Course Descriptions - Film
FILM 131 Film Analysis (4)
An introductory course in film appreciation with special emphasis on cinema as a dramatic art. Elements to be considered will include cinematography, performance, edited image, and sound. Selected films will be shown.
FILM 135 Classic Movies (4)
Study and analysis of representative films with special emphasis on the importance of directorial concept and the screenplay. Relationships between film and theater will be examined.
FILM 257 Digital Video Production I (4)
Digital Video Production I is designed to develop a broad range of skills integral to addressing a viewer/audience with moving images and sound. The course aims to advance skills not only in image and sound production and design, but also in writing and representational and organizational strategies for this work. Throughout this term, you will work collaboratively and on your own, using introductory technologies plus some writing exercises, to develop your critical skills as a viewer, maker and reader. Prerequisite: TA/FILM 131, Film major.
FILM 331U Understanding Movies (4)
An advanced course in film appreciation with special emphasis on cinema as a dramatic art. Elements to be considered will include cinematography, performance, edited image, and sound. Selected films will be shown.
FILM 358 Digital Video Production II (4)
This course will introduce you to the fundamental theories of editing as well as the technology and skills required to produce a well-edited work. You will learn about the history of editing and the great developments made in this art over the last century, you will study rhythm, continuity, style, space and motion. You will conduct in-depth studies of films, television programs, documentaries, commercials, trailers, music videos, and you will look at bodies of work from established editors. You will also explore the psychology of editing, and seek to answer questions like "What makes a cut work?" and "How does an effective edit engage a viewer?" You will learn how to use editing to shape and structure moving images and sound so as to invest them with intention and meaning. Prerequisite: TA/FILM 131, Film major.
FILM 359 Digital Video Production III (4)
In this course, you will take the basic skills you developed in writing, shooting and editing in DVP I and DVP II, and put them to work on a more substantial project of your own. The course will instead be built around experiential learning and your active engagement with the other students in the course. You will be presenting something in class almost every week. The main project of the course will be a 5-10 minute fictional narrative film that you will write, shoot, and edit. Unlike DVP I, which concentrated on group work, this course will take a more auteurist approach—each student will be responsible for making his or her own film. Prerequisite: FILM 131, 257. Film major.
FILM 360 Digital Video Topic: Digital Cinematography (4)
In this class, students will study and apply camera and lighting techniques for fiction and non-fiction film and video applications. We will address the technical aspects and aesthetic considerations of visual storytelling through lectures, screenings, demonstrations, exercises, creative projects and class critiques. Topics include: pre-production visualization, methods for shooting coverage, principles of composition, employing 2D and 3D space, the moving camera, using available light, production lighting techniques, how focal length impacts the shot, controlling depth of field, managing exposure, and the basics of blocking. Prerequisite: FILM 257. Film major.
FILM 360 Digital Video Topic: Music Videos: Theory and Practice (4)
Music Videos: Theory and Practice is a hybrid studies/production course that will explore the intersection of music and the moving image. In every class period there will be screenings, and discussion of selected readings and of the works we screen. We will also workshop our own productions, including written pitches, and entire from-the-ground-up music videos. In addition to an examination of the music video marketplace and production model, we will learn how to analyze music videos, and explore the relationships between music, lyrics, image, narrative, experiment, technology, editing, and design. After a look back at early incarnations of music in film and on television, and early attempts at music video production, we will depart on an in-depth examination of MTV, of music videos, and of the use of music in visual media production. Prerequisite: FILM 257. Admitted film major.
FILM 360 Digital Video Topic: Remakes: Theory and Production (4)
In this course we will explore the boundaries between art and plagiarism, between individual and institutional aesthetics, between homage and critique. Who likes remakes, and why? Why is Hollywood remaking so many films and TV series each year? Is it a symptom of a copycat culture devoid of new ideas, nostalgic for a mythic lost era in cinema, or a sign of a new postmodern thinking about what constitutes "New Material?" Can we create new connections with our audiences and with other filmmakers through the repetition of shared narratives? What cache does a film from the 1950s, the 1970s, the 1980s carry for a viewer in 2012? What is the relationship between a remake and an audience's collective memory? Is there learning value in the attempt to replicate something made? How is a film remake like a cover of a song? Why would a filmmaker do a shot-for-shot remake of another film? In this class, we will explore these questions through major production assignments, as well as in readings, discussions, screenings, and presentations. Prerequisite: FILM 257. Admitted film major.
FILM 360 Sound Design for Film (4)
In this class, we will explore the power of sound to direct, shape and alter the meaning of cinematic images. Through in-class screenings, we will analyze narrative films of all kinds, examining audiovisual relationships and their physiological, emotional and conceptual impacts on the viewer. Through creative projects, we will build fundamental strategies for applying sound design to narrative, including sound effects, foley, voice-over and music. We will strengthen the technical skills of editing, manipulating and placing sounds while searching for creative solutions and unexpected choices. Prerequisite: FILM 257. Admitted film major.
