Courses

Brecht and Beyond

26200
CMLT 20800, ENGL 24400, ISHU 26950
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2011-2012
L. Kruger

Brecht is indisputably the most influential playwright in the twentieth century. This course explores the range and variety of Brecht's own theater, from the anarchic plays of the 1920s to the agitprop Lehrstück to the classical parable plays, as well as the works of his heirs in Germany (Heiner Müller, Franz Xaver Kroetz, and Peter Weiss), Britain (John Arden, Edward Bond, and Caryl Churchill), and sub-Saharan Africa (Soyinka, Ngugi, and various South African theater practitioners). We also consider the impact of Brechtian theory on film, from Brecht's own Kuhle Wampe to Jean-Luc Godard.

Reading Course

29700
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2011-2012
Staff

Consent of faculty adviser and Director of Undergraduate Studies. Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form. This course may be used to satisfy distribution requirements for Cinema and Media Studies concentrators.

Senior Colloquium

29800
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2011-2012
X. Dong

CMST 10100. Required of all Cinema and Media Studies majors. This seminar is designed to provide senior concentrators with a sense of the variety of methods and approaches in the field (such as formal analysis, cultural history, industrial history, reception studies, psychoanalysis). Students will present material relating to their B.A. project, which will be discussed in relation to the issues of the course.

B.A. Research Paper

29900
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2011-2012
Staff

PQ: Consent of instructor. Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Form. This course may not be counted toward distribution requirements for the concentration, but may be counted as a free-elective credit.

Contemporary Scandinavian Cinema

26502
36502
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2011-2012
E. Rossaak

This course is a survey of contemporary Scandinavian cinema from the 1960s until today. Some of the most influential Scandinavian directors in the auteur tradition from Ingmar Bergman to Lars von Trier will be critically explored. We will focus on their experimental styles and the way they technically treat intimacy, trauma, sex and politics, feminism, self-reflexivity, the melodramatic, experiments in genre and the documentary. We will also interrogate their influences going back to both the Kammerspiel (chamber drama) of Henrik Ibsen and August Strindberg and the films of Carl Th. Dreyer. All readings are in English. Screenings by Bergman, Dreyer, Sjöman, Løchen, Breien, von Trier, Vinterberg, Scherfig, Moodysson, Andersson, Olin and Johnson among others.

Non-fiction Film: Representations and Performance

28200
38200
ARTV 25100/35100, HMRT 25101
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2011-2012
J. Hoffman

We will attempt to define Non-Fiction cinema by looking at the history of its major modes. These include the Documentary, Essay, Ethnographic, and Agit-prop film, as well as Personal/autobiographical and Experimental works that are less easily classifiable. We will explore some of the theoretical discourses that surround this most philosophical of film genres, such as the ethics and politics of representation, and the shifting lines between fact and fiction, truth and reality. The relationship between the Documentary and the State will be examined in light of the genre's tendancy to inform and instruct. We will consider the tensions of filmmaking and the performative aspects in front of the lens, as well as the performance of the camera itself. Finally, we will look at the ways in which distribution and television effect the production and content of non-fiction film.

Methods and Issues in Cinema Studies

40000
ENGL 48000, MAPH 33000
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2011-2012
N. Steimatsky

This course offers an introduction to ways of reading, writing on, and teaching film. The focus of discussion will range from methods of close analysis and basic concepts of film form, technique and style; through industrial/critical categories of genre and authorship (studios, stars, directors); through aspects of the cinema as a social institution, psycho-sexual apparatus and cultural practice; to the relationship between filmic texts and the historical horizon of production and reception. Films discussed will include works by Griffith, Lang, Hitchcock, Deren, Godard.

History of International Cinema, Part I, Silent Era

28500
48500
ARTH 28500/38500, CMLT 22400/32400, COVA 26500, ENGL 29300/48700, MAPH 33600
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2011-2012
J. Lastra

This is the first part of a two-quarter course. The two parts may be taken individually, but taking them in sequence is helpful. The aim of this course is to introduce students to what was singular about the art and craft of silent film. Its general outline is chronological. We will discuss main national schools and international trends of filmmaking.

