Courses

Issues in Film Music

28100
38100
MUSI 22901
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2014-2015
B. Hoeckner

This course will explore the role of film music from its origins in silent film, its significance in the classical Hollywood film, to its increasingly self-reflexive use in recent cinema (both avant-garde and commercial, Western and non-Western). We will look at the ways music plays a central role both as part of the narrative and as non-diegetic music, how its stylistic diversity contributes another semiotic universe to the screen, and how it becomes a central qualifying agent in twentieth-century visual culture. Readings will include selections from Prendergast's, Film Music: A Neglected Art, Gorbman's Unheard Melodies, Kalinak's Settling the Score, Chion's Audio-Vision, Brown's Overtones and Undertones, Marks's Music and the Silent Film, as well as a number of theoretical texts by authors such as Eisler/Adorno, Eisenstein and Kracauer. Since the course will partly focus on technical, compositional, and stylistic aspects of film music, some reading knowledge of music will be helpful, but is not a prerequisite.

History of International Film, Part III: 1960 to Present

28601
48601
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2014-2015
J. Lastra

This course will continue the study of cinema around the world from the late 1950s through the 1990s.  We will focus on New Cinemas in France, Czechoslovakia, Germany, the United states, the UK, and other countries.  We will pay special attention to experimental stylistic developments, women directors, and well-known auteurs.  After the New Cinema era we will examine various developments in world cinema, including the rise of Bollywood, East Asian film cultures, and other movements.  A course like this is necessarily going to omit many important films and filmmakers, but we will try to attenuate those omissions by scheduling two screenings a week.

Special Effects

67811
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2014-2015
T. Gunning

Recent cinema has often been seen as heavily dependent on “special effects” largely due to technological transformation in the digital cinematic image and its possibilities of radical alteration. However, visual effects have been part of cinema from its origins. This seminar seeks to approach “special effects” both historically and theoretically. Historically, we will view and discuss uses of special effect, both cinematic and mechanical, from the trick films of early cinema through the fantastic effects of the Weimar era, the institutionalization of effects during the Hollywood studio era, to the explosion of awareness of special effect consequent to the success of Star Wars and the rise of computer generated special effects that followed. Theoretically we will raise the issues of what makes “special effects’ “special”: how they relate to the interaction of narrative and spectacle, the address to the spectator and cinema’s foregrounding or concealing of technology. Readings will include Metz, Prince, Whissel, and Loew among others.

Cinema across Time and Cultures: History and Historiography of Film

68610
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2014-2015
Y. Tsivian

This seminar looks at and behind the history of film. What lies behind every film history is a set of assumptions we call the historical understanding of cinema. How do we explain films historically and how do film histories differ depending on what explanation we chose? To get a sense of this we will watch a number of films and read what others wrote about them. We will be looking at those points in the space of film history which caused and still cause debates among historians and theorists of film. How and why cinema shifted formats from peepshow to screen? What factors and forces stand behind the cinema of attractions and the cinema of narration? What happened that pushed cinema from shorts to features? At which point and to what extent did what was born as international industry begin dressing as so many national cinemas? At what point and how cinema declared itself a form of art, part of an art movement, or a manifestation of an ideology? Different histories offer different historical interpretations; our task is to bring out and test some of them.

Architectural History and Critical Media Practice

69100
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2014-2015
D.N. Rodowick, V. Burgin

This advanced studio course is offered in conjunction with a Gray Center collaboration between D. N. Rodowick and Victor Burgin. We will investigate how creative practice can engage specific architectural sites and explore the erased or disappeared cultural histories, real and/or imagined, inscribed in those spaces.  Our focus will be the history of “The Mecca” apartment building. Despite great protest, The Mecca was demolished in 1952 as part of the expansion of the Illinois Institute of Design under the plan of Mies van der Rohe. This site and its Bronzeville environs thus present a variety of opportunities for exploring themes of displaced architectures, competing visions of modernism and utopia, and conflicts in popular and cultural memory. Students are expected to propose and pursue individual projects around this theme and to work experimentally with strategies of research and writing together with still and/or moving image production.  Field trips required.

Pre-requisite(s): Prior coursework and/or experience with a camera-based practice (photography, film, video, 3D modelling) is required.  Admission to this course is by application and with consent of the instructors.