FILM 360 VFX After Effects (4)
This class focuses on fundamentals of visual effects and motion graphics, and an exposure to some of the theory, language, techniques and workflows involved in commercial, TV and Feature Film VFX production. Learning with Adobe After Effects, this class is a natural progression for students who are interested in graphic design, Photoshop image manipulation, video editing and digital film production. By following in class demos, we'll expand your imagination to beyond what can be seen with only a camera. And we'll take time out to learn how to digitally fix common student production mistakes, too! Prerequisite: FILM 257. Admitted film major.
FILM 365 Classic Movies (4)
An advanced study and analysis of representative films with special emphasis on the importance of directorial concept and the screenplay. Relationships between theater and film will be discussed.
FILM 370U Topics: Theater, Media, and Culture (4)
Study of a variety of dramaturgical, cultural, and historical issues as they appear in film, television, and other theatrical media. From quarter to quarter topics might include: 70's Film and TV Renaissance, '50's Media and Culture, Vietnam on Film, and Hitchcock.
FILM 370U The American Acting Style: Brando, Newman, De Niro (4)
An exploration of post-World War II American movie acting, with an emphasis on the Method Actors Marlon Brando, Paul Newman and Robert De Niro. We will acquaint ourselves with the theories of Method Acting and examine the ways in which these three icons of the screen embodied, molded and advanced the technique in their roles in such films as "On the Waterfront," "The Hustler," "The Godfather," "Taxi Driver," "The Verdict" and "Raging Bull."
*FILM 370U American Film Acting (4)
American Film Acting is a historical and stylistic examination of performance in American movies from the silent (speechless) era to the present. Will consider key historical developments in terms of changes in the approaches to screen acting and the evolution of an aesthetic both for receiving and interpreting filmed performances. Course will focus on selected actors from different eras and compare several approaches to on-screen performance. Illustrative films and film clips to be viewed in class.
*FILM 370U American Independent Film of the 1980s (4)
Many of the most acclaimed filmmakers of the past thirty years began with independent films made in the U.S. in the 1980s, including the Coen Brothers (Blood Simple), Gus Van Sant (Drugstore Cowboy), Allison Anders (Border Radio), Spike Lee (She's Gotta Have It), and Jim Jarmusch (Stranger Than Paradise). This course examines the aesthetic achievements of this period through a combination of screenings and readings.
*FILM 370U The Animated Feature (4)
This study takes an international perspective on feature-length animation, exploring the works and methods of studios including Disney, Studio Ghibli and Laika, as well as the work of individuals including Donald Bluth, Marjane Satrami, Richard Linklater, and Sylvain Chomet. We'll look at examples of traditional cell animation, stop motion, and computer animation. Students will have the opportunity to investigate particular films, artists or studios of their choosing.
*FILM 370U Blacklist Era Films (4)
The late 1940s and the 50s saw a movement that began in response to the rise of the Soviet Union's power, but transformed into virulent investigations of writers, directors and actors in film and television. This course profiles many of the creative individuals who were blacklisted from employment in their field; it explores the impact the years of Congressional investigations had on those artists and on American entertainment. Most films screened will be products of the era, supplemented by a few more recent films that look back at the time.
*FILM 370U Bodies in Motion: From Kino-Attractography to Silent Cinema (4)
This course considers how early film and pre-cinematic amusements and image-producing technologies, such as x-ray machines and series photography, captured the human body in motion, influencing how it was represented and understood in mass culture and early film and cinema. Among other topics, we may consider Muybridge and Marey's photographic motion studies to examind the relationship between still and motion pictures, study how early film was theorized in relation to the human body in American public discourse, and examine the rise of the Hollywood star system in the 1920s as it was accentuated by film styles and narratives that highlighted how bodies move and may be represented via such formal devices as the close-up and the long shot. If you were enchanged by The Artist (2011) or Hugo (2011), this class will augment the magic of those films by illuminating the historic and poetic conditions Scorsese and Hazanavicius tapped into their recent films.
FILM 370U Cinema Sound (4)
Though often defined as a visual medium, the cinema has always depended, in one form or another, on sound. This course examines various aspects of film sound from a historical and theoretical perspective. The class will be divided into four topical clusters: (1) sound theory and analysis; (2) the sound "crisis" of the late 1920s/early 1930s; (3) film music; and (4) the emergence of the "sound designer" in the 1970s. Individual and group exercises in close listening will help us to hone our critical ear, so that we can appreciate the numerous ways in which sound subtly (but often decisively) mediates our reception of moving images. We'll also use our screening time to develop our thinking about sound. Rather than screening films that simply illustrate particular moments in the history of cinema sound, we'll watch (and listen to) films that take sound and/or sound technology as their subject. Potential films to be screened include, M (Fritz Lang, 1931), The Invisible Man (James Whale, 1933), Singin' in the Rain (Stanley Donen/Gene Kelly, 1952), The Conversation (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974), Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989), as well as more recent films such as Berberian Sound Studio (Peter Strickland, 2012) and Upstream Color (Shane Carruth, 2013).