The Archival Turn in Film and Media Studies

66500
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2011-2012
E. Rossaak

This seminar will map and critically explore the current expansion of notions of the archive into areas beyond the classical archive, to art, philosophy, film and new media practices. Why is the term archive so attractive now? On the one hand, new technologies have turned the preservation, manipulation and dissemination of traces into a cultural obsession affecting both everyday life and global politics. On the other hand, significant theoretical and media archaeological work has been done on modern storage and recording devices affecting our research. We will bring these practices and theories together, as we explore older and newer models of the archive (from Albert Kahn's Archives de la Planète to YouTube), features like Memento and The Final Cut, found footage films and art installations (from Joseph Cornell to Natalie Bookchin). The material will be in part determined by the interests of the group. Reading will include Benjamin, Kittler, Freud, Foucault, Derrida, Doane, Foster, Ernst, Amad, Fossati and others. All readings in English.

Transitional Spaces in Postwar Cinemas

67001
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2011-2012
N. Steimatsky

The seminar draws its title from Winnicott's notion of "transitional space," developed when he was treating displaced children in the aftermath of World War II. We will explore the unsettled and unsettling, in-between spaces that inform the cinematic imaginary of that era: ruins, makeshift shelters, places marked by destruction and displacement, and the fraught sites of reconstruction. For this is also where new spaces opened up for cinematic exploration in that era: what sense of self, and what consciousness of the image was afforded here? Focusing primarily on Italy, Germany, France, the UK and the US (with glimpses elsewhere), we will interlace screenings, readings, and discussion of the historical, physical, social, and psychic experience of that period, that saw the disappearance of people, the devastation and remaking of everyday life. Readings will draw on Spender, Judt, Schivelbusch, Sebald, Primo Levi, Morante, Arendt, Didi-Huberman, Deleuze, and Shoshana Felman, among others. We will view both documentary and fiction films by such makers as Rossellini, Staudte, Radvánji, Franju, Fuller, Jennings, Antonioni, Resnais, and Melville.

Visual Language: On Time and Space

10300
ARTV 10300, TAPS 23400
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2011-2012
C. Sullivan

Through studio work and critical discussion on four-dimensional form, this course is designed to reveal the conventions of the moving image, performance, and the production of digital-based media. Basic formal elements and principles of art are presented, but also put into practice to reveal perennial issues in a visual field. Form is studied as a means to communicate content. Topics as varied as but not limited to narrative, mechanical reproduction, verisimilitude, historical tableaux, time and memory, the body politic, and the role of the author can be illuminated through these primary investigations. Visits to museums and other fieldwork required, as is participation in studio exercises and group critiques

The Hollywood Western in Context

21404
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2011-2012
M. Hauske

Studies of Hollywood genres typically proceed by isolating a genre and studying its conventions and characteristics over time: important auteurs, stars, and characters; the function of character types, situations, or settings; the representation of women, minorities, and other historically under-represented groups; and articulations of national identity are common considerations. These characteristics change over time—John Ford gives way to Sam Peckinpah, the musical gives way to the music video, Humphrey Bogart metamorphoses into Elliot Gould. This course seeks to study one Hollywood genre in its natural habitat. How did the western in the postwar era resonate and overlap with, inspire and oppose, respond and react to other genres, cinemas, and cultural forms? The course will include comedies, parodies, and musicals; other genres of violence like film noir and the gangster film; the place of the western on a global and international scale; and its spillage into material culture and emerging forms and practices like television, comic books, automobile tourism, and camping. Our goals are to better understand what westerns looked like when juxtaposed against contemporaneous and competing films and leisure practices. Designed with upper-level undergraduates in mind, this class will emphasize historical research and will culminate in a reception study of a single film. Grades will be based on written work and on student presentations of ongoing research during the second half of the quarter. M. Hauske. Winter.

