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Tutorial - Quiz

Question 06: Description

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Hail the New Puritan
View Quicktime Clip of film

(Requires Quicktime plug-in)
Clip from Hail the New Puritan by Charles Atlas, Courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI)

6. Which is the best description for this tape?
Hail the New Puritan by Charles Atlas

a. A man dances in a loft

b. A young barefoot white man in white boxers and undershirt with a blond, spike haircut dances dreamily sometimes en pointe, sometimes in punkish fashion, to the tune of a spoken version of "Are You Lonesome Tonight?"

c. Exhuberant and witty, Hail the New Puritan is a simulated day-in-the-life "docufantasy" starring the British dance celebrity Michael Clark. Atlas' fictive portrait of the charismatic choreographer serves as a vivid invocation of the studied decadence of the 1980s post-punk London subculture. Contriving a faux cinema-verite format in which to stage his stylized fiction, Atlas seamlessly integrates Clark's extraordinary dance performances into the docu-narrative flow. Focusing on Clark's flamboyantly postured eroticism and the artifice of his provocative balletic performances, Atlas posits the dance as a physical manifestation of Clark's psychology. From the surreal opening dream sequence to the final solo dance, Clark's milieu of fashion, clubs and music signifies for Atlas "a time capsule of a certain period and context in London that's now gone."

You're right, the correct answer is "B". The description should be succinct, but convey a full sense of the tape to the reader. The mindset should be "imagine that this description is all that remains of the tape and must convey what the tape was like to the future." Answer a. does not give a sufficiently particular picture of the tape. Answer c. may be a good description for convincing someone to buy or rent the tape, but does not give a good sense of what it looked like. (It contains information that is not discernible from the excerpt.) You might choose to emphasize different aspects or use different vocabulary, but still you should describe both the look and the sound of the film.

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