Courses

The Cinema of Walt Disney

26404
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
H. Frank

This course offers a critical survey of the animated cartoons produced by Walt Disney during his lifetime. We will watch his major feature films and shorts with an eye to the relationship between cinematic form and technology. Although we will not neglect Disney's place in global culture, our focus will be on developing a vocabulary for analyzing the visual style of celluloid animation and learning to conduct primary research in the history of film production and reception. Readings will draw equally from criticism by Disney's contemporaries and recent works of historical and theoretical scholarship on animation in general and Disney in particular.

African American Cinema Since 1970

21020
31020
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
J. Stewart

This course surveys African American cinema since the Civil Rights Era.  We will consider longstanding debates about Black images in popular culture, Black access to the means of film production, distribution and exhibition, and the development of a Black film aesthetic.  Films made by, about and for African Americans will be considered in light of Black nationalisms, affirmative action initiatives, Black Feminist and Queer art and activism, Black moviegoing and spectatorship practices, the emergence of video and digital technologies, hip hop culture, and “post-racial” discourse in the Age of Obama.  The course will also consider developments in scholarship on race and cinema.  Topics to be discussed include Blaxploitation, the L.A. Rebellion school of Black independent filmmakers (Charles Burnett, Julie Dash, Haile Gerima, Alile Sharon Larkin), “ghettocentric” films, Black romantic comedy, literary adaptation, documentary and experimental works, as well as the careers of artists including Melvin Van Peebles, Ossie Davis, Pam Grier, Eddie Murphy, Marlon Riggs, Oprah Winfrey, Spike Lee, Denzel Washington, Cheryl Dunye, Tyler Perry, Lee Daniels, and Ava DuVernay.

Pre-requisite(s): CMST 10100, ARTH 20000, ENGL 10800, ARTV 25300, or consent of instructor.

Post-War American Avant-Garde

21810
31810
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
T. Gunning

In the 1940’s the American avant garde cinema gained a new identity with the work of filmmakers like Maya Deren, and Kenneth Anger. Working primarily in 16mm, exhibiting mainly in non-commercial theaters, pursuing new models of sexuality, perception and political action, a generation of filmmakers formulated an alternative cinema culture and a new visionary aesthetic.  This tradition gained further definition in the following, with journals, new critical discourses and a network of exhibition. Film modes moved through the mythic and dream-like cinema of Stan Brakhage, Bruce Baillie, the underground cinema of Ken Jacobs, Andy Warhol and Jack Smith, and the structural films of Hollis Frampton, Michael Snow and Ernie Gehr.  The course will trace  these develops and examine its legacy.

Pre-requisite(s): CMST 10100, ARTH 20000, ENGL 10800, ARTV 25300, or consent of instructor.

French Cinema of the '20s and '30s

23404
33404
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
J. Wild

In our study of two decades in the history of French cinema, we will track the rise of the poetic realist style from the culture of experimentation that was alive in both the French film industry and its surrounding artistic and literary landscape. As an exercise in the excavation of a history of film style, we will consider the salient features of the socio-political, cultural, theoretical, and critical landscape that define the emergence and the apex of poetic realism, and that reveal it as a complicated nexus in the history of film aesthetics. Main texts by Dudley Andrew and Richard Abel will accompany a wide range of primary texts. Films by Epstein, L’Herbier, Buñuel, Dulluc, Dulac, Gance, Clair, Vigo, Feyder, Renoir, Duvivier, Allégret, Carné, Grémillon. This class is cross-listed with the Department of Romance Language and Literatures and may be taken for French language credit in which class the student will follow the French language requirements for the course, in which case the student will complete all reading and writing in French, and attend a weekly French language discussion section.

Pre-requisite(s): CMST 10100, ARTH 20000, ENGL 10800, ARTV 25300, or consent of instructor.

Creative Thesis Workshop

23905
33905
ARTV 23905, ARTV 33905
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
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.

Pre-requisite(s): CMST 23930; CMST 23931 or 27600; departmental approval of senior creative thesis project.

Documentary Production II

23931
33931
ARTV 23931, ARTV 33931, HMRT 25107, HMRT 35107
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
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.

