Courses

Kafka and Performance

28310
38310
GRMN 32110; TAPS 22110; TAPS 32110; FNDL 22115
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2018-2019
David Levin; Seth Bockley

This laboratory seminar is devoted to exploring the texts of Franz Kafka through the lens of performance. In addition to weekly scenic experiments and extensive critical readings (on Kafka as well as performance theory) we will explore the rich history of adapting Kafka in film, theater, puppetry, opera, and performance.

Problems in the Study of Gender and Sexuality: Media Wars

20400
40400
GNSE 11005; GNSE 31105; MAAD 20400
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2018-2019
Jennifer Wild; Lara Janson

In our contemporary moment, we have become accustomed to terms such as 'counter-terrorism' that signal an effort to resist internal and external threats, and those suggesting that we live in an age of 'post-truth' dominated by 'corporate-media,' 'fake news,' and 'fact-challenged' journalism. Taking this platform as our starting place, this class explores how these terms and their use have been gendered; have situated both gender and sexuality as either weapons of resistance or objects of destruction. This class will be historically organized insofar as we will begin our discussion with ways that media - broadly conceived to include cinema, print and visual-cultural forms, television, and the internet - have aimed to 'counter' patriarchal, heteronormative, and hegemonic systems of representation of gender and sexuality.

Theory, Blackness, and Cinema

61032
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2018-2019
Kara Keeling

This seminar explores what might be encountered under the categories of “Blackness” and “audio-visuality” with an emphasis on African-American and Black diasporic audio-visual culture. We will consider a range of studies of “Blackness” produced in English in the areas of African American and Black Studies, cinema and media studies, performance studies, art history, and visual studies.

Film Theory and the Competition of Modernisms

67411
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2018-2019
Daniel Morgan

Description not yet available. 

Introduction to Film

10100
ARTH 20000, ENGL 10800, ARTV 20300
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2017-2018
T. Tsunoda; 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.

The Cinema of Charlie Chaplin

26400
36400
ARTH 28406, ARTH 38406
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2017-2018
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): CMST 10100 Introduction to Film or consent of instructor.

The Aesthetics of Socialist Realism

44510
REES 36053, ARTH 44502
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2017-2018
R. Bird, C. Kiaer

Socialist Realism was declared the official mode of Soviet aesthetic culture in 1934. Though it has been dismissed within the totalitarian model as propaganda or kitsch, this seminar will approach it from the perspective of its aesthetics. By this we mean not only its visual or literary styles, but also its sensory or haptic address to its audiences. Our premise is that the aesthetic system of Socialist Realism was not simply derivative or regressive, but developed novel techniques of transmission and communication; marked by a constant theoretical reflection on artistic practice, Socialist Realism redefined the relationship between artistic and other forms of knowledge, such as science. Operating in an economy of art production and consumption diametrically opposed to the Western art market, Socialist Realism challenged the basic assumptions of Western artistic discourse, including the concept of the avant-garde. It might even be said to offer an alternate model of revolutionary cultural practice, involving the chronicling and producing of a non-capitalist form of modernity.
The seminar will focus on Soviet visual art, cinema and fiction during the crucial period of the 1930s under Stalin (with readings available in translation), but we welcome students with relevant research interests that extend beyond these parameters.


Course meetings will be divided evenly between the campuses of Northwestern University and the University of Chicago.

Media Archaeology vs. Media Aesthetics

47801
ARTH 41313
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2017-2018
I. Blom

The course stages an encounter between media archeology and media aesthetics, two distinct but related research perspectives that are at times seen as incommensurable approaches to the media technological environment. Media archeology focuses on the non-human agencies and complex machinic arrangements that are at work in technologies whose microtemporal operations cannot be grasped by human perception: media archeology typically refuses phenomenological approaches. In contrast, media aesthetics focuses on the phenomenological interface between machine systems and human perception and sensation, and various forms of cultural and political negotiations of a lifeworld that is increasingly dominated by technologies that both store and produce time. We will read key texts from both fields and discuss how we may understand their differences as well as their points of intersection.

