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Courses

FALL 2016

FSCP 81000 – Film History I, Professor Anupama Kapse, Tuesday, 4:15-8:15pm, Room C-419, 3 credits [32013] Cross listed with THEA 71500, ART 79500 & MALS 77200
This class will survey the emergence of cinema from inter-related perspectives that situate early experiments with moving images alongside older moving image technologies and theatrical practices that often coexisted with the new medium. The course will not only focus on cinema’s so-called progress but its ability to radically enhance viewing possibilities, alter public culture, change perceptions of modernity, picture new women, mobilize race-gender politics and effect social transformation. We will situate these topics within the larger context of international film movements, the development of national cinemas worldwide, and broader questions of film archaeology and historiography. Although our primary examples will be drawn from American silent cinema, we will also consider British, Indian, Chinese, Russian, Swedish and German examples to better understand the global spread and varied applications of the medium. Finally, we will examine the initial impact of sound on cinema though, as we will see, silent cinema often included some sort of aural accompaniment. Students will be encouraged to think of film history as a practice that extends beyond silent cinema into a host of related areas: these include not only ‘discarded’ media and film formats but medium crossings between theater, literature and local performance traditions such as shadow puppetry, and the various incarnations of opera. To that end, this class will ask students to explore the different methods available for producing film history and ask how film continues to proliferate after the ‘death’ of celluloid. Requirements: Readings must be completed before the day for which they are slotted. Please come to class on time. Full attendance, engaged viewing, and active classroom participation are vital for your success. Discussion--20%. Reading responses and discussion questions-10 %. A research paper with original content (20-25 pages) on a topic of your choice will fulfill a major requirement for this course—70%. Your topic must be chosen in consultation with me. A one page proposal will be due five weeks before the final paper is due, after which we will meet to discuss your topic. More than one absence will make it difficult to pass the course. Please let me know at least a day in advance if you are going to miss class, unless you have an emergency. List of screenings and key readings available in the Certificate Programs office (Room 5110).
 

FSCP 81000 - Film Art: Visual/Verbal Interrelations, Professor Mary Ann Caws, Wednesday, 2:00-6:00pm, Room C-419, 3 credits [32012], Crosslisted with CL 86500 THEA 81500
My previous film courses have had to do with the representation of great works of literary art into film (James, etc., with the movements of Dada and Surrealism, and also with various careers as they have been represented: architecture, priesthood, librarianship, writings, etc. I want to consider again – thinking of the anxiety of representation, my original title, various picturings (biographical and documentary) of verbal and visual artists. Of particular interest are the deformations, additions, and omissions occasioned by the differing viewpoints of the writers, filmmakers, and directors, as well as the available stars and their strengths and weaknesses.

How we speak and write about the cinematic along with the pictorial and the literary is the point of this seminar. Readings and viewings will include selections such as the following, not necessarily these 1) novels and stories --Henry James (The Golden Bowl in its two versions, the Altar of the Dead), Marcel Proust (we would choose, depending on the participants and their concerns); Edith Wharton ( Age of Innocence), Virginia Woolf ( To the Lighthouse, Orlando) 2) reading of Stéphane Mallarmé’s essays on dance and versions of dance films: Russian Ark, The Black Swan, Frederick Wiseman’s film La Danse, the Russian ballet film, and so on; 3) films of Joseph Cornell and readings from his letters and source files together with Stan Brakhage’s Wonder Ring (backwards), Jerome Hill’s films overpainted 4) surrealist films including Le Chien Andalou and writings by Dali, such as his novel Hidden Faces ; Jean Cocteau’s Blood of a Poet; or then, or extracts from Les Parents Terrible, Les Enfants Teribles 5) if we can get Peter Greenaway’s presentations of Veronese and his films with Tom Phillips, such as The Tempest; and Rembrandt’s "J’accuse" and "Nightwatching". What kinds of very different questions are elicited by these interrelated concepts, works, and materials?