*FILM 370U The Classical Western (4)
This course offers a rigorous overview of the filmed Western, at one time one of the most popular cinematic and televisual genres in North America, from its origins to 1960. Topics including the vanishing frontier; law, order, and justice; nationalist expansion; individualism; natural environments; and racial and gender conflict, will guide our discussion of films such as The Great Train Robbery, The Massacre, Destry Rides Again, Stagecoach, My Darling Clementine, High Noon, Shane, and Johnny Guitar.
*FILM 370U The Coen Brothers (4)
Ever since Time magazine heralded Blood Simple as "a debut film as scarifyingly assured as any since Orson Welles['s Citizen Kane]," the Coen Brothers have been at the vanguard of American filmmaking. This course will utilize the techniques of formal film analysis to examine the Coen's cinematic signature(s), including recurring stylistic tropes, thematic interests, and reconfigurations of film genres. Readings will be assigned to offer a broader scope and historical contexts. Film screenings will include: Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, The Hudsucker Proxy, and Fargo, as well as several others.
*FILM 370U Contemporary Documentary (4)
With its growing popularity, new funding models, and ever-increasing technological possibilities, “documentary film” has become more prolific and democratic than ever. This course will look at documentary films made in the past 10 years and consider their relationship to both the larger history of non-fiction filmmaking and to other filmic forms. From recent critical hits such as 'Leviathan' or 'The Act of Killing' to cutting edge interactive and live/performed works, this course will look at the latest trends and sub-genres in documentary filmmaking and consider the ethical, historical, and aesthetic methodologies that inform them.
*FILM 370U Eighties Horror Cinema (4)
This course reads the pivotal decade of the 1980s through the horror films that it produced, reflecting not only real-life social anxieties but significant changes in the film industry itself. These changes included the rise of the “slasher” film, an increased emphasis on special effects along with bigger budgets, a nostalgic yearning for the 1950s, and a short-lived flirtation with 3-D, among others. Class screenings, readings, and discussions provide an overview of 1980s horror cinema and key developments in the genre. Tentative films include An American Werewolf in London (1981), Creepshow (1982), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), the black comedy Parents (1989), among others.
*FILM 370U Eighties Melodrama (4)
80s Melodrama examines the crucial relationship between film and history, along with how both intersect with specific genres in historically-situated periods. This class focuses on the 1980s, a key decade in film history, through melodrama including the 'family melodrama,' the 'teen melodrama,' the 'male melodrama,' and others.
*FILM 370U European Directors (4)
This course examines the innovative and influential European cinema of the 1950s through the 1970s by focusing on the work of three exemplary directors, on a rotating basis. Directors may include: Jean-Luc Godard, Federico Fellini, Francois Truffaut, Ingmar Bergman, Wim Wenders, Alain Resnais, and Luis Bunuel.
*FILM 370U The Fifties (4)
Why the fifties? It was an era of extremes and excess, a time of unsettled cultural values, a time when the nation's media landscape shifted irreversibly. This course will look at a pivotal era in American film, radio, and television as they were influenced by and influenced the culture.
*FILM 370U Film and Fashion (4)
This course explores the relationship between film and fashion. The cinema emerged as a popular entertainment at about the same time that “fashion” became associated with broader accessibility through mass-production; and the two industries have been deeply intertwined ever since. We will examine some of the ways that film and fashion have worked together (economically, aesthetically and ideologically) to produce, reflect and challenge ideals related, for example, to modernity, self-transformation and consumer culture, as well as how these institutions have both troubled and reinforced (often simultaneously) dominant formations of gender, race, class, and sexuality.
*FILM 370U Film Genres in Context (4)
This course offers an in-depth study of Hollywood film genres in the contexts of American culture, the film industry, and film criticism. Basing our study on three of the oldest genres, the western, the romantic comedy, science fiction. we will also consider some of the practices among filmmakers and filmgoers that attempt to keep genres alive and relevant.
*FILM 370U Film Noir 1940 to 1960 (4)
This course examines film noir from the twenty-year period considered to be the classic or first wave of film noir in the United States. Although critics, scholars, filmmakers and audiences have not developed a consensus about term film noir, we will consider it in relation to genre, ideology, aesthetics, and the representation of social difference. We will also investigate several recurring themes: suspicion of legal authority, the intersection of sexuality and violence, and the social displacement of individuals marked as other. Films shown for the course might include The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, The Killers, The Night of the Hunter, Gun Crazy, In a Lonely Place, and Touch of Evil.
