III Communication

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There Is A Difference: The 2013-14 Conference III Opening Essay

by J.R.

The Classic & The Classical

There is a difference in the classic and the classical.

In Episode One of the excellent The Story Of Film: An Odyssey, director Mark Cousins makes this clear.

In Hollywood, the classic is represented by films like Casablanca. Soft focus. Beautiful people. Their struggles are as tough as any, but the stories are easy. They are touchstones of our experience. They are what we think of when we think of the Golden Age of Hollywood.

The classical is different.

The classical’s themes are no less unknown to us. The classical is full of tales of hubris, young ambitious Icarus flying too close to the sun and melting away. The classical is Oedipus fighting his whole life against the foreordained, his highest highs slain by a mechanism triggered into motion before his birth and steady as the slow freight train, rolled to its only destination.

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