Introduction to Film Analysis

10100
ARTH 20000,ARTV 25300,ENGL 10800
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2013-2014
Yuri Tsivian

This course introduces basic concepts of film analysis, which are discussed through examples from different national cinemas, genres, and directorial oeuvres. Along with questions of film technique and style, we consider the notion of the cinema as an institution that comprises an industrial system of production, social and aesthetic norms and codes, and particular modes of reception. Films discussed include works by Hitchcock, Porter, Griffith, Eisenstein, Lang, Renoir, Sternberg, and Welles.

Documentary Production I

23930
ARTV 23930
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2013-2014
J. Hoffman

This class is intended to develop skills in documentary production so that students may apply for Documentary Production II. Documentary Production I focuses on the making of independent documentary video. Examples of various styles of documentary will be screened and discussed. Issues embedded in the documentary genre, such as the ethics and politics of representation and the shifting lines between fact and fiction will be explored. Pre-production methodologies, production, and post-production techniques will be taught. Students will be expected to develop an idea for a documentary video, crews will be formed, and each crew will produce a five-minute documentary. Students will also be expected to purchase an external hard drive.
Instructor(s): J. Hoffman
Prerequisite(s): Prior or concurrent enrollment in CMST 10100 is strongly recommended.

History of Video Art

28702
ARTH 25608
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2013-2014
Solveig Nelson

Artist and critic Gregory Battcock wrote in the early 1970s, “video art is art that will stretch the boundaries of the art world.” This undergraduate course will take up Battcock’s polemic as a question: how did video promise to transform postwar art practice and criticism? Why has nearly every account of the history of video art, from the 1970s to contemporary scholarship, positioned itself as a re-consideration or revision?

We will focus primarily on the U.S. context during the period now described as early video: 1960s-1980s. Of particular interest will be video’s separation from (and continual return to) television—from transmissions of art on television and notions of underground television to the possibilities and limitations of television for the artist. Additional topics include the influence of civil rights protest; notions of the televisual; expanded cinema and multi-channel environments; the circulation of early video in print formats; abstraction; feminist performance; appropriation; installation and the rise of projection; and video as a paradigmatic instance of “social media.” We will also consider the particularity of early video in Chicago.

Senior Colloquium

29800
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2013-2014
N. Steimatsky

This seminar is designed to provide fourth-year students with a sense of the variety of methods and approaches in the field (e.g., formal analysis, cultural history, industrial history, reception studies, psychoanalysis). Students present material related to their BA project, which is discussed in relation to the issues of the course.

Prerequisite(s): CMST 10100. Required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies.

Movies and Madness

35550
25550
ARTH 26905,ARTH 36905,ARTV 26411,ARTV 36411,ENGL 28703,ENGL 38703
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2013-2014
J. Hoffman

We propose to investigate representations of madness in fictional, documentary, and experimental film. We divide the topic this way to emphasize the different dimensions of cinematic address to questions of mental illness, and the ways that film genres imply distinct formal and epistemological conventions for the representation of insanity. Documentary ranges from instructional and neutral reportage, to polemical, essayistic interventions in the politics of psychiatry and the asylum, the actual conditions of mental illness in real historical moments. Documentary also includes the tendency in new media for "the mad" to represent themselves in a variety of media. With experimental film, our aim will be to explore the ways that the cinematic medium can simulate experiences of mania, delirium, hallucination, obsession, depression, etc., inserting the spectator into the subject position of madness. We will explore the ways that film techniques such as shot-matching, voice-over, montage, and special effects of audio-visual manipulation function to convey dream sequences, altered states of consciousness, ideational or perceptual paradoxes, and extreme emotional states. Finally, narrative film we think of as potentially synthesizing these two strands of cinematic practice, weaving representations of actual, possible, or probable situations with the special effects of mad subjectivity. Our emphasis with narrative film will be to focus—not simply on the mentally ill subject as hero or monster—but on the institutional situation of madness, its place in a social and disciplinary context. Put simply, we want to consider films that portray both insanity and the sanatorium, both the deranged subject and the asylum, both the madwoman and the (often male) psychiatrist, both the irrational subject and the rational system. The overall aim of the seminar, then, is to raise the question of what movies bring to madness that was not representable in pre-cinematic media such as theater, opera, and literature, and what it was that the subject of madness brought to cinema, not only as a thematic issue but as defining possibility of film form as such. A more specific aim will be to establish a context for focusing on American Cold War movies, as well as more recent films that look back to the Cold War era, and films that directly address the anti-psychiatry movement of the 1960s.