Aesthetics

67207
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2017-2018
D. Morgan

This seminar explores the intersection of film and philosophical aesthetics. Aesthetics has become a curiously central topic not only within cinema and media studies but also in the disciplines that surround it. From speculative realists to critical theorists to political theorists of various stripes; aesthetics have been taken to have methodological and conceptual primacy. This course takes several paths to explore and evaluate these accounts. First, it looks at the question of why aesthetics has emerged in the present situation: what unresolved questions or problems does it respond to? What is its appeal for the current state of politics and media? Second, it places the recent debates within a longer history of philosophical aesthetics. Which resources from this tradition are being drawn on—and, of equal importance, which are not? Last, the course examines the usefulness of aesthetics within cinema and media studies by testing it against the details of film form. To this end, we will look at several key moments in the history and theory of montage to see whether aesthetics can provide new insights.

The Films of Ozu Yasujiro

69901
EALC 56901
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2017-2018
T. Tsunoda

This course explores Ozu Yasujiro's works from both national and transnational perspectives. Through an intense examination of Ozu's robust filmmaking career, from the student comedies of the late 1920s to the family drama (in Agfacolor) of the early 1960s, we will locate Ozu's works at a dialogic focal point of Japanese, East Asian, American, and European cinema.

Introduction to Film

10100
ARTH 20000, ENGL 10800, ARTV 20300
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2017-2018
T. Tsunoda; M.Kressbach

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.

Film and the Moving Image

14400
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2017-2018
D. Morgan; R. Neer; J. Schonig

This course seeks to develop skills in perception, comprehension, and interpretation when dealing with film and other moving image media. It encourages the close analysis of audiovisual forms, their materials and formal attributes, and explores the range of questions and methods appropriate to the explication of a given film or moving image text. It also examines the intellectual structures basic to the systematic study and understanding of moving images. Most importantly, the course aims to foster in students the ability to translate this understanding into verbal expression, both oral and written. Texts and films are drawn from the history of narrative, experimental, animated, and documentary or non-fiction cinema. Screenings are a mandatory course component.

Prerequisite (s): Open only to non-CMS majors. May not count toward a CMS major. This course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical and visual arts.

Contemporary East Asian Horror Cinema

14603
EALC 10703
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2017-2018
W. Carroll

Since the mid 1990s, Asian Horror films have been enormously popular. Films like 'The Ring' (Japan) and 'A Tale of Two Sisters' (South Korea) were not only extremely successful in their countries of origin, but have gained worldwide cult followings since their original releases. Their worldwide fans and distributors sometimes distinguish these films by their country of origin (J-Horror vs. K-Horror vs. C-Horror), but sometimes opt for collective designations (Asian Horror). We will be considering the usefulness of each designation by considering both tendencies that are unique to each national cinema (such as the “Haunted Girls High School” trope found in K-Horror films like Whispering Corridors and Memento Mori, or the “Haunted New Media” trope common in J-Horror films like The Ring and Pulse), as well as the marketing of a pan-Asian extreme horror in films like 'Audition' and 'A Tale of Two Sisters', not to mention international co-productions like 'Three… Extremes'. In so doing, we will be considering the relationship of these films to other aspects of contemporaneous East Asian filmmaking, from other genre films that are grouped under the extreme designation, to the arthouse tendencies of slow cinema that can be found in horror films like 'Visible Secret' and 'Pulse'. 

This course will be an introduction to the major films and filmmakers of horror from Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong from the mid 1990s to the mid 2000s (roughly the peak of its international following). We will be considering the following questions: What aspects of the pre-existing horror genre do these films re-work, and how? How do they draw on (or depart from) local folklore or ghost stories? To what extent is their designation as specifically “Asian” (or Japanese, Korean, or Chinese) rooted in cultural tradition, local industrial practices, or a conscious act of branding?

Documentary Production II

23931
33931
ARTC 33931
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2017-2018
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.

The Underground: Alienation, Mobilization, Resistance

24568
34568
REES 26068; REES 36068; SIGN 26012
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2017-2018
R. Bird

The ancient and multivalent image of the underground has crystallized over the last two centuries to denote sites of dissaffection from - and strategies of resistance to - dominant social, political, and cultural systems. We will trace the development of this metaphor from the Underground Railroad in the mid-1800s and the French Resistance during World War II to the Weather Underground in the 1960s-1970s, while also considering it as a literary and artistic concept, from Fyodor Dostoevsky's Notes from the Underground and Ellison's Invisible Man to Chris Marker's film La Jetée and Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker.