 

Radical Cinema in India: From Decolonization to the Emergency

24106
34106
SALC 20508, SALC 30508, HIST 26707, HIST 36707
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
R. Majumdar

What constitutes radicalism in cinema? All too often the expression radical has been reserved for films that come under the rubric of “art”, “parallel” or “third” cinema. Formally these films share certain commonalities with Latin American, Eastern European cinemas and even the various European new waves. Is it possible however to read a radical politics and ethics into films and filmmakers who did not self-consciously describe themselves as such? To what extent does political cinema and extra-cinematic discussions of such films compromise questions of formalism? This course will analyze these and related issues by looking closely at Indian cinema from 1947- 1977. We will be watching and discussing both “popular” and “art” films to understand the ways in which they have addressed (or not) issues of mass politics, the state, and the people. You do not need a prior background in Indian films or Indian history to take this class but it is absolutely essential that you attend all the screenings and participate in class discussion.

From Post-War to Post-Wall: A History of Polish Film

24400
34400
POLI 22400, POLI 32400
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
K. Kosmala

This course will explore post-World War II film from Poland – approaching the works both as examples of the cinematic art in the region, and as a lens through which to view developments and transformations in East European culture. We will view ten films by most renowned directors from Poland. The course will assess what the end of World War II, followed by joining the Eastern Bloc, the fall of communism, and finally by the entry into post-Soviet Europe have meant for the film culture and the Polish national film tradition. We will also consider how Eastern European cinematic discourse is undergoing – or should undergo – revision, viewing it as an increasingly transnational phenomenon, rather than the example of a national film industry. The films will be viewed in the original language with English subtitles.

 

Chinese-language Film Comedy

24612
34612
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
X. Dong

With the exception of the Hong Kong martial arts comedies that have gained worldwide popularity in recent decades, comedy has not been a genre generally associated with Chinese-language cinemas. Yet precisely because of the “seriousness” of China’s long 20th century laden with suffering and crisis, Chinese-language comedies provide a concentrated site for investigating national cinema on the one hand and the generic conventions of comedy on the other. Various modes of production and style will be explored in this course, including slapstick comedy and costume drama in the silent era; left-wing romantic comedy in the 1930s; post-WWII screwball comedy; the post-1949 tripartite development of comedy in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan; Chinese-American “comedy of immigration”; as well as post-modern pastiche and dark comedy from the post-new-era in the 21st century.

Brechtian Representations: Theatre, Theory, Cinema

36200
ENGL 44500, CMLT 40800
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
L. Kruger

This course will examine the contribution of Brecht, the most influential playwright of the twentieth century and its principal theatre theorist, to the practice and theory of theatre and cinema. We will pay particular attention to the relationships between theory and practice in Brecht's own work so as to clarify the use and significance of terms that are both concepts and techniques--epic theatre, Verfremdung, gest, historicizing, refunctioning the apparatus, and the formation of the critical audience--and go on to consider the influence (and refunctioning) of Brechtian theory and practice in more recent work of  playwrights (Heiner Müller, Peter Weiss,RW Fassbinder, Athol Fugard,  Lynn Nottage...), film-makers (Jean-Luc Godard, Chris Marker, Alexander Kluge, Fassbinder, Pasolini, Djibril Mambety ...), and theorists (Brecht, Barthes, Adorno; Benjamin, Marx, situationists, Jameson and others).

Modern Film Theory

27230
37230
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
D. N. Rodowick

This course will examine influential writings on photography, film, and film narrative published in the post-war period in the context of semiology, structuralism, and narratology.  We will examine how questions of form, structure, and narrative in film and photography are addressed by critics  writing from the end of WWII until the early seventies, especially in France and Italy.  In what ways can the image be considered a sign?  How do images come to have  meaning in a denotative or connotative sense?  What are the principal codes organizing images as narrative media and how do spectators recognise those codes?  Readings will include work by Roland Barthes, Christian Metz, Jean Mitry, Noël Burch, Raymond Bellour, Umberto Eco, Pier Paolo Pasolini and David Bordwell, among others.

Pre-requisite(s): CMST 10100, ARTH 20000, ENGL 10800, ARTV 25300, or consent of instructor.

Fact and Fiction

25540
45540
ARTV 45540, ARTH 45540
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
D. Bluher

Since Grierson’s definition of the documentary as “creative treatment of actuality,” critics have been struggling to establish distinctions between documentary and fiction. Furthermore, the critical discourse has been constantly challenged by new artistic meditations of reality and its representation, and works blurring the border between the logic of facts and the logic of fiction. Additionally, this dualism is complicated by the difficult question of truth telling. Cinema has a long and winding history of non-fiction: from staged or dramatized actualities at its beginning, via docudrama, fake documentaries and mockumentary, to trends in recent documentaries that incorporate reenactment and animation. Since the mid-1990s the “documentary turn in contemporary art” has seen more and more artists experimenting with documentary modes through which they are questioning the mediations by which facts/documents acquire their facticity.

