Date: December 18, 2015 – Friday
Venue: R504, Bld6, Hongkou Campus
Summary: An investigative look at how Aristotle’s POETICS informs contemporary screenwriting, using three Hollywood films – Ridley Scott’s ALIEN, Roman Polanski’s CHINATOWN, and John McTiernan’s DIE HARD – along with three Chinese films – Zhang Yimou’s HERO, Yimou’s THE HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS, and Peter Chan’s WUXIA (called DRAGON in the U.S.) as examples. The talk will show how Aristotle’s theories – written some 2400 years ago – are still defining today, not only for films, but for plays and novels as well.
Speaker Biography: Bennett Cohen works as a consultant with Disney, helping with the development of many of their feature films, including DAN IN REAL LIFE, THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, TRON: LEGACY, and the upcoming THE FINEST HOURS, and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 5.
He received a B.A. in Dramatic Arts from the University of California at Berkeley, and an M.F.A. in Playwriting from the Yale School of Drama, where he received the Lemist Esler Fellowship. He was invited to be part of a workshop with the famed playwright Sam Shepard, as part of the 1980 Bay Area Playwright’s Festival, and in 1984 was invited to be part of the Eugene O’Neill Playwright’s Festival, honoring his play AMERICAN MUSIC.
His play TEQUILA was published in West Coast Plays #8. He is currently working on a musical version of the film O LUCKY MAN for Berkeley Repertory Theater, collaborating with its Artistic Director, Tony Taccone. He taught playwriting at Yale University from 1984 – 1987, and taught screenwriting at UCLA from 2002 – 2013.
Mr. Cohen has written numerous screenplays over the years, most recently the feature THE LAST VOYAGE OF ZHENG HE, for Fox International and the legendary Chinese director Zhang Yimou. He has had a number of projects produced for television by such companies as Paramount, the USA Network, Showtime, and PBS, and others, including 8 TV Movies and multiple short films, one of which – THE FIX – was nominated for a Humanitas Award.