Prerequisite(s): Third- or fourth-year standing

Three New Waves: Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Mainland China

24614
34614
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2013-2014
X. Dong

Like all New Waves, Chinese New Waves are first and foremost an international event. From the late 1970s on and throughout the 1980s, three “New Wave” cinemas from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Mainland China appeared on the international stage, representing the historical debut of Chinese-language cinema to world cinephiles. This course will investigate how such “universal” New Wave issues as their stylistic treatment of youth, city, and violence engage with historical local experiences. Films include major works by such important New Wave directors as Ann Hui, Wong Kar-wai, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Edward Yang, Chen Kaige, and Zhang Yimou.

Prerequisite(s): PQ: CMST 10100 Introduction to Film or consent of instructor.

Scandinavian Cinema in the Classical Period (1910-1960)

26503
36503
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2013-2014
E. Rossaak

During the 1910s Scandinavian cinema was among the most popular cinemas in the world. The best directors, actresses, and actors developed a mastery of cinematic expression and screen appearance never seen before in cinema. Erotically charged melodramas and comedies were the most popular genres, but also poetic masterpieces such as The Passion of Joan of Arc are key works from this era. The course will explore the breathtaking appearances of such celebrated female stars as Asta Nielsen and Greta Garbo, and analyze silent masterpieces such as Blom’s early science fiction films, the dramas of Christensen, Stiller, Sjostrom, and Dreyer, and the early films of Tancred Ibsen and Ingmar Bergman. All readings are in English.

Prerequisite(s): PQ: CMST 10100 Introduction to Film or consent of instructor.

History of International Cinema I: Silent Era

28500
48500
ARTH 28500,ARTH 38500,ARTV 26500,ARTV 36500,CMLT 22400,CMLT 32400, ENGL 29300,ENGL 48700,MAPH 36000
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2013-2014
J. Lastra

This course introduces what was singular about the art and craft of silent film. Its general outline is chronological. We also discuss main national schools and international trends of filmmaking.
Instructor(s): J. Lastra Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Prior or concurrent registration in CMST 10100 required. Required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies.
Note(s): This is the first part of a two-quarter course.

Film, Theory, Music

65102
Music 45413
  • Autumn
  • 2013-2014
Berthold Hoeckner

The aim of this graduate research seminar is to explore relations between film, critical theory, and music. Our main point of reference will be the scholarship my late colleague Miriam Hansen, notably her second and last book Cinema and Experience: Siegfried Kracauer, Walter Benjamin, and Theodor W. Adorno (University of California Press, 2012). Over the course of the quarter we will read this book along with select primary texts by these and more recent authors alongside selected films. Participants will be asked to prepare readings for weekly seminar sessions, create the cue sheet for one film, and present a research paper at a miniconference in Week 11.

Class Time: Friday JRL 9:00-11:50
Screenings: M in JRL 264 7 p.m.

Seminar in Contemporary Film Theory

67203
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2013-2014
T. Gunning

This course will read and discuss the body of film theory that emerged after 1960, beginning with the work in film semiology of Christian Metz, through the theorists of the sixties that David Rodowick includes under the term “political modernism;” the theorist associated with Screen (such as Stephen Heath) and their debates with the Post Theorists such as Bordwell and Carroll, the work of Stanley Cavell on film, and ending with a consideration of Giles Deleuze and his Cinema books. ,This course will read and discuss the body of film theory that emerged after 1960, beginning with the work in film semiology of Christian Metz, through the theorists of the sixties that David Rodowick includes under the term “political modernism;” the theorist associated with Screen (such as Stephen Heath) and their debates with the Post Theorists such as Bordwell and Carroll, the work of Stanley Cavell on film, and ending with a consideration of Giles Deleuze and his Cinema books.

