Film Studies

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COURSE FOR MAJORS/MINORS

 

SPECIAL TOPICS FILM COURSES

FLM 285 TV Screenwriting (Fall 2012)
This 1/2 credit course is focused on producing a ~spec script,~ a screenplay written for a television show that already exists, which is the standard way for aspiring television writers to demonstrate that they can write original material within an existing format. Topics include idea generation, character development & dialogue, dramatic structure, and the practicalities of pitching scripts and working in the television industry. The course is taught by David Black, whose television credits include work on Law & Order, CSI:Miami, Monk, Miami Vice, and Hill Street Blues. Open to film majors. Non-film majors may register with permission from Director of Film Studies (Paul McEwan).

FLM 386 Film Producing
While the director is in charge of the creative side of filmmaking, producers are in charge of the business side. Learn how to do this job in this hands-on course. You will be teamed with directors from another class to produce short films in real world scenarios. Subjects covered include working with different people, handling decisions under stress, budgeting, scheduling, scouting for locations, contracts, hiring, and the basics of funding and distribution. Part of your grade will depend on the success of your business decisions. Open to sophomores and above.

PRODUCTION & WRITING COURSES

COM 251 Fundamentals of Visual Communication
Introduces basic concepts of time-based visual media with an emphasis on the perception and experience of moving images, kinesics, and the structure and aesthetics of cinematic language. Students will learn how to work with cameras, audio-recording equipment, and post-production facilities.

COM 351 Video Production
Refines an understanding of video/television concepts and operations through the application of advanced production techniques. Provides hands-on experience beginning with the development of a professional project, treatment, script, and storyboard. Focusing on production tools and skills, class workshops and outside exercises that facilitate becoming comfortable with camera and editing equipment and with the overall production process. Conceiving, coordinating, shooting, and editing the project, production teams will encounter real-time pressure and problem-solving situations.
Pre-requisite: FLM 251, Foundations of Film Production or COM 251, Fundamentals of Visual Communication

COM 367 Studio Workshop in Television & Film
Beginning with a survey of the promise and demands, historical, economic, and political circumstances surrounding community television, this course broadens students' exposure to television formats beyond mainstream commercial media. The course examines the history and innovation of community television in the United States and overseas. The course provides students an opportunity to explore how to channel ideas into practice by expanding students' established skills (research, writing, scripting, producing, directing, multi-camera and audio strategies, staging and lighting, postproduction). Toward that goal, the course engages students in the production of a regular series of documentary, narrative, and experimental television and film projects that will be realized during a multi-week intensive studio experience. Multimedia and interdisciplinary projects involving theatre, art, dance, and music will be welcome. There are no prerequisites though it is advised that students have taken COM 230 or 231 Documentary Research and/or COM251 Fundamentals ofVisual Communication.

COM 467 Advanced Electronic Media Production
Students explore the convergence of video and digital media while studying the problem of constructing narrative and documentary texts.
Pre-requisite: FLM 351, Video Production.

THR 355 On-Camera Acting
This upper-level acting course is designed to introduce students to the skills required to work effectively on camera. Using material drawn from the professional world, students will work in a variety of on-camera genres. Genres that may be taught include commercials, daytime, primetime (sitcom and drama), and film. Class time will be divided equally between shooting and viewing, and students are expected to engage critically with both their own work and their classmates. Analytical viewing assignments from each of the genres explored will be required.
Prerequisite: THR 251 Acting II: Scene Study

ENG 207 Dramatic Writing
A course in the basic principles of dramatic writing for the stage, screen and other media. Playwrights will comment on each other's work in a workshop setting. The course will focus on the basic elements of dramatic writing: character, action, spectacle, diction, "music", and content. Students will study examples of prevailing dramatic forms and formats. Each student will submit a portfolio at the end of the workshop.

ENG 364 Screenwriting Workshop
Examination of screenwriting fundamentals: story structure (theme and plot), character, dialogue, scene description and development, and script formats. Students will prepare character profiles, treatments, and at least one screenplay.

ENG 917 Advanced Screenwriting

STUDIES COURSES

COM 240 Introduction to Film Analysis (A)
Introduces different strategies and different approaches for analyzing film and video texts including: formal, narrative, semiotic, psychoanalytic, social/cultural, and feminist. Students will develop an understanding of the grammar, vocabulary, and conventions of film and video production, and the factors that shape viewers’ reception.