Cinema, Immersion, and Virtual Travel

27001
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2011-2012
C. Williamson

This course examines the nineteenth- and twentieth-century history of virtual travel as a major form of immersive entertainment, a history that includes such diverse media as the travel film, World’s Fairs, panoramas, ride simulators, virtual reality, and widescreen cinema formats like IMAX. Using the idea that these media have been linked by historians based on their uncanny capacities for simulating the experiences and sensations of “real” travel, we will explore how such technologies are organized specifically around the concept of “being there without being there.” While one of our primary concerns will be orienting the cinema within this context, we will also survey the relevance of immersive media to understanding what we might call “alternative” modes of spectatorship (embodied, participatory, and interactive), contemporary experiences like tourism and imperialism, and theories of education and ways of producing knowledge about the modern world.

Classical Film Theory

27201
ENGL 18600
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2011-2012
J. Lastra

This course examines major texts in film theory from Vachel Lindsay and Hugo Münsterberg in the 1910s through André Bazin's writings in the 1940s and 1950s. We will devote special attention to the emergence of issues that continue to be of major importance, such as the film/language analogy, film semiotics, spectatorship, realism, montage, the modernism/mass culture debate, and the relationship between film history and film style.

Reading Course

29700
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2011-2012
Staff

Consent of faculty adviser and Director of Undergraduate Studies. Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form. This course may be used to satisfy distribution requirements for Cinema and Media Studies concentrators.

B.A. Research Paper

29900
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2011-2012
Staff

PQ: Consent of instructor. Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Form. This course may not be counted toward distribution requirements for the concentration, but may be counted as a free-elective credit.

Critical Videogame Studies

32320
ENGL 32320
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2011-2012
P. Jagoda

Since the 1960s, videogames have developed into to the world’s most profitable entertainment media. From the Cold War era single-player combat simulation Spacewar! to the massively multiplayer online game World of Warcraft, digital games have had profound social and cultural impacts. In this course, students will analyze the design, social dynamics, and formal properties of videogames. We will begin with literary and cinematic depictions of games.

Creative Thesis Workshop

23905
33905
ARTV 23905, ARTV 33905
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2011-2012
J. Hoffman

CMST 23930; CMST 23931 or 27600; departmental approval of senior creative thesis project. 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
  • 2011-2012
J. Hoffman

CMST 23930 or ARTV 23930. This 100 unit course is taught over Winter and Spring. 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

Image/World/Ozu

24911
34911
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2011-2012
P. Kaffen

As with many clichés, the notion that the “language of film is universal” has remarkable tenacity. Yet, what does it mean to make this claim? How is it related to a globalized or transnational world and the role of art and images within it? In this class, we will take up these problems through an examination of the filmmaker Yasujirō Ozu in relation to “global cinema.” Long addressed as the most “traditional” and “Japanese” of filmmakers, Ozu has more recently become among the most common reference points in the international art house circuit. Hence, “Ozu” may pose particular historical problems for a discussion of universalism and globalization. Is there something that can explain this remarkable transformation from the most particular and traditional to the most universal and modern? Does this “global” shift in his image accord with or alter his reception in Japan? Is it content, form, technique, movement, or something else that is at stake when we talk about “Ozu” in the world? How might “Ozu” illuminate the assumptions of modernism (political or vernacular) versus tradition or function as a critique of the modern as global or universal? We will pursue these questions in this class through an examination of works by Ozu from throughout his career. In addition, we will watch a series of film homages to and influences on “Ozu” by a panoply of internationally feted filmmakers including Wim Wenders, Hou Hsiaou Hsien, Claire Denis, Abbas Kiarostami, and Jim Jarmusch.