Network Aesthetics, Network Cultures

69300
CDIN 50013,ENGL 50013,ARTH 40013,ARTV 50100
  • Autumn
  • 2013-2014
Patrick Jagoda & Eivind Røssaak

In the mid-twentieth century, the network emerged as a dominant structure and prevailing metaphor of our globalizing world. In recent years, across various disciplines, networks have been used to describe cellular structures, viral ecologies, terrorist organizations, economic markets, social communities, and, most of all, the Internet. In this course, we turn a critical eye to the network structure and try to determine what is at stake in claiming that everything is interconnected. In this seminar, we explore what happens when we imagine things as networks. How does this paradigm shift affect art, narratives, philosophy, politics, and archival thought? What is the explanatory power of networks? What is the longer history of networked media? How do networks shape the digital humanities? In our turn to network aesthetics, we propose to explore the effect of networks on both narrative and procedural forms, including novels, films, electronic fictions, videogames, and new media art. In our turn to network culture, we will delve into theories that may include the work of Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, Manuel Castells,Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Alexander Galloway and Eugene Thacker, N. Katherine Hayles, Tara McPherson, Bernhard Siegert, Tiziana Terranova, and others. In addition to regular blog posts and a final conference paper, we will explore networked digital environments and experiment with new media methods throughout the quarter.

Note(s): MA students require consent of instructor.

The Progress of History in Film: Modes of Historical Realism in Soviet Cinema

24520
RUSS 24409
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
Zdenko Mandusic

How did Soviets see themselves in history? How was Soviet progress through history visually represented? Did modes of representing history in film change over time? This course will interrogate the tensions between different styles of visual and narrative representation of history and how these tensions arise from the methods and ideological implications of representing historical reality in Soviet cinema. The corpus of films for this course aims to represent a diachronic survey of Soviet cinema and its treatment of history and realism. Screenings will be supplemented with primary and secondary literature covering the first two thirds of Russian history of the twentieth century. The selected films and readings are organized to investigate how films structure the perception of history and reality in the context of the Soviet Union. We want to ask what are the aesthetic and political implications of films made between the mid-1920s and the early 1970s? How did these films represent the revolutionary history and the revolutionary present? How were they shaped by political circumstances? What is the connection between aesthetic transitions and social and political changes in Soviet culture?We will begin with films made in the aftermath of the October Revolution, investigating how political demands and practical necessities combined to shape drastic developments in film style and the treatment of history and reality. After the revolutionary Avant-Garde films of the 1920s, we shall scrutinize the impact of Stalinism on Soviet film style. The trajectory of the course will then lead us to conclude with films of the Thaw, the period of cultural and political liberalization that followed the death of Stalin. As we move through these periods of Soviet history, we will consider how political limits, stylistic conditions, and industry developments shaped the content and form of Soviet cinema from the October Revolution to the Post-Stalinist period. As we investigate these cultural and political contexts, we also want to delineate the connections between different definitions of what Soviet cinema was supposed to be. This investigation will be based on theories regarding the film medium and will involve considering how different filmmakers emphasized particular properties of the medium.

Documentary Values

28210
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
Artemis Willis

The documentary tradition can be considered an ongoing dialectic between aesthetics and reality, or as John Grierson famously identified, “the creative treatment of actuality.” In recent decades, it has been fashionable for postmodern critics to challenge Grierson’s view as being self-contradictory. Artistic handling of reality, it has been claimed, leaves the term documentary (and its attendant claims to truth) valueless. But values are relative. Actuality, evidence and witnesses can also be superficial tropes, employed to lend credibility to  interpretation. In other words, no frame is an innocent one. Moreover, values are exciting. Taking technological developments (e.g., synch-sound, the Bolex, etc.) into account, this class will not describe another chronological history of the form, but will instead explore documentary history, theory and practice through a range of recurring genres and modes, many (but not all) of which are rooted in earlier popular visual culture. As the pendulum swings between the poles of observation/documentation and interpretation/expression, we will attend to the rich variety of means films and their makers employ to negotiate the dialectical interplay between narrative and non-narrative, fiction and nonfiction, and artifice and actuality.

La Nouvelle Vague/The French New Wave

23700
33700
FREN 29112,FREN 39112
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
Jennifer Wild

Neither a coherent movement nor a precise style, La Nouvelle Vague was nonetheless a watershed moment in the history of modernism. In this class, we will study the French New Wave’s emergence from the context of post WWII modernization, cinephilia, film criticism and theory, politics, art, ethnography, sociology, and philosophy. With an examination of canonical and lesser-known films, we will pursue our study of film from the standpoint of cinematic ontology and French cultural and political history. We shall explore how this cinema considerably expanded the parameters of modernism and intellectual thought as well as redirected assumptions surrounding the medium’s formal and aesthetic capacities.

PQ: CMST 10100 Introduction to Film Analysis, or consent of instructor.