Alongside with such literary and cinematic talkes, drawing theoretical guidance from refuseniks from Henry David Thoreau to Gu Debord, this course investigates how countercultral spaces become - or fail to become - sites of political resistance, and also how dissenting ideologies give rise to countercultrual spaces. We ask about the relation between social deviance (the failure to meet social norms, whether willingly or unwittingly) and politcal resistance, especially in the conditions of late capitalism and neo-colonialism, when countercultural literature, film, and music (rock, punk, hip-hop, DIY aesthetics, etc.) get absorbed into - and coopted by - the hegemonic socio-economic system. In closing, we will also consider contemporary forms of dissidence - from Pussy Riot to Black Lives Matter - that rely both on the vulnerability of individual bodies and global communication networks.

Line, Trace, Motion: Computation and Experiment in Animation

26511
35611
ARTV 20004; ARTV 30004
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2017-2018
M. Downie

Interpreting what we mean by animation broadly, this course will investigate computational moving-image making through the lens of experimental animation. We will take as our point of departure the films of Rettinger, Ruttmann, Fischinger, McLaren, and Breer, but will also draw upon artifacts and 'animated lines' taken from further afield: found footage / artifact films of Jacobs, dance drawings of Brown, kinetic sculptures of Bit International, early plotter art, avant-garde music notation, and contemporary techniques of motion and performance capture. This course will develop theoretical lines of inquiry that run in two directions: an excavation of a "pre-history" of contemporary new media graphic techniques and a reinterpretation / re-invigoration of our understanding of early animation. Film production, hand-animation or computer programming experience are welcome (but none are perquisites for the course). Students will be expected to complete regular short "sketches" of techniques towards a final short animated film.

Black Film as Art / Black Art as Film

61001
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2017-2018
J. Stewart

The aesthetic dimensions of "Black film" tend to be subordinated to historical, social and political lines of inquiry.  And histories of "art film" tend not to include works by Black artists. This seminar foregrounds questions of form and style in film and video works by a wide range Black artists in order to develop new ways of understanding the complex, mutually constitutive relations between Blackness and the moving image.

We will pursue two general categories of work.  One includes experimental practices by Black film and video makers.  We begin in the era of segregated "race film" production of the 1910s-40s, considering moments of stylistic experimentation in the narrative films of Oscar Micheaux, Richard Maurice and Spencer Williams.  We then discuss later film and videomakers who work more consistently and explicitly in experimental modes, including Barbara McCullough, Ben Caldwell, Ulysses Jenkins, Kevin Jerome Everson, Arthur Jafa, Christopher Harris, Akosua Adoma Owusu, Lauren Kelly and Robert Banks, Terence Nance, Khalil Joseph and Cauleen Smith.  The second category includes film and video works by Black visual and performance artists who exhibit in gallery and museum contexts, such as John Akomfrah, Carrie Mae Weems, Glenn Ligon, Lorna Simpson, Kalup Linzy, and Wangechi Mutu.  Along the way, we will discuss intersections with vanguard practices in related art forms (jazz, literature, theater), curatorial efforts (Black Radical Imagination program), and movements between the art world and the film industry (Isaac Julien, Steve McQueen).

What Was Mise-en-scène?

67211
ARTH 47211
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2017-2018
T. Gunning

Mise-en-scène is often understood as a synonym for the act of directing, especially in theater. In film style it is associated with the importance accorded to the placement of props and characters within the film frame, usually in combination with camera movement. This concept was especially important in film criticism of the fifties and sixties and often connected with key post-WWII filmmakers such as Nicholas Ray, Douglas Sirk and Otto Preminger.  This seminar will explore the concept both as historical critical concept, and as an ongoing way to discuss the nature of film style.

Space, Place, and Landscape

69200
ENGL 60301, CMLT 50900, ARTH 48900
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2017-2018
W.J.T Mitchell

This seminar will analyze the concepts of space, place, and landscape across the media (painting, photography, cinema, sculpture, architecture, and garden design, as well as poetic and literary renderings of setting, and "virtual" media-scapes). Key theoretical readings from a variety of disciplines, including geography, art history, literature, and philosophy will be included: Foucault's "Of Other Spaces," Michel de Certeau's concept of heterotopia; Heidegger's "Art and Space"; Gaston Bachelard's The Poetics of Space; Henri Lefebvre's Production of Space; David Harvey's Geography of Difference; Raymond Williams's The Country and the City; Mitchell, Landscape and Power. Topics for discussion will include the concept of the picturesque and the rise of landscape painting in Europe; the landscape garden; place, memory, and identity; sacred sites and holy lands; regional, global, and national landscapes; embodiment and the gendering of space; the genius of place; literary and textual space.

