith Thompson in Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend (v. 1 p. 403) FOLKLORE STUDIES aka folkloristics Looks at popular film from several perspectives Ethnographic documentary as evidence of folk ways Use film for study in the field data collection In analysis of popular cinema aka motif spotting Film, Folklore and Urban Legends by Mikel J. Koven (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press,

2008), chapter 1. ACADEMIC ANALYSIS MOTIF SPOT TING Motif spotting is the most common type of folkloristic analysis of contemporary fiction cinema Motif-Index of Folk-Literature: A Classification of Narrative Elements in Folktales, Ballads, Myths, Fables, Mediaeval Romances, Exempla, Fabiliaux, Jest-Books, and Local Legends by Stith Thomas Vague map of traditional storytelling

- From Koven 2008 book p. 49 & 2003 article p. 190. EXAMPLE Motif: arm emerging from grave Grimms Brothers The Wilful Child Friday 13th Carrie

Deliverance The Evil Dead - From Koven 2003 article p. 183. B ORGMAN (2013) Motifs Fatal deception Deceptions connected with adultery Night spirits/dream demon

Tricksters Forest dwellers Incubus Based on Alp nightmare creature of G erman folklore FA K E L O R E Pop culture use of folklore often excessive and out of context Folklore used as an important part of plot or theme

- From chpt. by Sharon Sherman in 2008 Koven book, p. 513 M R C H E N A folktale characterized by elements of magic or the supernatural, such as the endowment of a mortal character with magical powers or special knowledge; variations expose the hero to supernatural beings or objects. The German term Mrchen, used universally by folklorists, also embraces tall tales and humorous anecdotes; although it is often translated as fairy tale, the fairy is not a requisite motif. DISNEY & ANIMATION Renowned folklorist Stith Thomas considered the animated cartoon as the most successful of all mediums for the presentation of the fairy tale. Others considered Disney film version of fairy tales to be a

debasement of the traditional literature of childhood. -From Koven 2003 article p. 177 A D U LT O R I E N T E D F I L M S B A S E D O N FA I R Y TA L E S Jean Cocteau, Le belle et la bete (1946) references horror films of the 1930s Based on well known

folktale Snow White a Tale of Ter ror (1997) The Red Shoes (1948) Black Swan (2010) Snow White and the Hu ntsman (2012) Freeway (1996) story of From 2003 Koven article

p. 183 Little Red Riding Hood FOLKLORISTS STUDYING FOLKLORE Candyman (1992) Folklorist investigates murders in housing project supposedly committed by legendary hook handed

killer urban legend: hook handed killer + Mary Worth ritual Beauty and the Beast story elements The Serpent and the Rainb ow (1988) Wes Craven Loosely based on true story of anthropologist

investigating rumors of zombies in Haiti PANS LABYRINTH (2006) Dark fairy tale motifs

Fairies Faun Pale man (ogre) Mandrake root Heroine given 3 tasks Disobedient heroine Fairy tale princess Evil stepfather (variation on evil stepmother)

- From Fairy Tale Films (2010) chpt. 3 LIT TLE OTIK (2000) Tale Types the artificial child curse of childlessness Based on Czek fairy tale /Otesnek Hair eating scene

THE WICKER MAN (1973) Descriptions of early British human sacrifice based on false accounts by Julius Caesar (as described in The Golden Bough (Frazer p. 653) Trailer (About tale-types and motifs in zombie films)

"Returning momentarily to the problematic nature of popular filmmakers ransacking folklore (poorly) and not doing proper folkloristic research into the narrative traditions means that concepts like "corpse froth" do not get included in zombie films. Often filmmakers doing proper folklore research into the themes of their films not only ensures accuracy and verisimilitude with narrative

traditions but also reveals some really wonderfully repulsive images - From Koven 2008 book pp. 43-4 that are much better than most horror script and story writers can conjure themselves. The folk have been grossing each other out for centuries." REFERENCES Mikel J. Koven, Folklore Studies and Popular Film and Television: A Necessary Critical Survey, 116 Journal of American Folklore (460) Spring 2003 pp. 176-195.

Mikel J. Koven, Film/folklore academic; senior lecturer and course leader of Film Studies at the University of Worcester Academic web page and Twitter Mrchen in Encyclopedia Brittanica. Film, Folklore and Urban Legends by Mikel J. Koven (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2008). Fairy Tale Films: Visions of Ambiguity, Pauline Greenhill and Sidney Eve Matrix, eds. (Logan, UT: Utah State University Press, 2010). Folklore/Cinema, Sharon R. Sherman and Mikel J. Koven, eds. (Logan, UT: Utah State University Press, 2007). Sharon Sherman, Folklorist and independent filmmaker; Use of film by folklorists similar to development of documentary film; Academic web page Dr. Mary Magoulick. Academic web page and FOLKLORE FILMS from class on Myth, Magic & the Modern World.

Structuralism and Folklore in The Meaning of Folklore: The Analytical Essays of Alan Dundes pp. 126-153 (Logan, UT: Utah State University Press, 2007). Morphology of the Folktale (1927) by V. Propp (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1968. The Golden Bough, A Study in Magic and Religion by J.G. Frazer (London: Papermac 1987). The Complete Grimms Fairy Tales (NY: Pantheon Books, 1972). Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend. 1949-[50] 2 v.

The Greenwood Encyclopedia of World Folklore and Folklife 4 v. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press (2006). Grimm brothers fairytales have blood and horror restored in new translation. It is time for parents and publishers to stop dumbing down the tales for children, says editor of uncut edition by Alison Flood, The Guardian, 12 November 2014. Motif-index of folk-literature; a classification of narrative elements in folktales, ballads, myths, fables, mediaeval romances, exempla, fabliaux, jest-books, and local legends by Stith Thompson. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1955-1958. The Types of Internatonal Folktales, A Classification and Bibliography Based on the System of Antti Aarne and Stith Thompson by Hans-Jorg Uther, Helsinki, 2011. Fatal Attraction and the Attraction of Fables: A Morphological Analysis by Jim Hala. 92 J. Popular Culture 71 (1992).


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