1. Address the degree to which you see—or appreciate—film as a formalistic or realistic medium. That is, do you see it primarily as a transformation of the world (like painting) or as a documentation of the world (like photography)? Consider some examples that may illustrate the shift between one tendency and the other, and/or how digital filmmaking may tend toward the formalistic (i.e. with digital effects) or the realistic (i.e. with long, documentary shots).
These visual rhetorics and discourses can be expanded beyond specific or diagnosed disabilities, and addressed in terms of broader notions of “abnormality,” “freakishness,” or even “the monstrous.” Address some of the ways in which such embodiments of the sick or abnormal are presented in film, television, or popular media. This might entail certain representations, but it may also include certain formal techniques (i.e. rapid camera movements, muffled audio, disjointed editing) intended to place the viewer (as phenomenological film theory would address) in the body of the character.
2. With these insights from Willis and Tasker in mind, address how contemporary action movies might be read as similarly ambivalent fantasies about race, gender, globalization, science, technology, or other forces that may pose a “crisis” to masculine agency—the ability of white men to uphold law and order through violent, physical action. In what ways do such action films also exhibit what we might call the “frenzy of the visible,” through rapid montage and/or mobile camera shots (actual or virtual), and what might such spectacles say about other media (i.e. GoPro cameras, video games, medical imaging)? To what degree might the spectacle of the male action hero be read as “erotic” in particular contexts, and how might this eroticism be displaced onto displays of violence?