*FILM 370U Film Noir from 1960 (4)
This course examines film noir and neo-noir as concepts that, after the studio era, are referenced explicitly by filmmakers and audiences. We will consider film noir in relation to genre, ideology, aesthetics, and the representation of social difference in the post-studio era. Our study will include several recurring themes: suspicion of legal authority; the intersection of gender, sexuality, and violence; and the social displacement of individuals marked as "other" by notions of race, ethnicity, and region. Films shown for the course might include The Long Goodbye, Chinatown, Blue Velvet, The Grifters, L.A. Confidential, Devil in a Blue Dress, The Man Who Wasn't There, Memento, and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
*FILM 370U Film Stardom (Stars, Celebrity, and Cultural Meaning) (4)
What makes a star? Why are stars important to us? Why do directors choose one star over another for a given role? This course explores the textual, psychological and social significance of stars in popular culture. Students will develop a case study of a star of celebrity of their choosing.
*FILM 370U The Gangster Film (4)
This course offers an in-depth study of the film genre in the contexts of American culture, the film industry, and film criticism. We will also consider some of the practices among filmmakers and filmgoers that keep genres alive, including spin-offs, parodies, shadows and transformations.
*FILM 370U Gangster Films and Musicals (We're in the Money!) (4)
Moviegoers may claim they prefer "realistic" movies, but the fact is many of the most popular movies of all time have been unlike any reality most of us know. This course will focus on two Hollywood genres that pull us into very different worlds - one the dark, violent world of the gangster, the other a utopia of music and dance.
FILM 370U High School Movie (4)
"Neomaxizoomdweebie: from the movie The Breakfast Club. It means the same thing as a loser, dork, or dweeb; except it's to the millionth power." (Urban Dictionary) Drawing upon texts such as William Paul's analysis of "Sexual Politics" in Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Robin Wood's examination of "Teen Films," and Joseph Reed's overview of the genre in his chapter "Let's Burn the School: The High School Picture" from his book American Scenarios: The Uses of Film Genre, this course will examine some of the recurring spaces, tropes, iconography, and power dynamics of The High School Movie. Films to be screened and/or discussed might include: Over The Edge, Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Heathers, and Superbad.
FILM 370U History of Documentary (4)
This course will introduce students to documentary history, theory, criticism and practice. Through screenings and classroom discussions we will review and analyze the evolution of the documentary genre and the varieties of approaches adopted by non-fiction filmmakers. We will study the various films focusing on diverse political, economic, cultural, social, and historical subjects. What are the techniques and tools of documentary expression? Are documentaries art? Propaganda? This course challenges students to develop a critical eye, and to deepen their appreciation of the documentary vision. We will also look at the modes or styles that have evolved over the years: including expository, observational, interactive and reflective. We'll also explore a number of other important areas that are central in documentary filmmaking, including ethical and legal questions and the importance of deep and thorough research.
FILM 370U Hollywood Blockbuster (4)
This course examines the "blockbuster" as produced by U.S. studios after 1975, investigating how, in the last forty years, even the most crowd-pleasing hits actually represented significant changes in filmmaking. We’ll consider the development of the "summer blockbuster" and such innovations as shifts in seasonal release patterns, merchandising, and the ratings classification system along with the rise of CGI and found footage in the 1990s before looking at more recent developments. Tentative films include Jaws (1975), Star Wars (1977), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Batman (1989), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), and The Blair Witch Project (1999), among others
*FILM 370U Martin Scorsese (4)
One of the most influential American filmmakers of the past forty years, Martin Scorsese combines explosive cinematic technique with a recurring set of thematic concerns, including obsession and redemption. This course will examine a selection of representative films directed by Martin Scorsese, including Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, and Raging Bull, as well as formative influences such as Italian Neo-Realism and John Cassavetes.
*FILM 370U Mockumentary (4)
Our historical-conventional understanding of documentary forms is that such modes present us with true, factual, and nonfictional narrative content. What happens then if the cinematic and the televisual formats that we associate with documentaries are used to present us with fake, phony, and fictional material? This course explores questions and concepts related to the Mockumentary (a.k.a. fake documentary, mock-doc) through readings, discussion, and screenings of films and television programs such as the films of Christopher Guest including This is Spinal Tap, Forgotten Silver, Reno 911!, True Stories, The Watermelon Woman, F is for Fake, and The Office.
*FILM 370U The Musical (4)
This course offers an in-depth study of the film genre in the contexts of American culture, the film industry, and film criticism. We will also consider some of the practices among filmmakers and filmgoers that keep genres alive, including spin-offs, parodies, shadows and transformations.