Introduction to Film

10100
ARTH 20000, ENGL 10800, ARTV 20300
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2017-2018
N. Morse; T.Schroeder

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.

PQ: Required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies.

The Detective Film

25505
ARTH 25505
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2017-2018
T. Gunning

This course will survey the detective genre from its origins in the silent serial film through its development in film noir and neo-noir as well as its transformation in what is often called Metaphysical Detective films which explore the limits of the genre.

Digital Cinema

27110
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2017-2018
J. Schonig

Since the 1970s, movies have become increasingly dependent on digital technologies. This course explores a range of issues related to the digitization of cinema’s production, distribution, and exhibition, including the cultural contexts and aesthetic practices surrounding these technological shifts as well as their experiential and political dimensions. In particular, we will explore such topics as digital cinematography’s relation to cinematic realism, emerging trends in editing practices, the political implications of digital special effects, and the ways that other digital media influence cinematic techniques. Texts discussed include works by Lev Manovich, Stephen Prince, Kristen Whissel, Hito Steyerl, Steven Shaviro, and Vivian Sobchack. Screenings include works by Lana and Lilly Wachowski, Agnes Varda, Bong Joon-Ho, Michael Bay, Brad Bird, and Leos Carax.

The Films of Alfred Hitchcock

26500
36500
ARTH 28405, ARTH 38405
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2017-2018
T. Gunning

No single filmmaker has equaled Alfred Hitchcock’s combination of popular success, critical commentary and widespread influence on other filmmakers. Currently, his work is so familiar it threatens to be taken for granted. This course will reveal Hitchcock as the filmmaker who systematically used the stylistics of late silent film to forge a dialectical approach to the so-called Classical Style. Hitchcock devised a relation among narrative, spectator and character point of view, yielding a configuration of suspense, sensation and perception. Tracing Hitchcock’s career chronologically, we will follow his intertwining of sexual desire and gender politics, and his reshaping of melodrama according to Freudian concepts of repression, memory, interpretation and abreaction, as he navigates from silent film to sound and from Great Britain to Hollywood.

PQ: CMST 10100 - Introduction to Film Analysis, and preferably CMST 28500 - History of International Cinema, Part I.

Virtual Reality Production

27920
37920
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2017-2018
M. Downie

Focusing on experimental moving-image approaches at a crucial moment in the emerging medium of virtual reality, this class will explore and interrogate each stage of production for VR. By hacking their way around the barriers and conventions of current software and hardware to create new optical experiences, students will design, construct and deploy new ways of capturing the world with cameras and develop new strategies and interactive logics for placing images into virtual spaces. Underpinning these explorations will be a careful discussion, dissection and reconstruction of techniques found in the emerging VR “canon” that spans new modes of journalism and documentary, computer games, and narrative “VR cinema.” Film production and computer programming experience is welcome but not a prerequisite for the course. Students will be expected to complete short “sketches” of approaches in VR towards a final short VR experience.

Introduction to 16mm Filmmaking

28921
38921
ARTV 23807; ARTV 33807
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2017-2018
T. Comerford

The goal of this intensive laboratory course is to give its students a working knowledge of film production using the 16mm gauge. The course will emphasize how students can use 16mm technology towards successful cinematography and image design (for use in both analog and digital post production scenarios) and how to develop their ideas towards constructing meaning through moving pictures.

Through a series of exercises, students will put thier hands on equipment and solve techincal and aesthetic problems, learning to operate and care for the 16mm Bolex film cmaera; prime and zoom lenses; Sekonic light meter; Sachtler tripod; and Arry light kits and accessories. For a final project, students will plan and produce footage for an individual or small group short film. The first half of the class will be highly structured, with demonstrations, lectures, and in-class shoots. As the semester continues, classtime will open up to more of a workshop format to address the specific concerns and issues that arise in the production of the final projects.

This course is made possible by the Charles Roven Fund for Cinema and Media Studies.

Style and Performance from Stage to Screen

68400
ARTH 48905
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2017-2018
Y. Tsivian

Actor is the oldest profession among arts. Cinema is the youngest art there is. What happens with faces, gestures, monologues, and voices; ancient skills like dance or mime; grand histrionics etc. when arts of performance hit the medium of screen?  This course will focus on the history of acting styles in silent films, mapping "national" styles of acting that emerged during the 1910s (American, Danish, Italian, Russian) and various "acting schools" that proliferated during the 1920s ("Expressionist acting," "Kuleshov's Workshop," et al.). We will discuss film acting in the context of various systems of stage acting (Delsarte, Stanislavsky, Meyerhold) and the visual arts.