Symbolism and Cinema

25514
35514
RUSS 26500,RUSS 36500
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2011-2012
R. Bird

In his 1896 essay on cinema, Russian writer Maxim Gorky described the new medium to "madness or symbolism." The connection between cinema and symbolism was not surprising insofar as symbolism was a dominant aesthetic paradigm throughout Europe at the time. However it does suggest (perhaps surprisingly) that from the very beginning cinema was seen as a means of visualizing the non-rational, uncanny and even invisible. This course examines the relationship between symbolism and cinema with particular attention to French and Russian writings and films. Examining how symbolist aesthetics became applied to the cinematic medium, we will pay particular attention the resources it provided for conceptualizing the uncanny and the mystical. We will question whether there exists a distinct symbolist tradition in film history and how it relates to notions of poetic or experimental cinema. Films will represent a broad cross-section of European (and some American) cinema, from Jean Epstein to Sergei Eisenstein and Alexander Dovzhenko, and from Stan Brakhage to Andrei Tarkovsky

Ernst Lubitsch: An International Style

26302
36302
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2011-2012
X. Dong

“How would Lubitsch do it?” Such reads the famous sign on Billy Wilder’s office door. True to the spirit of Lubitsch, this sign visualizes a question asked by generations of filmmakers around the world, most likely including Lubitsch himself. In a career spanning nearly three decades, Lubitsch’s name has come to denote a style about style, first exported from Germany to Hollywood and then from Hollywood to the world. In this sense, Lubitsch is first and foremost a filmmaker for filmmakers, and his style decidedly an international one. It is the goal of this course to examine a broadly defined international stylistic history developed by and associated with Lubitsch, whose legacy cannot be adequately assessed without such a perspective. With a dual emphasis on formal and historical analysis, we will look at Lubitsch’s early Weimar comedy and epic films, American silent masterpieces, musicals, sound comedies, and political farces, as well as Lubitsch-esque films made by Yasujiro Ozu, Zhu Shilin, and Jean Luc Godard.

Cinema of Catastrophe & Resistance: Readings in Cultural & Aesthetic Theory

27412
37412
GRMN 27412,GRMN 37412,TAPS 28450
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2011-2012
D. Levin

This course examines a series of filmic, dramatic, literary, and site-specific commemorative works which engage the conjunction of narrative representation, historical catastrophe, and political as well as aesthetic resistance. Our consideration of these works will be augmented by a series of critical essays on the limits of representation, the problematics of mediation and aesthetic adequation, the possibilities of commemoration, and the promises of aesthetic resistance. In addition, we will consider a number of theoretical works on the operations of cinematic identification and narrative comprehension that are important to an understanding of the formal operations of film, theater, and poetry. The course will be conducted in English and no fluency in German or the languages of cultural and film criticism is required. However, it is designed for graduates and advanced undergraduates who have a particular interest in (and, ideally, are familiar with) some combination of cultural theory, aesthetic theory, and/or film theory; those who possess no knowledge of any of these fields should consult the instructor before signing up for the course.

History of International Cinema II: Sound Era to 1960

28600
48600
ARTH 28600, ARTH 38600, CMLT 22500, CMLT 32500, ENGL 29600, ENGL 48900, MAPH 33700, ARTV 26600
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2011-2012
Y. Tsivian

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.

Sound and Image: Synchronization and Synesthesia

68003
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2011-2012
J. Lastra

Introduction to Film I

10100
ARTH 20000, ARTV 25300, ENGL 10800
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2011-2012
Staff

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.

Avant-garde Stalinism: Soviet Cinema 1930-1953

26602
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2011-2012
P. Bagrov

For most of the great Soviet filmmakers of the 1920s the next decade was a time of exciting experiments, including the introduction of sound in Soviet cinema. But it was also one of the major turning points in Soviet history: the beginning of Stalinism. Some filmmakers became outcasts, while others tried to adapt themselves to the new demands. Those who stayed in the industry had to ‘smuggle’ their aesthetics and their beliefs through the official ideology. Often, a film that is nominally a typical piece of Stalinist propaganda turns out to be a much more complex, individual or even rebellious work; this may become apparent in editing techniques, visual style, even in casting. But sooner or later most of these artists lost this battle, whether physically or morally. The fate of avant-garde filmmakers in the Stalin’s era is one of the most tragic – and thrilling – pages of film history. In comparing the state art of the 30s-40s with the classic avant-garde of the 20s, we will focus on the works of major directors, such as Sergei Eisenstein, Aleksandr Dovzhenko, Fridrikh Ermler, Mark Donskoi and Mikhail Chiaureli. We will also consider the adjacent arts and discuss the fortunes of Vsevolod Meyerhold’s pupils and the evolution of Dmitri Shostakovich’s film music.