The aim of this seminar is not only to examine films and works in contemporary art that address these difficult questions of fact and fiction, but also to evaluate methods and perspectives developed in different disciplines in terms of how they may contribute to the student's specific field of interest (film or contemporary art). Readings will include work from film and art criticism and theory, as well as critical literature addressing questions of fact and fiction in historiography, narratology, and philosophy.

Films may include works by Edison, Robert Flaherty, Ari Folman, Abbas Kiraostami, Chris Marker, George Méliès, Jim McBride, Avi Mograbi, Rithy Panh, Jean Rouch, Peter Watkins, Orson Welles.

Works by contemporary artists may include Kutlug Ataman, The Atlas Group/Walid Raad, Michael Blum, Katarina Burin, Sophie Calle, Thomas Demand, Kota Ezawa, Omar Fast, Amar Kanwar, Pierre Huyghe, Elisabeth Subrin, and Kerry Tribe.

Open to undergraduates with instructor consent.

Spectacle and Surveillance

47800
CDIN 44624, ARTH 44624, CMLT 44624, ARTV 44624, ENGL 44624, LAWS 51306, PLSC 51600
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
W.J.T. Mitchell; B. Harcourt

Spectacle and surveillance have been central tactics in the production of political power since at least the early modern era, when the pageants of the Sun King, Louis XIV of France, were accompanied by the spies of Cardinal Richelieu, who kept careful watch for potential rebellion in the provinces. The British empire’s musterings of uniforms, ribbons, and banners in mass formations of loyal subjects were probably as important to the maintenance of imperial power as the actual mustering of armed conflict. At the same time, Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon envisioned a world of incarcerated subjects, all exposed to the gaze of power at all times.  How does it stand with the relation of spectacle and surveillance today, the age of total information storage, retrieval, and big data?  The overall purpose of this seminar will be to reflect on the dialectical pairing of spectacle and surveillance as modes of image power—that is, power over subjects in the case of spectacle, over objects in the case of surveillance—and as modes of governing in our contemporary age of Big Data. While we are interested in the history of this pairing in theoretical discourses on visual culture, politics, law, media, and iconology, our major emphasis will be on contextualizing and analyzing the present state of the surveillance/spectacle dynamic, as well as exploring all the forms of resistance.  

Readings will include Michel Foucault, Guy Debord, George Orwell, Glenn Greenwald and selected films dealing with surveillance and spectacle. 

History of International Film, Part 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
  • 2014-2015
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.

 

African American Humor

61100
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
J. Stewart

This course traces the development of African American humor from slavery to contemporary times, from Black folk culture to dominant popular culture.  Focusing on film and television (but also considering literature, drama and visual art), the course considers how humor reflects the complex histories of American race relations and racialized performance.  Some of the relationships examined include those that obtain between Black self-representation and stereotyping from the “outside”; between performances for mainstream and for African American audiences; and between visual, literary and verbal expressions.  We will consider these issues in relation to general theories of humor (Freud, Bergson) and scholarship on race and humor (Boskin, Levine, Watkins, Carpio), and by examining the comic works of a range of African American artists from the late 19th century to the present, including Bert Williams, Josephine Baker, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Stepin Fetchit, Jackie “Moms” Mabley, Redd Foxx, Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Whoopi Goldberg, Dave Chappelle, and Issa Rae.