FLM 201 Film History I: 1895-1945
An exploration of the international history of film from its invention through the silent era, the rise of Hollywood, and the development of sound to the end of World War II.
Attendance at weekly screenings is required.

FLM 202 Film History II: 1945-Present
An exploration of the international history of film from the end of the War through important European developments (the French New Wave, Italian Neo-Realism, and New German Cinema) and dramatic changes in production and viewing in the United States (through the Sixties and Seventies) to recent emergence of national and regional cinemas in countries all over the world. Pre-requisite: FLM 201 or permission of the instructor.
Attendance at weekly screenings is required.

FLM 225 The Western Film
This course will examine the Western as the American film genre par excellence. Numerous theoretical approaches will be used to study the rise and fall of the Western’s popularity, its role in shaping popular myths about the United States, and its representation of masculine identity.
Attendance at weekly screenings required.

FLM 227 Melodrama
“Melodrama” does not just mean exaggerated emotion; it is a form of popular storytelling that puts its characters in dramatic situations in which the stakes are nothing less than the victory of good over evil. This course will focus on the prominence of melodrama in narrative film, particularly popular American film, to reveal the flexibility of what some scholars argue is more than a genre, but is actually one of the dominant modes of filmmaking from its inception. The course proceeds chronologically from 1915 through the present. It focuses on films that are often classified as “women’s films” and “social problem films,” but also includes films that could be classified as action films or “men’s melodramas”― and so there will be a lot of discussion about issues of gender and race. We will also consider how these topics are illus trated throughmelodrama’s aesthetics, such as music, dramatic editing, and symbolic use of setting. Meets general academic requirement A.
Attendance at weekly screenings is required.

FLM 229 Travel and Cultural Encounters in Film
This course looks at narrative and experimental films that thematize the act of travel as a trigger for cultural encounters, which often result in conflicts, power differentials, and individual senses of displacement or disorientation. The cultural encounters depicted include those in colonial Africa, India, and the Americas, as well as post-colonial encounters in new relationship configurations such as migration and tourism. The course also considers as a sub-theme the “road movie” in American culture and what it says about the relationship of dominant American culture to the land and the indigenous inhabitants. As a theoretical lens, students will consider the cinematic medium as a vehicle for virtual travel and read accounts of film spectatorship that consider particular travel experiences. Meets general academic requirement D.
Attendance at weekly screenings is required.

ENG 238 Plays on Film
"Plays on Film" is a study of the (all too few) successful films made from stage plays, approached in the context of why adaptations of plays to film typically don't, in fact, work. In addition to studying a canon of plays and films, this course will also engage (and contrast) textual, performance-based, and image-based methodologies, and students will be asked to demonstrate proficiency in all three theoretical approaches. This course meets general academic requirements L and W.

FLM 250 Contemporary World Cinema
This course offers a selective survey of some of the most cutting-edge films produced around the world in the last 10-20 years, including those that offer sustained insight into specific national cultures, and those that are more global in orientation, and address the worldwide mixing and mingling of people and cultures. Films explored in this course will likely include Bad Education (Spain), Amores Perros (Mexico), Code Unknown (Austria/France), Chunkging Express (Hong Kong/China), The World (China), A Separation (Iran), Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Turkey), The Best of Youth (Italy), Waltz with Bashir (Israel), The Class (France), and District 9 (South Africa), among others. Special attention will be paid throughout to contemporary developments in film style, evolving cultures of film taste and reception, and film art as cultural expression. Open to all students at all levels. Meets general academic requirement A.
Attendance at weekly film screenings is required.

ENG 255 Literature and Film (L)
This course examines the relationship between novels and plays and their film-adaptations, concentrating on the different ways in which we read and interpret these narrative forms. The course will attend closely to the variety of decisions that inform the translation of literary works into a different medium with different conventions for a different audience.