Advanced Documentary Workshop

28004
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2011-2012
J. Hoffman

Advanced Documentary Workshop: This course is designed to provide guidance to students already engaged in producing a documentary. The class will concentrate on strategies of editorial storytelling, layering and texturing soundtracks, and finishing practices such as audio sweetening and color correction. Pre-requisites include Documentary Video I, Documentary Video II, or the consent of the instructor.

About the Size of It: Aesthetics and the History of Scale

24280
MAPH 34280
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2011-2012
M. Hauske

Current dichotomies of size in moving image media, with IMAX on one side and iPods on the other, provide the occasion for thinking about the aesthetics and history of scale in both image production and narrative form. Far from a specifically contemporary phenomenon, this “schizophrenia of scale,” has taken many forms throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This course will examine texts, films, and artworks that occupy the extreme edges of our perception in relation to size and scale.

This course seeks to understand how these vast differences in size and scale influence the meaning, construction, and reception of the objects in question. How does our reception of contemporary forms of extreme scale differ or derive from this long tradition? How might the consideration of the size of artworks and cultural objects open up alternative modes or spaces for experience, both aesthetic and political? Does size matter when artworks intersect with politics, economics, and Culture? Does the classic division between the beautiful and the sublime still make sense? How do psychoanalytic terms like schizophrenia and the uncanny illuminate these issues? How does the hierarchy of size persist even into the realm of video games?

The ambitious scope of this course will lead us to consider thinkers and critics such as Kant, Freud, Benjamin, Fried, Agamben, Adorno, Hansen, Krauss, Bachelard, and Kracauer; artists, authors, and filmmakers such as Jonathan Swift, Disney, Raoul Walsh, Hollis Frampton, Frank Tashlin, Jean Painleve, Jorge Luis Borges; and cultural forms including painting, cinema, literature, television, toys, and the built environment.

Women Mystery Writers: From Page to Screen

20101
30101
GNDR 20202
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2011-2012
R. West

Many distinguished filmmakers have found inspiration in mystery novels written by women. In this course we shall read novels by Patricia Highsmith (Strangers on a Train, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Ripley's Game), Ruth Rendell (Tree of Hands, The Bridesmaid, Live Flesh), and, time permitting, Laura by Vera Caspary, Bunny Lake is Missing by Evelyn Piper, and Mischief by Charlotte Armstrong, and we shall analyze the films based on these novels, directed by such luminaries as Hitchcock. Chabrol, Caviani, Clément, Wenders, Almodóvar, Preminger, and others. Among topics of particular interest are: techniques of film adaptation; transnational dislocations from page to screen; the problematics of gender; and the transformations of "voice" understood both literally and mediatically.

The Films of Vincente Minnelli

21700
31700
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2011-2012
J. Naremore

A prolific director at MGM for over three decades, Vincente Minnelli made important contributions to some of the most celebrated entertainments in movie history. American critics in the 1940s praised his sophistication and lyrical humanism, and French and American auteurists of the 1950s and 60s regarded him as a sly satirist of bourgeois values. He eventually received an Oscar (for Gigi, 1958), and his work as a whole influenced such different later directors as Jean-Luc Godard and Martin Scorsese. This course will feature a cross-section of his films, concentrating on the three genres in which he specialized: musicals, domestic comedies, and melodramas. We will ask ourselves to what degree Minnelli was an auteur and to what degree a creature of the classic studio system. Whatever we decide, the course will deal not only with Minnelli but also with questions of genre, ideology, and the broader context of American culture in the three cities where Minnelli worked and lived: Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. In addition to participating in discussion of films and assigned readings, students will write an essay exam and a short analytic essay.