Introduction to Film

10100
ARTH 20000,ENGL 10800,ARTV 25300
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2016-2017
S. Skvirsky

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.

Introduction to Film

10100
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2016-2017
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.

Film and the Moving Image

14400
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2016-2017
S. Skvirsky

This course seeks to develop skills in perception, comprehension, and interpretation when dealing with film and other moving image media. It encourages the close analysis of audiovisual forms, their materials and formal attributes, and explores the range of questions and methods appropriate to the explication of a given film or moving image text. It also examines the intellectual structures basic to the systematic study and understanding of moving images. Most importantly, the course aims to foster in students the ability to translate this understanding into verbal expression, both oral and written. Texts and films are drawn from the history of narrative, experimental, animated, and documentary or non-fiction cinema. Screenings are a mandatory course component.

Open only to non-CMS majors. May not count toward a CMS major. This course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical and visual arts.

 

Film and the Moving Image

14400
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2016-2017
A. Field

This course seeks to develop skills in perception, comprehension, and interpretation when dealing with film and other moving image media. It encourages the close analysis of audiovisual forms, their materials and formal attributes, and explores the range of questions and methods appropriate to the explication of a given film or moving image text. It also examines the intellectual structures basic to the systematic study and understanding of moving images. Most importantly, the course aims to foster in students the ability to translate this understanding into verbal expression, both oral and written. Texts and films are drawn from the history of narrative, experimental, animated, and documentary or non-fiction cinema. Screenings are a mandatory course component.

Open only to non-CMS majors. May not count toward a CMS major. This course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical and visual arts.

 

Cinema in Theory and Practice

14503
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2016-2017
D. Bluher

The course proposes an introduction to audio-visual literacy through the analysis of films, selective readings, and short film exercises focusing on fundamental cinematic elements such as shot, framing, point of view, camera movement, editing, and relations of image and sound. Assignments will consist in in writing review sheets and a formal film analysis, and in creating 1-3 minute single-shot movies based on the works seen and discussed in class. This course is open only to non-Cinema and Media Studies majors and cannot be counted toward the major. This course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical and visual arts.

Three Film Masters of South Korea

24621
EALC 24510
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2016-2017
H. Park

This course examines selected film texts of three representative film masters in South Korea: Shin Sang-ok, Kim Ki-young, and Im Kwon-taek, who began their careers as popular film directors, and now are considered ‘auteurs’ of Korean cinema by their unique visual styles and narratives that reflect main concerns and issues of post-war Korean society. The leading figure of the Golden Age, Shin Sang-ok (1926-2006) demonstrates virtuosity in mainstream drama film productions as he explores topical issues such as the impact of modernity on women and Korean society during accelerated national development. In contrast to Shin’s mild style, the grotesque cinema of Kim Ki-young (1919-1998) showcases eroticism, horror, and thrillers that inscribe the fear of modernization onto the world of desire and fantasy. Im Kwon-taek (1936-present) articulates the scars of modern Korean history and its vanishing culture at the expense of industrialization through the spheres of traditional art, religion, and the sacrificed female body. Taken together, the chosen films of these three directors provide us with instances which enable us to grasp the core of their cinematic explorations, as well as diverse aspects of aesthetics, politics, and themes in South Korean cinema, from its Golden Age of the 1960s to the present.

Claire Denis

26803
FNDL 26803. FREN 26803
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2016-2017
D. Bluher

Claire Denis is one of the major artistic voices in contemporary French cinema, and one of the most challenging filmmakers working today. In over 25 years, she has created an impressive body of work from across a wide variety of genres ranging from semi-autobiographical films informed by her own experiences during her childhood in Africa (Chocolat, White Material) to allegorical horror films (Trouble Every Day). Currently she is working on her first English language science-fiction film High-Life.  I Can’t Sleep is based on the true story of Thierry Paulin, a gay, black, HIV-positive, transvestite and serial killer. Her best-known film to date Beau Travail is loosely inspired by Herman Melville’s Billy Budd, and The Intruder by the homonymous autobiographical essay by French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy. We will also have a look at her lesser known films for television, her documentaries about dance and music, and her short films. Her films reflect a deep awareness of the complexities of French post-colonialism, as well as mesmerizing and sensual mise-en-scène of desire. 

Students taking the class for French credit are expected to complete written assignments (and readings as applicable) in French.