Creative Thesis Workshop

23905
33905
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
J. Hoffman

This seminar will focus on how to craft a creative thesis in film or video. Works-in-progress will be screened each week, and technical and structural issues relating to the work will be explored. The workshop will also develop the written portion of the creative thesis. The class is limited to seniors from CMS and DOVA, and MAPH students working on a creative thesis.

Documentary Production II

23931
33931
ARTV 23931,ARTV 33931
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
J. Hoffman

This course focuses on the shaping and crafting of a nonfiction video. Students are expected to write a treatment detailing their project. Production techniques focus on the handheld camera versus tripod, interviewing and microphone placement, and lighting for the interview. Postproduction covers editing techniques and distribution strategies. Students then screen final projects in a public space.

Prerequisite(s): CMST 23930/ARTV 23930

Realisms

27204
34204
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
N. Steimatsky

The course will examine key genealogies, theoretical debates, and critical accounts of realism in the cinema. Questions of realism have been carried over from the “traditional” arts and literature, but had undergone a sea-change with the particular ontological and epistemological claims of the cinematic medium, across fiction and documentary, mainstream and experimental forms. While the concept seemed bracketed (or buried) with the advent of structuralism and post-modernism, reality effects—traversing types, genres, and ideologies of representation—still haunt the cinematic imagination. The claim to “presence” carried by photographic indexicality, the historical conventions of mimesis and illusionism, the shifting values of document, witness, testimony, of the material and the referential, of the authentic and the composed—all ensured the continued fascination with realism and its productive transfigurations through our time. We will explore examples from different cinemas and cultural moments, and consider debates on the political implications of realism and its capacity for transformation and revival.

Prerequisite(s): PQ: CMST 10100 Introduction to Film or consent of instructor.

Chinese Musicals

24615
34615
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
X. Dong

The musical was perhaps the most alien genre when it first landed in China in early 1930s, derived as it was from Western theatrical and musical traditions. Yet it soon inspired two enduring Chinese film genres: the song-and-dance films that thrived on modern entertainment culture, and the opera films that aimed to deliver and enhance the allure of traditional opera. To answer Adrian Martin’s call for “Musical Mutations: Before, Beyond and Against Hollywood,” this course explores the theoretical and methodological possibilities opened up by the variety of Chinese musical films from the 1930s to the 2000s. The films under discussion include musical comedy, opera adaptation, martial-arts opera film, Hong Kong musical, Maoist opera film, MTV-style film by Wong Kar-wai, and most certainly the “apocalyptic” musical named by Martin, The Hole (Tsai Ming-liang, 1998). The tripartite developments of Chinese-language cinemas provide a privileged site to chart the ways the musical genre expands, transforms, and rejuvenates cross time and borders.

Horror Survey

25520
35520
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
J. Lastra

From the moment of its invention, the cinema has been associated with the hyper-real, but also with the strangely absent, uncanny, and eerie.  Horror film has long had an intimate connection to certain basic properties of the medium of film, but also primal anxieties about the boundary between life and death, the animate and inanimate, the boundaries and norms of the body, etc.

After a brief survey of classic horror, we will concentrate on the modern, post-1960, horror film in an international context, focusing on a particular theorist, concept, or issue (like point-of-view, abjection, the uncanny) each week.

The Essay Film

25530
35530
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
D. Bluher

Since the 1960s the essay film has emerged as one of the most inventive nonfiction forms of filmmaking. What makes a film “essayistic”? How do we recognize a filmic essay? Does the film essay present affinities with the literary essay in the lineage of Montaigne, who many consider as being the inventor of the personal essay? And if so, what do these similarities or differences consist in? How does the essay explore the intersection between objective and subjective, factual and personal, memory and the present? The screenings will survey a range of work of canonical film/video essayists such as Chris Marker, Jean-Luc Godard, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Harun Farocki, Agnès Varda, Erroll Morris, and Ross McElwee, as well as works challenging theoretical assessments. A series of meetings will be set up as a workshop during which students will present texts and film clips in order to discuss key issues related to the essay film. The course will culminate in the creation of a short video essay where students will test their theoretical understanding through practice. This class offers also the opportunity for students who want to engage with a larger body of films, to develop methodological considerations how to conduct their investigation. Objectives include acquiring knowledge about a broad range of film styles and practices associated with the essay film, understanding how the essay film has been theorized, engaging in a creative form with the filmic and critical material, and gaining insight in research methodologies.

