Courses

Courses

211. Introduction to Film.

The first course in a sequence that examines the structures, techniques, history and theory of film. Questions of history and theory are treated only in passing; the prime focus is on learning to identify, analyze and articulate what we see when we watch a film. The course studies the terminology used to describe film techniques and applies this terminology to the films viewed. The goal is to pass from close analysis of film technique and film construction to interpretation. Students learn not only how a film is constructed, but also how the techniques employed contribute to its values and meaning.

224. Modern Japanese Literature and Film.

An introduction to modern Japanese literature from the late nineteenth century to the present in English translation. Such major writers as Ogai, Soseki, Akutagawa, Tanizaki, Kawabata, Mishima and Abe are studied, supplemented by films based on their novels.  Special attention will be paid to Western influences on the evolution of modern Japanese literature. Also offered through Asian Studies and Film and Modern Languages.

225. Japanese Film and Culture.
This course focuses on Japanese culture, ancient and modern, through analysis of important films by directors such as Kurosawa, Ozu, Mizoguchi, Kobayashi, Imai, Oshima and Miyazaki (anime), with their internationally acclaimed artistic reputation and thoughtprovoking themes. Readings include some textual/script analysis as well as background materials (in English). Also offered through Asian Studies and Modern Languages.

234. Chinese Literature and Film.

This course provides an overview of Chinese literature and film.  The first half surveys traditional Chinese literature with a focus on masterpieces in the golden ages of various genres. The second half introduces modern Chinese literature with a focus on film, including representative works by well-known writers Lu Xun and Ba Jin, and famous film directors such as Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige, Wang Xiaoshuai and others. The aim is to enhance students’ interests and skills in reading and analysis of Chinese literature and film, and improve students’ understanding of the history, society and culture of China. All works are read in English translation. Also offered Asian Studies and Modern Languages.

244. Techniques of Screenwriting.

An introductory study of basic technical problems and formal concepts of screenwriting. The study of produced screenplays and
formal film technique, along with writing scene exercises, builds toward the construction of a short (50-minute) script. Also offered
as Performance and Communication Arts 244 and English 244.

251. History of the Cinema.

The development of film technology and film technique from the 19th century to 1960, and the place of the new medium in the evolving cultural-social contexts of the 20th century. Subjects include early experiments in photography; the beginnings of narrative cinema; special effects; new camera dynamics; the development of cinema stars; theories of editing and montage; the introduction of sound; film aesthetics; deep focus photography and realism; color photography. Films by Lumière, Méliès, Griffith, Wiene, Murnau, Eisenstein, Chaplin, Lang, Renoir, Rossellini, Welles, Godard, Truffaut and others. Movements and genres studied include German Expressionism, poetic realism, forms of comedy, film noir, Italian neorealism and French New Wave. Significant reading and writing.

263. Austrialian Cinema.

Using Australian films as the primary texts, this course explores how Australian national identity is constructed. We look at what constitutes a national cinema (independent, government-sponsored and Aussiewood), then focus on three variables which heavily determine both the shape of Australian cinema and national identity: the power of nature, the relationship of aboriginal peoples to non-indigenous peoples and the role of class and gender construction. Topics include white masculinity, as it is constructed in relation to both nature and war; feminine(ist) themes; ethnicity and immigration; revising history and national identity to include Aboriginal peoples; and the emergence of a global postmodern cinema.

271. Introduction to World Cinema.

This course complements Film Studies 251 by exploring the history of film outside Western Europe and the United States. The semester is typically divided into four units, each focusing on a different national or regional cinema. We study a new film each week, taking three main approaches: the history of a particular national film industry, how a director fits into both local and global histories of cinema, and the social terrain upon which filmmakers work. One unifying topic will help us look comparatively at some very different kinds of films.

281. Music Video.

Music television created new ways of visualizing music, new ways of seeing sound, which have in turn influenced the ways filmmakers use sounds and images in feature and documentary films. In this course, we look at the rise of music video in the 1980s, its predecessors and its influences. While we focus primarily on the history and criticism of music video, the course also includes a substantial production component which includes creating and editing sound and video files. Also offered as Music 281.

306. Advanced Screenwriting Workshop.

An extension and intensification of Film 244. Students are expected to work independently on the preparation of two feature-length
screenplays. Workshop format emphasizes the revision and editing process. Prerequisites: Film 244 Also offered as Performance and Communication Arts 306 and English 306.

311. Film Theory.

This seminar offers a survey of film theory: its history, its important concepts and figures and its key theoretical movements. We begin with “classical” film theory, including auteur theory, realism, genre theory and political criticism. Much of the course, however, is given to contemporary film theory: semiotics, Marxism, psychoanalysis, feminism/masculinity studies, African-American film studies, postmodernism, postcolonial and global studies. To ground all this theory, we will view, discuss and write about an eclectic collection of films.

335. Semiotics of Advertising.

The course blends sociological analysis, semiotics, discourse analysis and theories of representation both to explore the social consequences of advertising and to deconstruct ads and commercials as commodity signs and narratives. The course approaches advertising as a system of signs composed of signifiers, signifieds, referents and relational structures tying these elements together. Students apply a semiotic analysis to both commodity and corporate advertising to explore how representations of race, gender, class and age are constructed in this discourse. Focusing on the effects of advertising on social institutions, gender relations, self-conception, the organization of everyday life and the environment, the course constructs a critical history of advertising from the 1920s to the present.

404. French Film.

This course combines an historical view of the French cinema, an introduction to the techniques of film analysis and an examination
of the major issues in film theory. Topics include the pioneers of cinema, the “classical” films of the 1930s and ’40s, the films of the
“nouvelle vague” in the ’50s and ’60s and recent trends in film production.  The work of filmmakers such as Renoir, Clouzot, Truffaut,
Beineix, Godard and Resnais is studied. Also offered through Modern Languages and European Studies.

479. Independent Study.