Film Studies

COURSE FOR MAJORS/MINORS

 

RECENT SPECIAL TOPICS FILM COURSES

FLM 281 Indiewood, USA
This course explores the movement to develop and sustain a low-budget, risk-taking, reality-based strain of independent film production in America as an alternative to the dominance of commercially-driven Hollywood product and production standards. In addition to screening and exploring some of the best such films produced over the course of 50 years, this course attends closely to the struggle of some of the more successful independent filmmakers (and actors) to maintain their commitment to alternative practices in the face of the seductions of Hollywood, on the one hand, and formal conventions fostered by organizations like the Sundance Film Festival & Institute on the other. Filmmakers and films we study will be drawn from a list that includes John Cassavetes (Shadows), Martin Scorsese (Mean Streets), Terence Malick (Badlands), Charles Burnett (Killer of Sheep), Jim Jarmusch (Stranger than Paradise), Joyce Chopra (Smooth Talk), John Sayles (Lianna), Whit Stillman (Last Days of Disco), Steven Soderbergh (sex, lies & videotape), Abel Ferrara (Bad Lieutenant ), David Lynch (Blue Velvet), Sadie Benning (It Wasn’t Love), Gus van Sant (My Own Private Idaho), Julian Schnabel (Basquiat), Kimberley Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry), Larry Clarke (Kids), Hal Hartley (Trust), Michael Cuesta (L.I.E.), Kelly Reichardt (Wendy & Lucy), and Richard Linklater (Waking Life). Required Monday evening screenings. Open to all students at all levels. 
Meets general academic requirement HU.

FLM 288 Directing/Performance Film
This is an introductory-level course in directing and acting for camera, focusing on philosophies of screen acting, the ability to work within the technical requirements of screen media, and the development of productive and respectful working relationships on set. Students will both direct and act in this course, but no previous directing or acting experience is required. 

FLM 380 Pre-Production Plan/Design
Students will learn the process of film and videomaking from idea stage to the day before shooting begins. We will focus on generating compelling subjects, scripting and storyboarding, casting and location scouting, and all of the work that goes into creating engaging images in front of a camera. 

FLM 382 Global Queer Cinema
This course introduces students to a range of contemporary queer cinema from across the globe as well as key questions in queer film studies. Through close engagement with theoretical readings and film texts, we’ll consider questions like what constitutes queerness, how does the definition shift accross cultural contexts, and is there a queer aesthetic? Screenings will include Happy Together, by acclaimed Chinese filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai, Fire, a lesbian love story by the Indian-Canadian director Deepa Mehta, French filmmaker Céline Sciamma’s coming-of-age tale featuring a gender non-conforming protagonist, Tomboy, and many more. 

FLM 385 Cinema of New Europe
This course examines films that emerged in the “new Europe” after the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, in the wake of the expansion of the European Union in the 1990s, and as a consequence of the mixing and mingling of Eastern and Western Europeans, and of immigrants from Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean, which has radically altered the ethnic composition of most European societies, particularly France. Directors whose work will be screened and discussed will likely include Mathieu Kassovitz (La Haine), Michael Haneke (Caché), Claire Denis (I Can’t Sleep), Wim Wenders (Lisbon Story), Fatih Akin (Edge of Heaven), and Lars von Trier (Zentropa), among others. Open to students at all levels. 
Meets general academic requirement HU and DE.

FLM 386 Quentin Tarantino
This course will examine the films directed by Quentin Tarantino, whose fast talking, allegedly super violent films helped to reinvigorate American cinema. Tarantino was largely an autodidact who learned his craft watching films while working in a video store. Like Tarantino, we will watch films closely and analyze their themes and structures. We will focus on Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, the two-part Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds, and Django Unchained as well as some of the many disparate films that influenced him. Selected French New Wave and Asian films, The Killing, Coffy, The White Hell of Piz Palu, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, as well as others will also be examined. Time should permit us to screen some of these films in their entirety during the class meetings. From other films we will only have time to watch excerpts, and you will probably be required to watch two or three films outside of class—more details regarding out-of-class screenings will follow. Course readings will consist of one novel by Elmore Leonard, two screenplays by Tarantino, as well as secondary literature on Tarantino and postmodern popular culture. Disclaimer: It is presumed that all students enrolled in this film studies course are familiar with Tarantino’s films. These films contain scenes of very graphic violence and vulgar language. If you feel uncomfortable watching and discussing these films, then you should choose another course. 

