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FALL 2014

FSCP 81000 – Aesthetics of Film, Professor Robert Singer, Monday, 4:15-7:15pm, Room C-419, 3 credits  [25078] Cross listed with  THEA 71400, ART 79400 & MALS 77100

Film Aesthetics provides the student with the basic skills necessary to read a film. This course concentrates on formal analysis of the aesthetic and ideological elements that comprise historical and contemporary cinema. This course introduces the student to various genre of narrative cinema and different categories of cinema such as experimental, documentary, animation and hybrid forms produced in the United States and internationally. Particular emphasis is placed on the analysis of the film’s artistic/ideological contents.  We will learn to recognize the techniques and conventions that structure our experience of cinema – narrative systems, mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing, sound, genre – in order to understand how these various components combine to yield film form, as we focus on the work of important film theorists. Learning goals for students in this course include the ability to apply effective research tools and techniques from print and digital resources, the development of competence in the presentation of research knowledge in written communication (an approved final paper, approximately 20 pages, based on the course material) and oral communication (an in-class report). All films are screened in advance, or in-class, in select shot sequences. The required text is Timothy Corrigan and Patricia White’s The Film Experience: An Introduction. 3rd ed. (Bedford/St. Martin’s 2012), and additional reading selections will be placed on a course CD.

FSCP 81000 – Film History  II,  Professor Marc Dolan, Thursday, 11:45am-2:45pm, Room C-419, 3 credits  [25079] Cross listed with THEA 71500, ART 79500 & MALS 77300  

This is a course in the history of international film in the golden age of mass culture, from a time of global depression to the dawn of the age of globalization.  In the early weeks of the course, we will consider how the shock of synchronization made the global film industry more centrifugal than it had been for at least a decade, and threw filmmakers back to a much more concentrated focus on their intranational studio systems, most famously in the US but also in most European countries.  Special attention will be given in our meetings to how the most advanced techniques in film were harnessed to the cause of national propaganda, not only in Nazi Germany but also in the US. 

The extent to which individual artifice could succeed and even thrive within an industrial/national system of film production will be a major theme in the early part of the course, as we weigh the triumphs of both the individual artistic achievements of this period (Le Regle de Jeu) as well as collective ones (The Wizard of Oz).

The later part of the course will focus on post-WWII international trade in film, which turned the commodification and cachet of “art cinema” into a method for exhibiting national difference.  Italian Neo-Realism, the French New Wave, and the rebirth of Swedish naturalism will be examined in this context, as will the varied circulation beyond Indian borders of the works of Satyajit Ray and Raj Kapoor. 

The internalization of film capitalization and production in the 1960s will then be considered, not only the ways in which American Westerns were made in Spain and Burt Lancaster became an Italian film star, but also the ways in which such Eastern European directors as Roman Polanski and Milos Forman could become mainstays of US commercial films.  In the 1960s, film once again became what it had been before synchronization—a so-called “international language.”  After the preceding three decades, however, the national “dialects” of that language were now much more manifest than they had been during the late silent period, and more generally accepted than they had been four decades before.

In our final weeks, we will give consideration to the mass culture equivalent of the 1960s high culture explosion of cinephilia:  the explosion of exploitation cinema during the 1970s.  The globalization of grindhouses and driveins during the 1970s (including the significant spread throughout the US and Europe of films from Hong Kong’s Shaw Brothers Pictures) paved the way for a later VCR-enabled generation of independent filmmakers.  Readings will primarily be drawn from David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson’s Film History: An Introduction and Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen’s anthology Film Theory and Criticism, but other readings will be put on reserve to reflect the specific interests of registered students.

FSCP 81000 - Performing Blackness from Stage to Screen, Professor Racquel Gates,  Tuesday, 2:00-6:00pm, Room C-419, 3 credits [25080] Cross listed with ART 89600, THEA 81500 & AFCP 80000

Since its inception, film has been fascinated with the aesthetic and performative dimensions of blackness. Whether it is the spectacle of white soapsuds against black skin in A Morning Bath (Edison, 1896) or the numerous screen adaptations of the novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin that dominate early narrative film, cinema has always been inextricably entwined with blackness. Given early cinema’s connection to stage performance, it should come as little surprise that many of the tropes and representational strategies that the cinema adopted to portray blackness bore, and continue to bear, close relation to minstrelsy.