*FILM 370U Narrative Strategies: How Stories are Told on Film (4)
This course looks at the nuts and bolts of cinematic storytelling. Concentrating on films made in the past 30 years, we will examine the visual and structural strategies of classical storytelling and how they have been tweaked, revamped and reconsidered in recent cinema, in keeping with changes in the culture, the film industry and new technologies. The class will trace at least one film (Adaptation) from shooting script to finished film. Film makers are encouraged to share their projects for discussion.
*FILM 370U New German Cinema (4)
This course examines the stylistically diverse film movement known as New German Cinema, which flourished between the 1960s and early 1980s in West Germany. The filmmakers included under this banner made oppositional films that challenged dominant filmmaking practices, critiqued the current social and political order, and grappled with the complexities of German history. We will study the cultural, political, and historical context in which this movement developed as well as major films and filmmakers that came out of this context. Directors will include (among others) Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Werner Herzog, Margarethe von Trotta, Wim Wenders, Alexander Kluge and Helma Sanders-Brahms.
*FILM 370U New Wave Cinemas (4)
In this course we examine key elements, themes and problems associated with the New Wave movement. The late 1950s/early 1960s saw the emergence of several groups of young, movie-obsessed, iconoclastic artists and critics who made conscious efforts to develop a new film aesthetic – one that rejected what they saw as the pretension and sentimentality of mainstream cinema. We will become familiar with the most famous of these movements, the French New Wave (La Nouvelle Vague), and with contemporaneous movements in Japan and Czechoslovakia. This transnational perspective will help us to understand how and why some themes became relevant in multiple contexts, and also how geo-political and cultural differences resulted in varied treatments of similar issues. “New Wave” has continued to be used as a blanket term to describe film aesthetics concerned with upsetting the status quo. We’ll conclude by looking at how the New Wave phenomenon continued as an influence in the late 20th century, and use it to question some of the ways scholars have studied and categorized film history.
*FILM 370U Pacific Northwest on Screen (4)
What images and stories come to mind when you think of the Pacific Northwest? Mountains and primeval forests? Quirky, rain and beer soaked cities? Reese Witherspoon “finding herself” in the “Wild”? Narcoleptic hustlers and drugstore cowboys? Glittery, well-groomed vampires falling love? This class will explore why and how the Pacific Northwest has been represented in film. This is an interdisciplinary course that will combine film studies with cultural studies and cultural geography in order to understand the values, identities and power relations that have been historically attached to this landscape and geographic region. In addition to looking at how place is represented in individual films, we’ll consider the influence of globalization, and production and distribution practices.
*FILM 370U Queer Cinema (4)
Queer Cinema considers both the commercial representation of LGBTQ identities in international film from the silent era to the present, including the Queer New Wave in the US in the 1990s, while simultaneously exploring non-commercial and niche markets in which queer representation thrives. Alongside our study of representation, we will also consider how cinematic institutions, such as film festivals, respond to and cater to queer audiences. This class will feature weekly screenings and regular guest speakers.
*FILM 370U The Road Movie (4)
From Woody Guthrie's populist folk ballads to Jack Kerouac's rambling Beat journeys, the road has occupied a central place in the twentieth century American cultural imagination. In the late 1960s, Easy Rider combined the Western, B-Biker Movie, and Beat sensibilities to form the quintessential Road Movie. This course will examine The Road Movie genre from Easy Rider through Wim Wenders's meditative Road Movies of the 1970s through revisionist films of the 1980s and 1990s such as Powwow Highway, Thelma & Louise, and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, which foreground issues of race, gender, and sexuality. Stylistic, formal, and thematic hallmarks of the genre will be covered, including the quest narrative, countercultural ideology, and "mobility" in terms of both camera and character.
*FILM 370U Romantic Comedy/Romantic Drama (4)
Film audiences may have turned away from the romantic comedy, preferring instead romantic movies with more of an edge. This course will consider the romantic comedy at its best, as well as the genre's shadows, transformations, and TV interpretations that may have more resonance with contemporary audiences. A few classic comedies (such as It Happened One Night and His Girl Friday) will set the stage for later works, including teen pics (from Sixteen Candles to Scream), romance tinged with melodrama (Sleepless in Seattle and Moonstruck), and black comedies by the likes of Scorsese and Lynch (After Hours and Wild at Heart).
*FILM 370U Sci-Fi & Fantasy Film Costumes (4)
What is appropriate summer attire when visiting Oz? What kind body armor is needed when fighting an intergalactic nemesis? How will teenagers dress in the year 2045? This course explores costuming and character development for imaginary worlds and the technology involved executing these looks on the screen. We will study the evolution of sci-fi and fantasy costuming from silent film cinema to contemporary CGI blockbusters and familiarize ourselves with the designers and artisans responsible for creating these iconic characters. We will also examine the ways in which costuming choice of the hypothetical and make-believe reflect or influence the real world ideologies of their contemporary context.
