So, I'm going to not worry too much about the completeness or appropriateness of what I post here...it will mostly be a sort of stream of consciousness series of thoughts about my paper. I think I'll start by summarizing my paper, which will help myself and others to know the general sense of my argument already, and help me to add to it. I think I'll also include the full paper somewhere, but I'll have to figure out how to include it in a reasonable format that doesn't overwhelm this blog, since it is 13 pages long.
So, to the summary:
1. The main thing I am analyzing in the paper is the use of landscape in the silent film-maker Victor Sjostrom's 1916 film Terge Vigen, or A Man There Was.
2. I argue that natural landscapes that once existed in early "cinema of attractions" disappeared in favor of cheaper movies shot in studios. Sjostrom led a trend back to using natural landscapes.
3. I argue that Sjostrom not only brought landscape back, but used landscape in such a way to actually give the landscape personality and character. This may have shown up first in Scandinavian films because of unique cultural feelings about landscapes.
4. Landscape can be distinguished from setting in that setting is merely a backdrop for action; landscape by contrast is a focal point. Landscape can also be contrasted to "nature," in the sense that it is man's "interaction with nature and environment that produces the landscape."
5. The theorist Martin Lefebvre argues that "the birth of landscape should really be understood as the birth of a way of seeing." In other words, landscape actually represents a choice for the viewer/reader to see landscape instead of mere setting. To see "landscape" creates a pause or rift with narrative.
6. I argue that landscape in film in general is a special thing, different than landscape in other mediums, because of the special quality of film: motion and change over a period of time. So, the viewer has the frequent opportunity to make the decision to see natural elements as "landscape" or "setting," to step back from the narrative and consider or to be neatly led along by the narrative. Also, that Victor Sjostrom did this earlier and better than anyone.
7. I argue that nurturing a "landscape gaze," both from a film-maker's perspective and from a film-watcher's perspective, is important because it transfers some of the power and responsibility of creating meaning to the viewer, allowing the viewer to make choices and be more than a mindless consumer.