The College’s Winter Cinema and Media Studies program in Paris provides undergraduate students with an opportunity to explore the study of film and related media at the University of Chicago’s Center in Paris.
This program is open to students of all majors and includes two courses that can be used to satisfy the general education arts requirement (arts core)*. Any student with an interest in film, particularly French cinema, is encouraged to apply. The program courses will make use of the rich cultural resources of Paris and the French film-making tradition to enhance the educational experience of learning to analyze and interpret films as works of art. Program participants will also take a French language course, which runs at a normal pace through the quarter and is designed to help students connect with French (and Parisian) culture.
Apart from classroom work, the program offers a series of excursions to sites of artistic and historic interest within and in the vicinity of Paris - with its wealth of cinemas, museums, libraries and theaters, its lively art, film, and literary scene, its rich traditions of creation and critique, the city plays a central role in the program and students will be expected to make full use of its cultural resources.
*The first two courses may also be eligible for credit within the Cinema and Media Studies major if the general education requirement in the arts has already been fulfilled and with approval from the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Cinema and Media Studies.
Winter 2024 Cinema Sequence
CMST 14578: Media Technologies
This course offers tools for understanding and theorizing media by attending to technology. Students will learn to think about the materiality of media, asking how media technologies—such as television, the mp3 format, or a mobile phone app—influence the contents or meanings they transmit, as well as the ways in which discourses and practices shape the nature of media and its technical infrastructures. What forms have culture and knowledge taken as the emergence of new media has reconfigured lived experience, social life, and power relations? We will consider the ways in which technology extends beyond the realm of machinery—how practices, regulations, beliefs and environments become part of the systematic deployment of media from content moderation to the cooling of servers. Examples of media discussed in class will include student-curated collections of social media content, videogames and television by French creators, and even infrastructural systems, including a failed project to create an automated train system in Paris.
CMST 14503: Cinema in Theory and Practice
This course looks at film theory through the lens of film practice. Readings, screenings, and exercises focus on fundamental cinematic parameters and their complex practical uses. We look at several masterpieces of French cinema to compare film theory to film practice, read testimonies from filmmakers, and develop sophisticated skills of film appreciation, critique, and analysis.
CMST 14505: Visual Style in Still and Moving Images
The aim of this course is first to introduce students to the world of French-language animation and comics (BD or bandes dessinées) by providing a historical overview of both forms. In addition, the course provides an alternative genealogy of cinema by exploring how common techniques and elements of style have emerged through ongoing processes of adaptation, coproduction, and intercommunication between still and moving images, between comics and animation. Screenings will highlight animated films inspired by popular BD as well as films directed by “bédéistes” who have moved into the world of animation production. The final unit will consider how French comics and animation in recent years have repurposed Japanese manga and anime techniques and styles, rather swiftly and resourcefully.