The Cinema of Charlie Chaplin

26400
36400
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
Y. Tsivian

The course looks at Chaplin and his long film career from a number of perspectives. One of these is Chaplin’s acting technique inherited from commedia dell’arte and enriched by cinematic devices; another is Chaplin as a person involved in a series of political and sexual scandals; yet another one is Chaplin as a myth fashioned within twentieth-century art movements like German Expressionist poetry, French avant-garde painting, or Soviet Constructivist art.

Prerequisite(s): PQ: CMST 10100 Introduction to Film or consent of instructor.

History of International Cinema II: Sound Era to 1960

28600
48600
ENGL 29600,ENGL 48900,MAPH 33700, ARTH 28600,ARTH 38600,ARTV 26600,CMLT 22500,CMLT 32500
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
T. Gunning

The center of this course is film style, from the classical scene breakdown to the introduction of deep focus, stylistic experimentation, and technical innovation (sound, wide screen, location shooting). The development of a film culture is also discussed. Texts include Thompson and Bordwell's Film History: An Introduction; and works by Bazin, Belton, Sitney, and Godard. Screenings include films by Hitchcock, Welles, Rossellini, Bresson, Ozu, Antonioni, and Renoir.

Prerequisite(s): Prior or concurrent registration in CMST 10100 required. Required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies.
Note(s): CMST 28500/48500 strongly recommended

History and Theory of the Avant-Garde

65203
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
J. Wild

In this seminar we will examine classic theories the avant-garde, canonical histories of avant-garde film, and contemporary scholarly works. Our central objective will be to explore how theories of the avant-garde simultaneously present models of history, while we will also consider how the inclusion (or exclusion) of the film medium transforms or challenges purportedly resolved questions in the theory and history of vanguardism. Designed to span the 20th century, this seminar will consider topics ranging from the historical European avant-garde, the first film avant-gardes, the neo-avant-garde, New Wave film movements, structural film, and contemporary moving image practice. Authors may include P. Bürger, R. Pogolli, P.A. Sitney, J. Kristeva, G. Marcus, R. Krauss, B. Buchloh, M. Calinescu, and others. Attendance at all screenings is mandatory. MAPH students may enroll with instructor’s consent.

Cinemas of Immersion

65510
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
J. Lastra

This course examines forms of cinema and related audio-visual media that exceed the boundaries of the usual cinematic dispositif: projector behind the spectator, screen containing a diegetic world, spectators rapt in silent attention.  As Foucault famously describes it, the dispositif is a “a thoroughly heterogeneous ensemble consisting of discourses, institutions, architectural forms, regulatory decisions, laws, administrative measures, scientific statements, philosophical, moral and philanthropic propositions… The apparatus itself is the system of relations that can be established between these elements.”  Agamben has expanded the term includinmg “literally anything that has in some way the capacity to capture, orient, determine, intercept, model, control, or secure the gestures, behaviors, opinions, or discourses of living beings. Not only, therefore, prisons, madhouses, the panopticon, schools, confession, factories, disciplines, judicial measures, and so … but also the pen, writing, literature, philosophy, agriculture, cigarettes, navigation, computers, cellular telephones and--why not--language itself..."

We will focus on these definitions, but also on the simpler idea of a deployment of media in a particular, culturally and socially defined form. I am particularly interested in forms that include the spectator in the space of representation/experience, including 3-D, surround-sound, multimedia installations, sound art, but also earlier forms like panoramas, stereographs, and music performance.

Introduction to Film

10100
ARTH 20000,ARTV 25300,ENGL 10800
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Christopher Carloy, Nova Smith, Hannah Frank

This course introduces basic concepts of film analysis, which are discussed through examples from different national cinemas, genres, and directorial oeuvres. Along with questions of film technique and style, we consider the notion of the cinema as an institution that comprises an industrial system of production, social and aesthetic norms and codes, and particular modes of reception. Films discussed include works by Hitchcock, Porter, Griffith, Eisenstein, Lang, Renoir, Sternberg, and Welles.