The Cinema of Jean Renoir

23701
33701
FNDL 23901
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2011-2012
N. Steimatsky

Jean Renoir has often been dubbed – by both filmmakers and critics – as the greatest auteur. The richness and range of his production – variously described as “classic” and “modern,” quintessentially “French” and “universal” – are indeed remarkable. His experimental and narrative forays in the late-silent era, his bold appropriation of literary sources and of pictorial and theatrical models during the highs and lows of 1930s France, the continuities and breaks of his American work in the 1940s, and his subsequent return to French and international co-productions – all these form a complex creative biography, that embraces major shifts in film history while maintaining Renoir’s unique touch, his mastery of form, his conception of the social and the communal so often articulated through depth-of-field compositions and camera work. We shall explore Renoir’s exemplary works, attending to his interlacing of melodramatic, comedic, even farcical, as well as realist inspirations in their historical, political, and cultural contexts. Close viewing and analysis of the films will be accompanied by readings from the filmmakers’ own writings and interviews, criticism both contemporary to the films’ production as well as recent perspectives, and historical backgrounds.
All principal readings in English.

Japanese Yakuza Film: Cinema Against Modernity

24912
34912
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2011-2012
P. Kaffen

Cinema is often taken as the privileged medium of modernity. But can cinema be against modernity? This course addresses this question by focusing on the pre-eminent “anti modern” genre of Japanese cinema: yakuza film, or films about gangsters and outlaws. Historically, the critique of modernity in Japan stimulated all manner of philosophical, artistic, and political activity under the banner of “overcoming the modern.” In terms of culture, perhaps nowhere was this expression more widespread and fraught than in yakuza film. We will explore yakuza film from its roots in the mass culture of the 20s and 30s through to its recent art-house successes. Issues of film aesthetics (realism, affect, auteurism, genre, semiotics, representation) will be discussed in relation to thematic and historical issues (utopia and fascism, violence and law, nostalgia and revolution). We will watch films by Suzuki Seijun, Kato Tai, Fukasaku Kinji, Kitano Takeshi, and Miike Takashi, among others. Additionally, connections between yakuza films and other genres of cinema (melodrama, film noir, westerns) as well as other media such as comics and video games will be another point of interest.

Acting in Cinema

28403
38403
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2011-2012
J. Naremore

The aim of this course is to examine the kind of work that film actors do. We will trace the evolution of film acting from early silent pictures until now, and along the way I hope to deal with a variety of questions: How is the style of film acting affected by motion-picture genres? How is it affected by technology? What’s the difference, if any, between professional and non-professional acting? Do supporting players behave differently from lead actors? To what degree do film actors improvise, and how can we recognize it when they do? To what extent do actors behave “naturally” (whatever that means) and to what extent do they employ techniques of stylized imitation and the related arts of mime or impersonation? Our chief method of answering these and other questions will be to analyze the evidence we find on the screen in a series of widely different films. In addition to participation in discussion of the films and assigned readings, students will write an essay exam and a short analytic essay.

Montage: History, Theory, Practice

67201
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2011-2012
Y. Tsivian

This seminar will look at the history of editing from early attempts at multi-shot sequencing to self-conscious experiments in "intellectual montage;" at editing techniques ranging from cross-cutting to CGI sequences; and at the variety of montage theories from Eisenstein and Pudovkin to Bazin. We will test Eisenstein's hypothesis about biological foundations of temporality in art; connect dynamic patterns of film editing to Daniel Stern's study The Present Moment;link temporal contours of cutting to theories of gendered narratology.