This seminar will trace the development of such representational strategies over the course of cinema from its inception to the current day. More specifically, the course will examine the ways that “performing blackness” has played a crucial role in the evolution of the medium, whether from the perspective of Jewish artists trying to establish their racial identities in early Hollywood, or African American artists attempting to subvert dominant representational modes. While the course will focus heavily on Hollywood cinema and mainstream media, it will also incorporate discourses from performance studies, critical race studies, and gender studies.

Screenings will cover a large range of genres and historical periods, from Edison’s early shorts to more recent releases like Spike Lee’s Bamboozled (2000). Course assignments will consist of in-class presentations, an ongoing reading/screening journal (3-4 pages per week), as well as a final seminar paper (20 pages). Students will choose a specific week where they will present the reading/s to the class and assist the professor in leading discussion. The journal will consist of the students’ responses to the readings and the screenings, which they will update weekly. Students will choose their final paper topic based on their own academic interests and the focus of the course. 

Reading/screening list available in Certificate Programs Office (Room 5110)

FSCP 81000– Contemporary Spanish & Mexican Cinema & Television, Professor Paul Julian Smith, Wednesday, 4:15-6:15pm, Room TBA, 3 credits [25081] Crosslisted with SPAN

This course, which is taught in English and requires no knowledge of Spanish, compares and contrasts Spanish and Mexican cinema and television of the last three decades. The course will address four topics in film: the replaying of history, cinematic genres and auteurism, gender and sexuality, and nationality and transnationalism; and will further study aspects of television fiction.

Feature films will be viewed in subtitled versions and English-language synopses will be provided of TV episodes. Methodology will embrace analysis of the audiovisual industry, film form, and theory. Grading is by written exam (25%), student oral participation and presentation (25%) and final paper (50%). A reader in English will be available and further bibliography in Spanish provided on request. Filmography, bibliography, and class schedule available in Certificate Programs Office (Room 5110). COURSE IS OPEN TO PH.D. STUDENTS ONLY

FSCP 81000 – Antonioni and Fellini: The Challenges of Italian (Post)Modernist Cinema - Professor Giancarlo Lombardi, Tuesday, 6:30-10:00pm, Room C-419, 3 credits [25082] Cross listed with C L 86500

This course will juxtapose the rich and complex film production of two Italian auteurs, Federico Fellini and Michelangelo Antonioni. While Fellini and Antonioni’s films differ in style, narrative preference, and political orientation, they evidence a common self-reflexive concern for the relationship of cinematic images, sounds, and stories. Neorealism will serve as a starting point for an analysis of Fellini’s postmodern negotiation of autobiographical surrealism as well as Antonioni’s peculiar reframing of cinematic modernism.

This course will analyze Antonioni and Fellini’s most important films, placing their work in (film) historical contexts, and theorizing their interest in the aesthetics of cinematic representation and the politics of storytelling. Students will be asked to watch 2 movies a week, one in class and one at home, so that by the end of the course they will be familiar with the majority of these filmmakers’ work.

Films to be screened include: Story of a Love Affair (Antonioni, 1950),  The Vanquished (Antonioni, 1953), Love in the City (Antonioni/Fellini, 1953), Le Amiche (Antonioni, 1955), Il Grido (Antonioni, 1957), L’Avventura (Antonioni, 1960), La Notte (Antonioni, 1961), L’Eclisse (Antonioni, 1962), Red Desert (Antonioni, 1964), Blowup (Antonioni, 1966), Zabriskie Point (Antonioni, 1970), The Passenger (Antonioni, 1975), Beyond the Clouds (Antonioni, 1995), Eros (Antonioni, 2004), The White Sheik (Fellini, 1952), I Vitelloni (Fellini, 1953), La Strada (Fellini, 1954), Il Bidone (Fellini, 1955), Nights of Cabiria (Fellini, 1957), La Dolce Vita (Fellini, 1960), 8 ½ (Fellini, 1963), Juliet of the Spirits (Fellini, 1965), Satyricon (Fellini, 1969), Roma (Fellini, 1972), Amarcord (Fellini, 1973), Orchestra Rehearsal (Fellini, 1978), And the Ship Sails On (Fellini, 1983), Ginger and Fred (Fellini, 1986).

The course will be conducted in English and all films will be screened with English subtitles.

See Also:

SOC. 80000 - Bodies, Media, Sociality  GC:   T, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Clough, [25327] Cross listed wth WSCP 81000

U ED. 75100 - New Media Literacy  GC:  W, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Zuss, [25424]


FSCP 81000, Film Theory, Professor Amy Herzog
FSCP 81000, American Film of the 1970s, Professor William Boddy
FSCP 81000, African Cinema: Toward an Alternative Globality, Professor Peter Hitchcock