 

A Topography of Modernity: Cinema in Paris, 1890-1925

23405
33405
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
J. Wild

In the Arcades Project, Walter Benjamin wrote: “Couldn’t an exciting film be made from the map of Paris? From the unfolding of its various aspects in temporal succession? From the compression of a centuries-long movement of streets, boulevards, arcades, and squares into the space of half an hour?” In this course, we will undertake a study of modernity as both a philosophical concept and historical phenomenon by focusing on film style, cinema culture, film exhibition practices, and the visual culture and urban milieu of Paris—“the capital of the 19th century”—between 1890 and 1925. Knowledge of French is desirable, but not required.

Alternative European Cinemas

24420
34420
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Dominique Bluher

Alternative cinemas are a subset of independent or art house movies that propose alternatives to mainstream cinema in terms of style, content, modes of production, and spectatorship. This class will survey a wide variety of alternative contemporary film practices from Europe. The course does not provide a comprehensive survey of European film production (which totals over a 1,000 films per year), but rather embarks on a journey of discovery. We will critically examine films by emerging and established filmmakers, certain groups of filmmakers, as well as national or transnational movements, trends, or “genres” identified by critics and scholars such as the Black British cinema, beur cinema, Dogma 95, the New Berlin School, docudrama, accented cinema, slow cinema, and new realism. Screenings will include works by Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche, Thomas Arslan, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Susana de Sousa Dias, Isaac Julien, Sally Potter, Béla Tarr, Agnès Varda, Peter Watkins, and Thomas Vinterberg. Students who want to take this kind of course should be ready to be put inside unfamiliar conditions of viewing rather than expecting that the unfamiliar is brought handily to them. Prerequisite(s): PQ: CMST 10100 Introduction to Film, or consent of instructor.

Cowyboys and Tramps in Film and Literature

24520
34520
MAPH 34510
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
M. Hauske & P. Durica

The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw the invention of two distinctly American literary archetypes: the cowboy and the hobo.  Based on historical conditions of labor, economics, and westward expansion, the cowboy and the hobo, though both itinerant workers primarily employed seasonally in agriculture and ranching, were depicted very differently in literature and, later, film, during the decades in which they held influence over America’s imagination and mythologization of itself.  Evoking responses from fear to admiration and from pity to envy, the cowboy and the hobo, both as historical figures and as fictional types, reflected the evolving realities of—and the broad range of attitudes toward—labor, masculinity, and place in a modernizing America.

East European Horror Film

25521
35521
EEUR 39301
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
M. Sternstein

Eastern Europe has menaced the "enlightened" West for centuries. It remains to this day a valuable source for negotiating the West’s phantasies. One need only look at the rich and varied story of the vampire through popular culture from the 18th-century revenant to the 21st-century sex symbol and family man to confirm this fascination. Eastern Europe (and I use this term here to conform to popular discourse) is the West’s necessary construct to enforce the ideation of its own health and weal. In this course contemporary horror film produced both within and without Eastern Europe—and at times in partnership with the “West”—but all with the East as haunt, landscape, and affect are discussed with the West’s and East’s anxieties (social, political, artistic) in mind. Films include Eli Roth’s Hostel franchise, Julie Delpy’s The Countess, Timur Bekmambetov’s Night Watch and Day Watch, Pavel Ruminov’s Dead Daughters, Nacho Cerdà’s The Abandoned, György Palfi’s Taxidermia, and the highly controversial A Serbian Film directed by Srđan Spasojević. Readings range from work on defining the horror genre to philosophies of anxiety to critical interrogations of specific films. This class contains films with scenes that ought to be disturbing. 

Post-World War II American Mise en Scene Directors

26402
36402
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
T. Gunning

This course will treat the style of a number of American Hollywood feature film directors during the two decades after World War II, including Nicholas Ray, Anthony Mann, Otto Preminger, and others. These directors were singled out at that time by the critics writing for the French journal Cahiers du Cinema as auteurs, directors with a consistent style. Critics in France, England, and the USA used the term mise en scene to discuss their use of framing, performance, editing, and camera movement and especially their use of new technologies such as wide screen and color. This course will explore the concept of directors’ style as well as the mode of close analysis criticism that grew out of this concept.

Prerequisite(s): PQ: CMST 10100 Introduction to Film or consent of instructor.