Melodrama Across Media

68010
CDIN 68010
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
J. Chandler, M. Feldman

It has been almost forty years since Peter Brooks released his pathbreaking and influential book, The Melodramatic Imagination:  Balzac, Henry James, and the Mode of Excess (1975). Over these decades, and partly on account of Brooks's important arguments, melodrama has not only undergone critical rehabilitation; it has also become perhaps the most important category for those who would link twentieth-century cinema with the century that came before them, and as a category that crosses media and cultural boundaries. But there is a lot of work yet to be done.  First, the deep musical roots of melodrama were scarcely glimpsed in Brooks’s study. They have been investigated by musicologists and music historians, but those studies have generally not been integrated into the former, however, nor into a larger cultural history or “media archaeology” of the sort toward which Brooks’s book gestured. Secondly, melodrama's mode of excess has revealing connections with a sentimental mode of moderation that features emotion mediated by reciprocal sympathy.  We will explore how the sentimental sets the conditions for melodrama's emergence around the time of the French Revolution, or even, like its close cousin the Gothic involves the revenge of heightened passions on sentiments in the wake of the Reign of Terror. Still, even if there is truth in such a proposition, it needs to be qualified by the recognition that melodrama continued to co-exist with sentimental structures through figures like Mary Shelley and Dickens and into the age of cinema. The story of melodrama, in short, becomes richer and more complex when melodrama's Manichaean extremes of character, gesture, and style are understood to evolve from, and with, the moderating effects of "putting oneself in the place of the other." Finally, there have been some interesting efforts to gesture from cinema back to the deeper history of melodrama. In the preface to his 1995 second edition, Brooks notes that his book appeared almost simultaneously with an essay by film-studies scholar Thomas Elsaesser about the nineteenth-century origins of cinematic melodrama. Nonetheless, we are persuaded that the story of melodrama on the screen (that of cinema or television or hand-held device) still has much to gain from wider and deeper cultural investigations of the sort that we propose to offer in this seminar. Combined with the story of cinema, music and indeed music histories, in various instances of what we variously dub melo-dramas, reveal the critical connections that this mode recognizes by virtue of breaks between singing and speaking--whether in a German Mozart opera, the verse that transitions to the “fully musical” chorus of a jazz song, or the funk or blues number that as it fails to sustain itself as fully musical song as it devolves partly or fully into talk (think James Brown or Nina Simone). All these instances will help us think in this course about what and how we understand melodrama across media to be by looking to understand how selected instances of “melodrama” resonate for different makers and viewers.

Pre-requisite(s): MA students require consent of instructor.

Music, Cinema, Meta-Media

68100
MUSI 44415
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
Hoeckner, B

This graduate research seminar will explore the relationship between music and cinema from the perspective of meta-media. We approach meta-media in two ways: more narrowly, through meta-films, that is, films about film as an audiovisual medium that makes prominent use of sound and music; and more broadly, as a practice that involves both the original medium and its extension into other or new media. We will explore these two approaches in conversation with established critical concepts and film-theoretical methodologies ranging from utopia to psychoanalysis. Participants will watch one to two films per week,prepare readings for seminar sessions, and present a research paper at a mini-conference in Week 11.

Introduction to Film

10100
ARTH 20000, ENGL 10800, ARTV 25300
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2014-2015

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.

Required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies

Film Comedy

14504
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2014-2015
X. Dong

What can film tell us about comedy, and vice versa? This course investigates the comic procedures in various film forms - from silent slapstick and sophisticated comedy to screwball comedy and musical all the way to postmodern pastiche and mockumentary. Instead of treating film comedy as a self-contained genre, we will study how questions of comedy are central to the history of cinema. Readings include critical discourses about comedy, film history and film theory, e.g. Bergson, Freud, Benjamin, Miriam Hansen, Tom Gunning and Noel Carroll. It is often said that a joke dies when we analyze it. We will see that it in fact reincarnates, if we analyze it the right way.

Visual Style in Still and Moving Images

14505
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2014-2015
Y. Tsivian

The course surveys elements of styles and techniques common to the visual arts. We will discuss framing and editing, moment and movement, action and narration and other visual devices as used by artists, photographers, architects and filmmakers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Space and Time in Still and Moving Images

14506
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2014-2015
J. Lastra

This course is designed both to teach basic terms and issues in the analysis of still and moving images, and also to give a brief history of those issues.  Readings will include excerpts from Plato, Aristotle, Alberti, Wolflin, Riegl, Benjamin and others.  Images and moving images will serve as primary texts as feel.

PQ: Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment. This course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts.

The Politics and Art of Black Death

21002
31002
CRES 27404, CRES 37404
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2014-2015
Cathy Cohen, Orlando Bagwell, Garland Taylor
Today the issue of violence in and against black communities seems ever present.  It is hard to live in black communities in the city of Chicago and not be confronted with the notion of violence and death. Whether it is the death of young black individuals such as Hadiya Pendelton, Derrion Albert, and Blair Holt or the hundreds of unnamed young black and Latino youth killed largely on Chicago’s south and west sides, there is a way in which the city seems to intimately link brown and black people to death and violence. This course will interrogate the topic of black and brown death and violence, with a focus on the politics, art, and other representations of black death. This interdisciplinary seminar is offered in conjunction with a larger collaborative project being carried out by political scientist CATHY COHEN, filmmaker ORLANDO BAGWELL and sculptor GARLAND MARTIN TAYLOR. We anticipate involving members of impacted communities and guest speakers in course meetings as well as holding some classes off-site in different neighborhoods and venues.  In conjunction with the course, Garland Taylor will begin construction of a large scale interactive sculpture in the Gray Center Lab, and Cathy Cohen will curate a series of workshops with invited guests at the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture.  Students will be required to attend these workshops.
This course is sponsored by a Mellon Collaborative Fellowship for Arts Practice and Scholarship at the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at the University of Chicago.
Cathy Cohen, Orlando Bagwell, Garland Taylor, M 9:30-12:20