ENG 263 Postwar British Theatre and Film
This course explores what has been called the "second renaissance" of British drama -  "the new drama" of 1956 and after - and the parallel British New Wave of cinema. We will begin by examining the cultural and social influences leading up to the "annus mirabilis" of 1956. We will then trace the emergence of John Osborne and other "Angry Young Men," and the development of a drama overtly engaged with issues of class, gender, and sexuality. We will then look the ways these plays helped to revitalize the British cinema of the postwar era, creating a cinematic scene in which the free cinema and "kitchen sink" films of the 1950s gave way to the bold, taboo-breaking movies of the 1960s. Playwrights may include John Osborne, Arnold Wesker, Ann Jellicoe, Harold Pinter, Joe Orton, Edward Bond, and Shelagh Delaney. Films are likely to include Billy Liar, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, Alfie, Tom Jones, The Servant, The Knack and How To Get It, and A Hard Day's Night. This course will carry the "L" perspective.

GRM 316 German Cinema
A survey of German films from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari to Contemporary works with special emphasis on the Golden Age of Weimar cinema and the so-called New German Cinema (Fassbinder, Herzog, Wenders, Sanders-Brahms and less well known directors.) Though a close analysis of these films, the student will gain an understanding and appreciation of cinematic techniques as well as the cultural, social and political background which shaped these works. Taught in English. (A or H)

ENG 321 Shakespeare and Film (L)
This course primarily focuses on the reproduction of Shakespeare's plays on film and, to a lesser extent, the appropriation of Shakespeare's plays by modern playwrights. Plays and films on which we will focus in the next several years include Heiner Muller's "Hamletmachine", Julie Taynor's "Titus", Michael Almereyda's "Hamlet", and Kristian Levring's "The King is Alive".

FLM 325 French New Wave Cinema
This course explores the very rich period in French Cinema during the 1950s and 1960s that is known as the French New Wave (La Nouvelle Vague). Spearheaded by a group of young directors who also wrote their own screenplays (Truffaut, Godard, Malle, Chabrol, Resnais, among others), this movement gave rise to "Le cinema d’auteur" as an innovative and influential way to produce films.
Attendance at weekly screenings is required.

FLM 328 Australian Cinema
The Australian Cinema embodies the spatial and temporal conditions of a distant, strange continent that is home to a complex relationship between the majority immigrant population (bearing the traditions and values of European, North American, and now Asian communities) and an indigenous people who date back over 50,000 years. The course will explore these issues by focusing on films made by Australian directors (auteurs) made in Australia and abroad, and on films made in Australia by non-Australian directors.
Attendance at weekly screenings is required.

FLM 330 New Asian Cinemas (D)
This course will selectively explore the national cinemas of Japan, China, Taiwan, India, and Korea. Although the course concentrates on recent, it will also attend to seminal movements in the development of national cinematic traditions, such as the postwar films of Akira Kurosawa and Yasujiro Ozu in Japan and Satyajit Ray in India. This course also surveys new East Asian cinema – for example, Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love (Hong Kong/China) Hou Hsiao-hsien’s City of Sadness (China), Edward Yang’s Yi Yi (Taiwan), Im Kwon Taek’s Chunhyang, and Takeshi Kitano’s Fireworks (Japan) – and one or two films from India (Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay and a selected Bollywood extravaganza.
Attendance at weekly screenings is required.

FLM 332 Film Cultures of North Africa & the Middle East (D) (W)
This course will focus on the development of national cinematic traditions in Egypt, on the struggle for cultural self-definition in the former French colonies of Algeria and Tunisia, on cinematic representations of post-revolutionary Iran, and on how Arab and Israeli filmmakers address the so-called “question” of Palestine. In order to provide students with a grounding in the film cultures in question, the course will also explore literary works and the commercial, social, and political conditions that inform film production, distribution, and reception. Meets general academic requirement D.
Attendance at weekly screenings is required.

FLM 334 Bollywood: Indian Popular Cinema
India’s Bombay/Mumbai-based cinema is one of the world’s few challenges to the influence of American film. This course examines the world’s largest film industry with the aim of understanding the place of popular cinema outside of the Hollywood model. We will consider the role of popular film in the development of Indian nationhood, its influence on notions of gender and caste, and its function as a binding influence on the Indian Diaspora. Meets general academic requirement D.
Attendance at weekly screenings is required.