Cinema, Play, Modernity

67504
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2011-2012
X. Dong

In this seminar we explore the idea of an international “ludic cinema” in the first half of the twentieth century. Our goal is two-fold: on the one hand, we will identify the trajectory of a ludic modernism in film history by rereading canons and introducing underexposed films; on the other hand, we will examine the interdisciplinary writings on the notion of play, ranging from anthropology and psychology to education and literary studies, through the prism of cinematic modernity. Readings include seminal texts by Walter Benjamin, Johan Huizinga, Roger Caillois, D. W. Winnicott, and Gregory Bateson, as well as more recent scholarly works by Miriam Hansen, Bill Brown, David Bordwell and Kristine Thompson. Films include early short and experimental films, city symphonies, American slapstick comedies, and films by Ernst Lubitsch, Jean Renoir, Frank Capra, Fei Mu, Yasujiro Ozu, and Jacques Tati.

Introduction to Film I

10100
ARTH 20000, ARTV 25300, ENGL 10800, ISHU 20000
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2010-2011
J. Wild

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.

American Cinema Since 1960

21900
ENGL
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2010-2011
K. Brown

The year 1960 is commonly understood as a watershed in United States film history, marking the end of the so-called "classical" Hollywood cinema. We will discuss this assumption in terms of the break-up of the studio system; the erosion of the Production Code; the crisis of audience precipitated by televisionÕs mass spread; and the changing modes of film reception, production, and style under the impact of video, cable, and other electronic communication technologies. We will also relate cinema to social and political issues of the post-1960s period (Civil Rights, student and women's movements, the Vietnam war, urban crisis, reproductive freedom, AIDS, the Reagan/Bush era, and the end of the Cold War) and ask how films reflected upon and intervened in contested areas of public and private experience. With the help of the concept of "genre" (and the changed "genericity" of 1980s and '90s films) and of the notion of "national cinema" (usually applied to film traditions other than the United States), we will attempt a dialogue between industrial/stylistic and cultural-studies approaches to film history.

The Rom Com

25511
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2010-2011
Ivan Ross

This course offers a critical survey of the history of the Hollywood romantic comedy from Buster Keaton to Judd Apatow. The course is organized chronologically--following yet scrutinizing the typical periodization from slapstick comedy to screwball comedy to the comedy of remarriage to the sex comedy to the radical comedy to the neo-traditional comedy--with attention to the formal/aesthetic features of the genre, its enduring themes, and its response to changing socio-cultural contexts. We’ll approach the films by considering film style, film narratology, genre theory, theories of comedy, popular culture studies, gender and sexuality theory, and various philosophical perspectives such as moral perfectionism.

The Horror Film

25512
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2010-2011
A. Hart

Although the horror genre is often considered to begin in the early 1930s with the enormous successes Tod Browning’s Dracula, James Whale’s Frankenstein and the rest of Universal Studios’ classic monster cycle, the horrific – terror, shock, revulsion – has been an important part of the cinema since its inception. In this course, we will explore the nature of horror and the horrific in the cinema and the various perspectives that can be utilized to understand these films and their continued, remarkably resilient global appeal. The syllabus will include readings on such topics as the uncanny, the fantastic, monstrosity, abjection, anxiety, gender identity, and spectacle. The primary focus of the course discussions will be on the “threat”: a concept that includes the monster or villain, the actions or intended actions of that monster, and the way they are depicted onscreen. Although the course will attempt a long view of the genre’s history and will deal with international examples (particularly J-horror, a cycle of Japanese horror films from the 1990s and early 2000s), the privileged films in this course will be American, and from what may be understood as the beginning of the modern or post-classical era of the genre: Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and The Birds, George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead and the films of the 1970s and early 1980s, especially the “slasher” film and its forerunners. We will deal with the increasing centrality of displays of violence and gore to the genre and the expansion of the genre to include physically unremarkable villains and little to no trace of the supernatural, which seems to culminate in the recent phenomenon of “torture porn” – as well as the concurrent spread of monsters and the monstrous into works that are decidedly outside of the horror genre (i.e. Twilight). What significance do these and other recent developments have for our understanding of horror and for the importance of the monster to the genre? Can these changes help us to understand earlier, more classical works of horror? Filmmakers to be discussed include Whale, Hitchcock, Romero, Wes Craven, John Carpenter, Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Rob Zombie.

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