*FILM 370U Serial Killer Genre (4)
An introductory course studying films according to their genres and common themes. Students will analyze how the recently developed genre of Serial Killer films has evolved over time and how American culture is reflected in that evolution.
*FILM 370U The 70s Film/TV Renaissance (4)
This course offers an in-depth study of Hollywood film genres in the contexts of American culture, the film industry, and film criticism. Basing our study on two of the oldest genres, the western and the romantic comedy, we will also consider some of the generic spin-offs, shadows and transformations of these genres and the discursive practices that keep them alive.
*FILM 370U Shakespeare on Film (4)
Shakespeare's name, plays, poetry, and image are a hot cultural commodity with name recognition to die for. How has this sixteenth century playwright survived for so long? Are his works truly universal and timeless? This course will focus upon Shakespeare as culture icon and how and why popular film culture has appropriated his image and spun his stories into box-office gold.
*FILM 370U Sports, Myth, and Contemporary Cinema (4)
In this course we are going to examine the marriage of sports and cinema. The two make nearly perfect bedfellows: both feature larger-than-life stars, incredible conflict, suspense that runs to the final seconds of the program, and amazing fairytale endings. Both give you someone to identify with, someone to root for. Both lay out before us all of our greatest dreams – who among us hasn’t wished at one point to hit the winning run in the World Series, or to throw the winning pass in the Super Bowl? In this class we will look at sports on film, thinking about how sports can define us, what they can teach us about ourselves, and how those lessons have been enacted in the cinema.
*FILM 370U Supernatural Horror Films, 1970s - Present (4)
Horror cinema has long been haunted by movies in which troubled families move into homes already occupied by ghosts, demons, and other supernatural forces. Focusing on the "supernatural family horror" sub-genre of the 1970s and 80s and its resurrection in the past decade, we will use ghosts and other "things that go bump in the night" to unlock the mystery of why supernatural horror remains so popular with moviegoers.
*FILM 370U Transnational Cinema (4)
This course will examine the concept of the transnational as it applies to film production, distribution, and reception around the globe. Films screened may include Black Girl (Sembene), Battle of Algiers (Pontecorvo), Fire (Mehta), and Tea in the Harem (Charef).
*FILM 370U Urban/Rural Space in Cinema (4)
Red states vs. Blue states. Wall Street vs. Main Street. We are living in time of deep – some feel intractable political divisions – and these divisions are often represented in geographic terms. In this course, we will explore some of the ways that the cinema has reflected and shaped our ideas about what “the city” means and what “the country” means. One of the fundamental qualities of cinema has been its ability to bring “other places” to our doorsteps. But movies don’t just depict landscapes as part of their settings; they attach values, identities and power relations to these landscapes. We’ll examine some of these values, and their implications for people trying to live in these “other places.” In addition to looking at how place is represented in individual films, we’ll consider the influence of globalization, and production and distribution practices.
*FILM 370U War and Colonialism in Arab Cinema (4)
This course interrogates the formation and characteristics of filmmaking in the Arab world, turning mainly to representations of war and colonialism in Arab cinema. Films will focus on French colonialism in Algeria, U.S. Occupation in Iraq, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, among other key war and colonial events in the Arab world. The course will discuss both the socio-historical context of film production and the thematic details treated in the selected films. Questions of national identity, political conflict, and post- and neo-colonial dynamics will be discussed through a wide selection of films, ranging geographically from North Africa to the Middle Eastern.
*FILM 370U Warner Brothers Films (4)
To explore the creative and corporate practices as well as the cultural legacy of the American film industry, this course will focus on Warner Bros. as a case study. By examining the executives, stars, directors, screenwriters and narrative strategies in key productions, we will trace the studio's evolution into the multimedia force it is today. Our focus will range from The Maltese Falcon to Million Dollar Baby as well as animated shorts, television series, music and new media.
*FILM 370 The Western since 1960 ("Back in the Saddle Again") (4)
While the Western has not maintained the popularity it once had during Hollywood's studio era, production of the genre has never ceased in the United States. In this course, we will consider Westerns produced since 1960 as we discuss revisions of the genre as well as "returns" to the genre's classical roots; the internationalization of the genre; nationalist expansion; and racial and gender conflict in films including examples of the "spaghetti" Western, The Wild Bunch, MacCabe and Mrs. Miller, Blazing Saddles, and Unforgiven.