FLM 336 African American Cinema
This course surveys African American filmmaking from the silent ear to the present, along with a few films that represent the broader African Diaspora. In addition, readings put all the films in the context of theoretical discussions concerning what constitutes “black,” “African,” or “Third Cinema,” politically and aesthetically. As the course proceeds chronologically, it briefly demonstrates images of African Americans in mainstream Hollywood films, but focuses primarily on how filmmakers of African descent have sought to respond to mainstream representations and create their own narratives and styles. The emphasis is on narrative films, with some attention to experimental films. Meets general academic requirement D.
Attendance at weekly screenings is required.

COM 340 Film Theory & Criticism
Approaches the principal theories of film considering the film text as a mode of communication, as an art form, and as an ideological practice. Explores how film and video control the production of pleasure and meaning during reception. Students view films representative of specific cultural and historical contexts, and are introduced to relevant theories and their application. Emphasizes the development of critical and analytical skills.
Prerequisite: COM 240, 241 Methods of Film & Video Analysis or COM 344, 345 Documentary Film or COM 346, 347 Exploratory Cinema

COM 346 Exploratory Cinema (A or H)
Examines the origin and growth of "avant-garde" cinema. Traces the history of film and video art from the early 1920s to the present focusing on its structural evolution, thematic shifts, coexistence with commercial cinema, and its impact on contemporary media.

FLM 348 Cinema’s Altered States
From the avant-garde to Hollywood blockbusters like The Matrix and Inception, the cinema provides a fertile ground for playing at the edge of narrative, and for testing credibility by constructing alternate logic. When films provide the rules of their own reality, spectators and their surrogate characters grope for a foothold of understanding and sanity. This course explores the phenomenon of film experience within the experience of film’s poetic manipulation of “reality”.
Attendance at weekly screenings is required.

FLM 349 Film Reviewing
This writing-intensive course focuses on the art of reviewing films for both popular and scholarly outlets. Students will write reviews of classic and contemporary films in a variety of lengths and formats, for different intended audiences. The course will also include extensive practice in editing and re-writing, and include weekend trips to local cinemas to review films on short deadlines. Students will create an online archive of all finished work, and learn about ways to develop and market their own critical voice. Meets general academic requirement W.
Attendance at weekly screenings is required.

FLM 450 Film Studies Seminar (W)
Advanced study and analysis of selected areas in film studies designed for majors and other qualified students. Topics may include auteur studies, genre or form studies, national or regional film studies, film theory, or explorations of film and popular culture. Special emphasis is placed on advanced textual and film analysis, scholarly discussion, and writing.
Pre-requisite: FLM 202 and senior film studies major or permission of the instructor.
Attendance at weekly screenings is required.

FLM 354 Film Noir
Dark shadows, low-key lighting, unusual camera angles, flashbacks, a sense of paranoia, and males manipulated by sultry, cigarette-smoking, seductive femme fatales characterize film noir, the only typically American film genre after the Western to emerge from Hollywood. Created during the 1940s and 50s, many by Jewish émigrés from Central Europe, film noir is usually considered a combination of German Expressionist cinematic style and the American hard-boiled detective story. This course will examine the classic works of the genre within their sociopolitical context and investigate why they were so popular among audiences, why they were able to violate some rules of the Production Code, why certain actors are inextricably linked to the genre, and why neo-noirs are still being made.
Attendance at weekly screenings is required.

FLM 360 Major Filmmakers
This course focuses on one or two major filmmakers and considers repeated and/or developing themes in his or her body of work. While the filmmakers under consideration vary, the course deals with similar questions each time: the validity of the auteur theory as a way of understanding film, the relationships between filmmakers and their art, and the nature of our ideas about art and artistic production. Attendance at weekly screenings is required.

FLM 450 Film Studies Seminar
Advanced study and analysis of selected areas in film studies designed for majors and other qualified students. Topics may include auteur studies, genre or form studies, national or regional film studies, film theory, or explorations of film and popular culture. Special emphasis is placed on advanced textual and film analysis, scholarly discussion, and writing. Attendance at weekly screenings is required.
Prerequisite: FLM 202 Film History II and senior film studies major or permission of the instructor. Meets general academic requirement W.

FLM 970 Film Studies Independent Study/Research
Independent study may be enrolled in any academic department with approval of the advisor and should provide an opportunity to undertake an in-depth examination of some facet of film studies literature and research findings.