Readings will probably include, as well as the obvious ones in relation to these films George Bluestone’s Novel into Film – and reference books on the relations of art and text, such as those by W.J.T. Mitchell on the side of theory, and on the visionary side: Joseph Cornell’s Theatre of the Mind: Selected Diaries, Letters and Files: (ed. M.A. Caws) and other writings on Cornell and his relation to surrealism; and readings from my The Eye in the Text and the Surrealist Look,: an Erotics of Encounter; Tom Phillips’ the Humument and other art books.

Let me give some examples of the kind of questions that arise: in "Carrington," Christopher Hampton’s film about Dora Carrington and Lytton Strachey, the male writer, Lytton, is allowed to be bisexual whereas Carrington, definitely bisexual also (see her writings about and nude portraits of Henrietta Bingham) is painted as heterosexual Why the complexities of one and not the other? Still on Bloomsbury, the renderings of To the Lighthouse, and the very great Orlando, with Tilda Swinton (how not?) and of the intrigue of Virginia Woolf and the no less interesting Vita Sackville-West, glancing at the BBC version of their lives together with the intrusive and unforgettable Violet Trefusis. We might, if there is time and interest, make a stab at films and videos about Picasso and his various mistresses, reading along with what is relevant. How to picture genius, that kind of thing. Speaking of genius, and given the genius of Derek Jarman, we may well confront his baroquely splendid Caravaggio, which we would see alongside Francine Prose’s book Caravaggio, and plunge into various films/biopics about Van Gogh, Sylvia Plath, and the recent Mr. Turner.

RESUME: IN GENERAL:We will be especially dealing with diverse applications and interrelations of various ways in which the fields of art and literature have entered into the universe of film. Among our investigations some of the following will be included, depending on the interests of the participants, the time slots and the availability of the DVDs, videos, and so on:

novel, story, poem, and dance as they can be related to film -- certain questions of omission and deformation will arise

paintings and film (artist biographies, video and exhibition films, gustatory visuality)

performance art (dance, drama, musical concert) and film (poetic readings, opera, ballet) -- videos

marginal and "poetic" film creations (such as those by Joseph Cornell, Jerome Hill, Brakhage, Jean Cocteau, and the surrealists)

documentaries: Frederick Wiseman and the ballet, the art gallery and readings and viewings

Each participant will present at least once an interrelation between some work of art and some film, and write on another interrelation for a final paper, so that each person will have a minimum of two investigations, preferably in two very different fields. Museum visits encouraged.

FSCP 81000 - Rock & Roll & Film & Video: Noise & Image, 1954-2014, Professor Marc Dolan, F, 11:45am-2:45pm, Room C-419, 3 credits [32014] Crosslisted with THEA 81500
This course will examine the ways in which one medium has adapted itself to depict another, how cinema has been changed by fifty years’ worth of attempts to capture the essence and experience of rock ‘n’ roll. Originally depicted in mid-twentieth-century films as a novelty or threat—almost as if it were a new ethnic group that endangered transatlantic consensus culture—rock became more familiar subject matter in films of the 1960s and 1970s. Young filmmakers who prided themselves on the uniqueness of their generation’s experience tried to capture rock performance and fandom at this time in a way that did not necessarily repeat the formal poetics of music-on-film that had been inaugurated thirty years before at the height of swing. In succeeding decades, as both the music and its fans aged, rock became a less literal, more mythic subject for filmmakers, with the figures of the rock star and the rock fan becoming more abstracted the farther away audiences got from the new music’s postwar origins. The course will begin with a short, expositional survey of the first three decades of jazz and film but then move rather quickly to the cinematics of rock itself.