*FILM 370U Women Filmmakers (4)
This course explores the work of women filmmakers, from the inception of film to today’s productions in film and television. We will take an international look at the work women have done as writers, directors, performers and producers of various projects, including creators as disparate as Ida Lupino, Agnes Varda, Sally Potter, Mira Nair and Kasi Lemmons. Students will also pursue solo projects on filmmakers of their choosing.
*FILM 370U Woody Allen (4)
Woody Allen is a filmmaker. He's also a jazz musician, playwright, comedian, philosopher, artist, author and nebbish. Despite his recent work in cities like London, Rome, Paris, and Barcelona, he is the filmmaker who will perhaps historically be most closely tied to New York City. In many ways, Allen's films are New York "they're fast, funny, complicated, paranoid, narcissistic, romantic, moving, and they never stop coming at you". For most of his career, Allen has worked on a one-film-a-year schedule. Even at the age of 77, he continues that pace: his 45th film, Blue Jasmine, was released this past summer. Roger Ebert described Allen as a "treasure of the cinema." And he is. One of the most prolific and influential filmmakers in history, Allen has provoked extensive critical inquiry; created his own subgenre of neurotic urban comedy, inspiring thousands of filmmakers who've come after him; and managed to remain relevant into his sixth decade of filmmaking, when most directors struggle to retain success after one or two films. Midnight in Paris, released in 2011, was the biggest hit of Allen's career, grossing over 150 million dollars. With that film, he also became the only screenwriter in history to win an Oscar in three different decades. In this course, we will examine as many facets of Allen's filmmaking as we can in our quick ten-week term. We will look at Allen's writing style; the nature of his comedy; his debt to his heroes, Bergman and Fellini; his relationship with New York; his feelings about art and filmmaking; his controversial personal life and the scandal that plagued him for much of the 1990s; the autobiographical aspects of his work; and the recurring philosophies and themes in his films.
FILM 374 Topics in Screenwriting (4)
Repeatable course in screenwriting involving short and long form screenplays, the analysis of narrative structure for the screen, and the practical application screenwriting techniques. Prerequisites: TA 131 OR TA 331. Admitted film majors only.
FILM 374 Topics in Screenwriting: Long Form Feature Workshop (4)
This course will take the form of a traditional writing workshop, with a focus on the feature film screenplay. Screenwriting is among the only types of writing that is ultimately never meant to be read by any level of mass audience. That is, you are composing texts that are intended to be realized in a non-literary medium – one grounded in audiovisual dimensions. The challenges of that undertaking will form the core focus of our workshops – issues such as story structure, dialogue, theme, voice, format, character development, action, setting, and descriptive writing. The main project in this course will be the first part of a feature film screenplay that you develop and write over the course of the term. As part of that process, you will have pitched your screenplay in class, written a pitch, directed a staged reading, and of course workshopped your script with your classmates. Prerequisites: TA 131 OR TA 331. Admitted film majors only.
FILM 374 Topics in Screenwriting: Screenwriting Workshop (4)
This course will take the form of a traditional writing workshop, with a focus on the feature film screenplay. Previous screenwriting experience or classwork is assumed, as we will not spend considerable time exploring screenwriting theory. If you are concerned about your level of experience, please see the professor before registration. Screenwriting is among the only types of writing that is ultimately never meant to be read by any level of mass audience. That is, you are composing texts that are intended to be realized in a non-literary medium—one grounded in audiovisual dimensions. The challenges of that undertaking will form the core focus of our workshops—issues such as story structure, dialogue, theme, voice, format, character development, action, setting, and descriptive writing. The main project in this course will be the first part of a feature film screenplay that you develop and write over the course of the term. As part of that process, you will have pitched your screenplay in class, written a proposal, directed a staged reading, and of course workshopped your script with your classmates. Prerequisites: TA 131 OR TA 331. Admitted film majors only.
FILM 374 Topics in Screenwriting: TV Script Analysis: Writing in Different Genres (4)
Any one wanting a career as a TV writer, or wanting a look behind the scenes, must understand how to write in the voice of any show. In this class, students will examine several top TV shows such as Breaking Bad through the lens of a staff writer. Each week we will read, watch, discuss and analyze an hour TV show. Students will then write in the voice of that show. Prerequisites: TA 131 OR TA 331. Admitted film majors only.
FILM 374 Topics in Screenwriting: Writing the TV Spec Script (4)
Aspiring and experienced TV writers use spec scripts as calling cards to attract agents and get on a writing staff. Students in this course will work on a spec script, either of original material or based on an existing show. Prerequisites: TA 131 OR TA 331. Admitted film majors only. By permission of instructor.