Philosophy and Film: Stanley Cavell

27210
37310
SCTH 30613
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
D.N. Rodowick

This seminar is devoted to Stanley Cavell’s writings on film as read in the context of his larger philosophical project. Two principle ideas unite Cavell’s writings on film and philosophy. These are less separate ideas than iterations of the same ethical problem that succeed one another more or less chronologically; namely, the philosophical confrontation with skepticism and the concept of moral perfectionism. Keeping in mind Cavell’s emphasis that film is not separate from philosophy, but is, rather, a philosophical accompaniment to our everyday lives, we will discuss all of his major works on cinema and many of the occasional essays while examining his major conceptual contributions to the study of photography and moving images. Cavell’s original contributions to the critical study of Hollywood and European cinema, the phenomenology of film and photography, the concept of genres, the study of gender, acting, and film stardom, and to relation between psychoanalysis and film will also be discussed.

Machine-Age Comedy

27410
37410
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
X. Dong

Henri Bergson famously said in his 1900 essay on Laughter that the “mechanical inelasticity” of the living is the source of the comic. Taking this claim as the point of departure for our inquiry, this course looks into the ways “machine” informs our understanding of comedy in the age of technological modernity, which is significantly mediated by the cinematic apparatus. What were the new forms of comedy emerged in the twentieth century? How did filmmakers update the timeless art of comedy in the machine-age? We will review both established and recent theorizations of film comedy as we sample representative works from international cinema, including early trick films, animation, slapstick, inter-war avant-garde cinema, as well as masterpieces by the great comic minds from Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton to Yasujiro Ozu, Yuan Muzhi, and Jacques Tati.

Islam in the Digital Age

29500
39500
NEHC 39600, NEHC 29600, ISLM 39500
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
S. Khamis

The introduction of new media, such as the Internet, satellite television and cell phones, in the Arab/Muslim world imposed new realities and invited new dynamics, whether in the political, social, cultural or communication landscapes. This course tackles the complexities and implications of this new digital age, with all its multi-faceted dimensions. In the communication arena, it pays special attention to the discourses and deliberations exchanged in cyberspace between Muslims and non-Muslims, on one hand, as well as between Muslims belonging to different sects, on the other hand. In doing so, it pays special attention to the myriad of complex factors which could be conducive, or constraining, to digital dialogue. Politically, it unveils the multiple roles played by new media in mobilizing and catalyzing resistance movements in many parts of the Muslim world, with a special emphasis on the phenomenon of “cyberactivism,” or the deployment of new media to boost socio-political change, as manifested in the “Arab Awakening” movements, in particular. Socially, it tackles the contemporary tides of social change in Muslim societies, which have been both conducive to, as well as reflective of, new patterns and forms of communication, and investigates how and why they have been closely related to each other. Culturally, it investigates the shifts in Arab and Muslim identities cross-generationally and cross-culturally, with a special emphasis on diasporic Muslim communities, in an attempt to deeply understand the interplay of different variables, including new media consumption, in shaping, as well as reflecting, the complexity of Muslim identities today.

Montage: History, Theory, Practice

67201
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Y. Tsivian

This seminar will look at the history of editing from early attempts at multi-shot sequencing to the self-conscious experiments in “intellectual montage;” at editing techniques ranging from cross-cutting to CGI sequences; and at a variety of montage theories from Eisenstein and Pudovkin to Bazin. ,This seminar will look at the history of editing from early attempts at multi-shot sequencing to the self-conscious experiments in “intellectual montage;” at editing techniques ranging from cross-cutting to CGI sequences; and at a variety of montage theories from Eisenstein and Pudovkin to Bazin.

Poetics and Rhetoric of Cinema

67210
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
N. Steimatsky

How do rhetorical figures – metaphor, metonymy, synechdoche, allegory, among other tropes so extensively studied in the verbal arts – mediate our perception? how do they inform stylistic and even theoretical conceptions of the moving image? Do they just mimic, or translate literary devices? Do they function merely as ornaments or puns, offering occasional poetic maneuvers in ambitious films? In this seminar we shall explore ways in which tropes can be seen to deeply inform the cinema's means of articulation and the dynamic workings of the image -- the coalescing and mutation of signs, the relation of visual and narrative or expository forms, the differentiation of styles, the very consciousness of the medium with respect to traditions and conventions. Readings will include some influential texts in poetics (eg. Dante, Coleridge, Auerbach, Fletcher, Benjamin, Jakobson, De Man) as well as writings devoted to questions of cinematic figuration (Munsterberg, Eisenstein, Kracauer, Perez, Williams, Rodowick). We shall discuss these in view of films by Eisenstein, Bunuel, Bresson, Franju, Pasolini, Snow, Burnett, Ruiz, and others.

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