The first half of the semester will be taken up with a historical survey of film on rock, moving from 50s exploitation films [The Girl Can’t Help It (d: Frank Tashlin, 1956)/King Creolen (d: Michael Curtiz, 1958)] to 60s depictions of the world of the British invasion [A Hard Day’s Night (d: Richard Lester, 1964)/Blowup (d: Michelangelo Antonioni, 1966)] to the new poetics of American folkrock [Woodstock (d: Michael Wadleigh, 1970)/The Last Waltz (d: Martin Scorsese, 1978)] and British punk [Jubilee (d: Derek Jarman, 1977)/Straight to Hell (d: Alex Cox, 1987)] in the 1970s and 1980s. After a brief investigation of the effects of MTV on both rock and cinema [selected videos by David Fincher, John Sayles, Spike Lee et al/selected episodes of Miami Vice (1984-1989], the course will shift in its second half to a more thematic approach, first examining depictions of local music scenes [Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains! (d: Lou Adler, 1981)/Light of Day (d: Paul Schrader, 1987)] and the music industry itself [Sugar Town (d: Alison Anders & Kurt Voss, 1999)/Laurel Canyon (d: Lisa Chodolenko, 2002)], and then moving on to the consideration of rock and roll as history [Quadrophenia (d: Franc Roddam, 1979)/Absolute Beginners (d: Julien Temple, 1986)], autobiography [Tro, h b og k rlighed  Twist and Shout (d: Bille August, 1984)/Almost Famous (d: Cameron Crowe, 2000)], and myth [Phantom of the Paradise (d: Brian DePalma, 1974)/Streets of Fire (d: Walter Hill, 1984)], finally concluding with treatments of the figure of the rock star as symbolic figure [Performance (d: Donald Cammell & Nicolas Roeg, 1970)/Pink Floyd The Wall (d: Alan Parker, 1982)] and postmodern subject [Velvet Goldmine (d: Todd Haynes, 1998)/I’m Not There (d: Todd Haynes, 2007)]. If time permits, we may spend a week on the borrowed, self-generated, and imposed iconographies of David Bowie. Readings will be drawn from David E. James, Rock ‘n’ Film (2016), John Kenneth Muir, Rock and Roll on Film (2007), and Marc Wiengarten, Station to Station: The Secret History of Rock and Roll on Television (2002), as well as a number of journal articles.

Prior musical experience or training is not a prerequisite for the course, but a good set of headphones might be nice.

FSCP 81000, Neorealism & Beyond: The Golden Age of Italian Cinema, 1945-1975, Professor Giancarlo Lombardi, W, 6:30-10:00pm, Room C-419, 3 credits [32015], Cross listed with CL 85000

This course will examine the flowering of Italian cinema after World War II and its transformation in the 1960s by focusing initially on the production of Rossellini, De Sica, Visconti, Antonioni, and Fellini. It will explore the historical, social, and theoretical roots of Neorealism and the different ways each of these directors participated in this movement and was in turn influenced by it. The course will then show some of the directions they took in their later work, which focused more on the malaise of the middle class, and was often more personal, more psychological, more historical, more operatic, or more theatrical. Later, the course will also explore the work of important younger directors who first emerged in the 1960s, including Pasolini, Olmi, Bertolucci, Bellocchio, and Scola, and will briefly conclude with a discussion of the legacy of the masters of Italian cinema in contemporary film directors such as Gianni Amelio, Paolo Virz , Matteo Garrone, and Paolo Sorrentino. Readings will include essays by theorists of Neorealism, such as Zavattini and Lizzani, and by a range of film critics spanning from André Bazin, James Agee, and Peter Brunette to Millicent Marcus, David Forgacs, and Sam Rohdie. Course requirements: Students will watch one film at home and one in class. They will be expected to submit a 25-page research paper at the end of the course.

THE FOLLOWING COURSE IS EQUIVALENT TO FSCP 81000 AND WILL FULFILL PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

PHIL 77800, Philosophy of Motion Pictures, Professor Noël Carroll, T, 11:45am-1:45pm, Room TBA, 4 credits [32399], Cross listed with CL 86500 This course will explore the fundamental question in the philosophy of motion pictures including: what is the moving image, medium specificity, the nature of the cinematic image, cinematic sequencing,nonfiction cinema, movie genres, cinema and affect, cinema and morality, cinema and knowledge cinema as philosophy and related topics. Grading is based on class participation, a class presentation, and a research paper. There are no prerequisites.