Senior Colloquium

29800
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2016-2017
J. Stewart

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.

African American Cinema 1900 to 1950

21019
31019
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2016-2017
A. Field

In this course, we will look at early African American filmmaking practices from their emergence in the 1910s, through the rise of Race film, up to the immediate post-WWII period. We will approach this body of work with regards to specific contexts of production, distribution, exhibition, and reception—but also aspects of form and aesthetics. This includes issues of representation, the politics of early Black filmmaking, Black film criticism, and intersections with Hollywood. To explore these topics, we will look at a range of film forms including theatrical, nontheatrical, religious, sponsored, educational, and various fiction genres such as comedy, melodrama, and the western. Emphasis will also be on the historiography of African American film, issues of methodology, and the possibilities and limits of the archive. Filmmakers and film companies include: William Foster, George Broome, George and Noble Johnson, Richard D. Maurice, Norman Film Manufacturing Company, Oscar Micheaux, Spencer Williams, Colored Players Film Corporation, James and Eloyce Gist, Zora Neale Hurston, and S.S. Jones.

Documentary Production 1

23930
33930
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2016-2017
J. Hoffman

Documentary Video Production focuses on the making of independent documentary video.  Examples of Direct Cinema, Cinéma Vérité, the Essay, Ethnographic film, the Diary, Historical and Biographical film, Agitprop/Activist forms, and Guerilla Television, will be screened and discussed. Issues embedded in the documentary genre, such as the ethics and politics of representation and the shifting lines between documentary and fiction will be explored. Pre-production strategies and production techniques will be taught, including the camera, interviews and sound recording, shooting in available light, working in crews, and post-production editing.  Students be expected to purchase a portable firewire. A five-minute string-out/rough-cut will be screened at the end of the quarter. Students are encouraged to take Doc Production 2 to complete their work.

Issues in Contemporary Horror

25503
35503
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2016-2017
J. Lastra

This course takes the modern horror film as its object.  For the purposes of this class, modern horror spans the period from 1960 to the present, although much of our attention will be directed toward the period form the 1980s to the present.  We will examine key problems in the genre including, but not limited to an examination of the nature of the horrific, close formal analysis (which typically is neglected in favor of more culturally oriented approaches), questions of POV and camera movement, the articulation and construction of space, the role of gender in the genre, the changing importance of women as performers, characters, directors, and spectators, found footage/surveillance, and the genre’s address to the viewer.

Alternate Reality Games: Theory and Production

25954
35954
BPRO 28700
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2016-2017
P. Jagoda and H. Coleman

Fluxus and the Question of Media

27804
37804
ARTH 21314, ARTH 31314
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2016-2017
I. Blom

The course investigates the international Fluxus network of the 1960’s and 70’s from a media perspective. Often identified with the concept of “intermedia” launched in a 1966 text by artist, writer and publisher Dick Higgins, Fluxus artists seemed at pain to distinguish their work from the multimedia or gesamtkunstwerk approaches of the Happening artists, seeking instead to formulate a mode of working between or even beyond media. Underpinned by a desire to pass beyond the work of art itself, this was a complex position that had profound implications for their approaches to technologies and practices such as film, video, computing, sound/music, theatre, poetry and image-making. We will try to map the various facets of this position, with particular emphasis on its relation to another key Fluxus concept: the work as event.

Framing, Re-framing, and Un-framing Cinema

27805
37805
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2016-2017
T. Gunning, M. Downie, P. Kaiser

By cinema, we mean the art of the moving image, which is not limited to the material support of a flexible band called film.  This art reaches back to early devices  to trick the eye into seeing motion and looks forward to new media and new modes of presentation. With the technological possibility of breaking images into tiny pixels and reassembling them and of viewing them in new way that this computerized image allows, we now face the most radical transformation of the moving image since the very beginnings of cinema.

A collaboration between the OpenEndedGroup (Marc Downie and Paul Kaiser) artists who have created new modes of the moving image for more than decade and film scholar Tom Gunning, this class will use this moment of new technologies to explore and expand the moving image before it becomes too rigidly determined by the powerful industrial forces now propelling it forward. This course will be intensely experimental as we see how we might use new computer algorithms to take apart and re-experience classic films of the past. By using new tools, developed for and during this class, students will make new experiences inside virtual reality environments for watching, analyzing and recombining films and that are unlike any other. These tools will enable students, regardless of previous programming experience, to participate in this crucial technological and cultural juncture.

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