Chicago Film History

21801
31801
ARTV 26750, ARTV 36750, HMRT 25104, HMRT 35104
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2014-2015
J. Hoffman

Students in this course screen and discuss films to consider whether there is a Chicago style of filmmaking. We trace how the city informs documentary, educational, industrial, narrative feature, and avant-garde films. If there is a Chicago style of filmmaking, one must look at the landscape of the city; and the design, politics, cultures, and labor of its people, as well as how they live their lives. The protagonists and villains in these films are the politicians and community organizers, our locations are the neighborhoods, and the set designers are Mies van der Rohe and the Chicago Housing Authority.

Rome in Literature and Film

23202
33202
ITAL 23203/33203
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2014-2015
R. West

We shall analyze films and fictional works that reflect both realities and myths about the “Eternal City,” Rome. Classical Rome will not be studied; instead the focus will be on a trajectory of works, both written and cinematic, that are set in and explore late nineteenth to late twentieth-century Rome. The goal is to analyze some of the numerous diverse representations of modern Rome that portray historical, political, subjective, and/or fantastical/mythopoetic elements that have interacted over time to produce the palimpsest that is the city of Rome. Books by D’Annunzio, Moravia, Pasolini and Malerba; films by Fellini, Visconti, Rossellini, Bertolucci, Pasolini, and Moretti. Taught in English; Italian majors will read the texts in the original Italian.

Contemporary French Cinema

23406
33406
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2014-2015
D. Bluher

After examining the legacy of the New Wave, as well as the cultural and economic contexts for independent film production in France today, we will screen works by a new generation of filmmakers who have been instrumental in creating innovative approaches to cinematic narrative, form, and style. We will study feature films by Catherine Breillat, Leos Carax, Claire Denis, Bruno Dumont, Alain Guiraudie, Nicolas Philibert among others. Course readings will include interviews with filmmakers, analyses of their films, as well as contributions by Marc Augé, André Bazin, Jean Baudrillard, Gilles Deleuze, Hammid Naficy, Jean-François Lyotard, Laura Mulvey, Stuart Hall,  and Linda Williams, which will provide theoretical frameworks for considerations of modernity and postmodernity, gender, sexuality, postcolonialism and ethnicity.

Creative Thesis Workshop

23905
33905
ARTV 23905, ARTV 33905
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2014-2015
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.

Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction Film

25516
35516
MAPH 35516
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2014-2015
Hauske, Matt

The apocalyptic imagination gained a new vitality and urgency in the late twentieth century, as various actual circumstances and phenomena, both manmade and natural, rose to consciousness as potentially world-ending.  From the potential for nuclear accidents and war, to catastrophic and irreversible degradation of the environment and biosphere, to moments of crisis for global capital, the end of the world, or at least of human life on earth, or at least of a certain human way of life on earth, seemed more real, and more likely, than ever before.

This course will examine post-apocalyptic science fiction films from the late 1960s to the present, from a variety of national cinemas and modes of production. We will ask how the cinema imagines and images a post-apocalyptic world. How do different films conceive of “the end of the world?” What is “the world” that is ending, and what does it mean for it to “end”? Moreover, how is the world after the end configured and organized? What does that configuration—of labor, capital, politics, science, technology, ecology, society, the family, the individual, art—look like? What kinds of heroes are imagined, and why do they fight?

Because this is a cinema and media studies class, we will also consider the production circumstances, modes, and techniques of each of the films. What effect do the contexts of a film’s production have on the way it images and imagines “life” after “the end”? What techniques and technologies have been deployed to render the world of the future in moving images? We will consider location shooting, special effects, and computer generated imagery, among others, as they relate to the way Hollywood and other modes adapt their approaches to changing circumstances and contingencies of production.

Films may include Planet of the Apes, Escape from New York, Escape from LA,Omega Man, THX 1138, Waterworld, The Road, Silent Running, The Matrix,Resident Evil, Mad Max, La Jetée, Children of Men, Terminator, and The Hunger Games. Writers and thinkers may include Francis Fukuyama, Bill McKibben, Slavoj Zizek, Daniel Bell, Theodor Adorno, Frantz Fanon, Donna Haraway, and David Harvey.

NOTE: Open to MAPH students and undergraduates only.

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.

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