FLM 387 Art of Video Editing
While editing was historically seen as merely a nuts-and-bolts technical pursuit, it has increasingly proven indispensable to the artistic process. Applying theoretical and practical frameworks, we will consider pacing, rhythm, sequencing, continuity, sound, color and other elements in an editor's arsenal, to explore the many ways that editing contributes to story and concept development. How, for example, can an edit align with and accentuate the dynamics of a scripted scene? What are the demands of nonfiction editing, and in what ways might these two modes align? Students will explore the art of editing through hands-on exercises using Adobe Premiere Pro. 
Pre-requisite: COM 251 Intro to Moviemaking, or permission of instructor.

FLM 388 Video Journalism
As journalism evolves, more media outlets rely on documentary principles to convey their message: strong, character-driven stories; compelling visuals; dynamic sound-image relationships. Video journalists in this course will partner with writers in Intro to Long-Form Journalism to research and produce multi-media stories about issues pertinent in the Lehigh Valley. This course will also count as an elective in the Media & Communication major and in the new Documentary Storymaking Minor. 

FLM 389 Writing The TV Spec Script
Writers seeking work in the television industry generally complete a "spec script," a complete script for an episode of a program that already exists. The challenge is to tell a new story using existing characters without changing any of the fundamentals of the show. In this course, students will study and write a spec script for an existing show of their choice. As with all writing courses in film studies or the creative writing minor, this course aims to develop students’ creative voices in ways that are applicable to all kinds of writing. We will spend a considerable amount of time thinking about where ideas come from, how we can develop ideas, and the role of creative collaboration in television writing.

PRODUCTION & WRITING COURSES

COM 251 Introduction to Moviemaking
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.
Meets general academic requirement AR.

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.
Required lab.
Prerequisite(s):COM 251 - Introduction to Moviemaking.

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. 
Prerequisite(s):COM 251 Introduction to Moviemaking recommended.

COM 467 CUE: Advanced Video Production
Students explore the convergence of video and digital media while studying the problems of constructing narrative and documentary texts within emerging experimental formats.  Through their research-production projects, students learn to work with more advanced visual and organizational concepts and tools.  Legal and ethical issues involved in media production are considered.  Students present ongoing work and final projects in either an online or broadcast venue.
Pre-requisite: COM 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 226 Introduction to Screenwriting
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
Meets general academic requirement AR.

ENG 364 Advanced Screenwriting

Students will conceptualize, outline, and write a feature-length screenplay, focusing on story structure, character development, conflict, dialogue, and resolution.  Writers will comment on each other’s work in a workshop setting.  Students should start conceptualizing their ideas well in advance of the start of the semester. 
Prerequisite(s): ENG 226 - Introduction to Screenwriting or permission of instructor. 

STUDIES COURSES

COM 240 Introduction to Film Analysis 
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.
Meets general academic requirement HU.

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.
Meets general academic requirement HU.

FLM 202, 204 Film History II: 1950-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. 
Attendance at weekly screenings is required.
Prerequisite(s): FLM 201 - Film History I: 1895-1950 or permission of the instructor.
Meets general academic requirement HU (and W when offered as 202).

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.
Meets general academic requirement HU.

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. 
Attendance at weekly screenings is required.

Meets general academic requirement HU.

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. 
Attendance at weekly screenings is required.

Meets general academic requirement DE.

ENG 238, 239 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. 
Meets general academic requirement HU (and W when offered as 239).

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. 
Attendance at weekly film screenings is required

Meets general academic requirement DE and HU.

ENG 255 Literature and Film 
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.
Meets general academic requirement HU.

ENG 263, 264 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. 
Meets general academic requirement HU (and W when offered as 264).

GRM 316, 317 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. 
Meets general academic requirement HU (and W when offered as 317).

ENG 321 Shakespeare Reproduced 
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".
Prerequisite(s): THR 100 Theatre & Society: An Historical Introduction or any 200 level ENG course or permission of instructor.
Meets general academic requirement W when offered as 322.

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 330 New Asian Cinemas 
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.
Meets general academic requirement DE and HU.

FLM 332 Film Cultures of North Africa & the Middle East 
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 DE.

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. 
Attendance at weekly screenings is required.
Meets general academic requirement DE.

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. 
Attendance at weekly screenings is required.
Meets general academic requirement DE.

COM 346 Exploratory Cinema 
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.
Meets general academic requirement HU.

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. 
Attendance at weekly screenings is required.
Meets general academic requirement W.

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.
Meets general academic requirement HU.

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 CUE: 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(s): FLM 202, 204 Film History II: 1950-Present 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.