FILM 381 Film History I (1894 to WWII) (4)
In this course, the first of a three-part survey of the history of narrative film, we will look at the evolution of film language from the silent era to the introduction of sound; how the influences of a broad range of cinematic art movements, including Expressionism, Impressionism, Surrealism and Poetic Realism, contributed to the classical Hollywood style. We will also examine the artistic, economic and technological forces that led to the Hollywood studio system and the popularity of genres such as the western, the musical and the gangster film. Discussions, readings and short assignments will exercise students' abilities to think, speak and write critically about films and their historical context. Co-requisite: TA 381L Film History I Lab (Zero Credits.)
FILM 382 Film History II: Cinema and Modernism (1946-1970's) (4)
In this course, the second of a three-part survey of the history of narrative film, we will look at the major artistic, economic and technological trends of motion picture production during the post-war era; how directors such as Hitchcock and Welles were able find a unique expression within the parameters of the classical style and the commercial pressures of the studios. We will also explore how world cinema movements, such as neo-realism and the new wave, presented aesthetic and political challenges to the Hollywood model. Discussions, readings and short assignments will exercise students' abilities to think, speak and write critically about films and their historical context. Co-requisite: TA 382L Film History I Lab (Zero Credits.)
FILM 383 Film History III: Contemporary World Cinema (1970'S - PRESENT) (4)
In this course, the third of a three-part survey of the history of narrative film, we will look at contemporary world film production from the struggles of an independent and avant-garde cinema to the CGI effects of today's blockbuster. We will also examine how world cinema production has adapted to new digital technologies and the demands of a global market. Discussions, readings and short assignments will exercise students' abilities to think, speak and write critically about films and their historical context. Co-requisite: TA 383L Film History I Lab (Zero Credits.)
FILM 384/5U American Cinema and Culture I, II (4)
American Cinema/American Culture constitutes an examination of the American film industry as an art form, as an industry, and as a system of representation and communication within the context of American popular culture.
FILM 4/508 Documentary Field Production I, II, III (4, 4, 4)
Through a combination of lecture, film screenings and hands-on demonstrations, this course will familiarize students with the basics of producing, shooting and editing for documentary production. A major function of this class will be an emphasis on improving your storytelling skills and creative decision-making. This course will familiarize you with how to conceptualize and develop a television documentary. More specifically, the course will be divided into three major components: The Idea, Planning Your Production and Writing and Presenting Your Proposal. Prerequisite: Upper division standing or consent of instructor.
*FILM 4/508 Creating a Web Series for New Media (4)
One of the most exciting new areas of media production is a new version of an old idea: a TV series--but for the web. All over YouTube, original, fictional programming is being created for a new audience--in episodes of under seven minutes each! In this course, students will create their own web series, write episodes, discuss production techniques (including the SAG/AFTRA new media contracts) shoot some scenes!
FILM 4/508 Introduction to Documentary Video Production (4)
This is an introductory level course in video production for both broadcast and non broadcast applications. This course is designed for beginners or more experienced students needing a refresher course. Students will gain hands-on production experience using digital video with an emphasis on shooting, lighting, sound and basic editing techniques. It is designed to prepare you for the continuing series of documentary production classes where you will be working on personal and group projects with the ultimate goal of providing a broadcast quality story.
FILM 4/586 American Avant-Garde Film (4)
We will study film and video makers whose work intersects with underground cinema and the art world. Filmmakers to be studied include Maya Deren, Stan Brakhage, George Kuchar, Peggy Ahwesh, Kenneth Anger, Andy Warhol, Su Friedrich, and Miranda July.
FILM 4/586 Feminist Film/Theory (4)
This seminar will provide an overview of some of the major perspectives and contributions that feminist theory has made to how we think about cinema. It will also introduce several feminist directors/films, which may include Dash’s Daughters of the Dust, Chytilova’s Daisies, Ackerman’s Je, tu, il, elle, and other films that have been major topics of feminist debate, such as Stella Dallas. Topics examined may include psychoanalytic theories of the gaze, women and the avant-garde, feminism and transnational cinema, and feminist documentary.
FILM 4/586 Film Analysis for Secondary Teachers (4)
This course introduces secondary education teachers and undergraduate/graduate students interested in secondary education to the concepts and methods related to film analysis for use in their classrooms. We will explore concepts related to the formal analysis of film including cinematography, mise-en-scene, editing, narrative, and genre. Students will develop their comprehension of foundational aspects of analysis within the field and methods for teaching these concepts to their students. In doing so, we will consider specific films as both historical and aesthetic texts that may be used to engage students in the history and development of the medium. Students also will utilize contemporary methodological frameworks, such as cultural studies and work with primary source historical materials, within their own work, which includes essays, presentations, short films, and the creation of assignments for use in their own classrooms. For current secondary teachers, this course counts as 80 PDUs (4 credits on quarter system). For PSU Film majors, this course counts as an upper-division elective in the major. Other undergraduate and graduate students should consult with their major advisors to include this course in their program of study.