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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 & 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]
 


TENTATIVE LIST OF FILM STUDIES COURSES, SPRING 2015

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

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SPRING 2014

FSCP 81000 – Aesthetics of Film, Professor Edward D. Miller, Wednesday, 4:15-8:15pm, Room C-419, 3 credits  [23062] Cross listed with  THEA 71400, ART 79400 & MALS 77100

This course argues that a crucial aspect of the cinematic enterprise is the depiction of the filmmaking environment itself through the "meta-film." Using this emphasis as an entry into aesthetics, the course involves students in graduate-level film discourse by providing a thorough understanding of the concepts that are needed to perform a detailed formal analysis.

The course's primary text is the ninth edition of Bordwell and Thompson's Film Art (2010) and the book is used to examine such key topics as narrative and nonnarrative forms, mise-en-scene, composition, cinematography, camera movement, set design/location, color, duration, editing, and genre. As the soundtrack is a particular focus in this course—and arguably especially important to the meta-film--we supplement Film Art with readings by Michel Chion, Amy Herzog, and Rick Altman. In order to understand the meta-film and its aesthetics we read key sections of Robert Stam's Reflexivity in Film and Literature: From Don Quixote to Jean-Luc Godard (1992), Christopher Ames' Movies about Movies: Hollywood Revisited (1997), Nöth & Bishara's Self-Reference in the Media (2007), John Thornton Caldwell's Production Culture: Industrial Reflexivity and Critical Practice in Film & Television (2008), and Craig Hight’s Television Mockumentary: Reflexivity, Satire and a Call to Play (2011). We also read “classic” essays on metafiction by Patricia Waugh and Linda Hutcheon in order to make distinctions between self-referentiality and reflexivity in film.

As part of the course we construct a cross-genre database of films that portray the filmmaking terrain itself. Thus we watch Thanhouser and Marston's Evidence of the Film (1913), Charlie Chaplin's The Masquerader (1914), Dziga Vertov's Man with a Movie Camera (1929), Edward F. Cline’s Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (1941) Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard (1950), Donen and Kelly's Singing in the Rain (1952), Jean Rouch's Chronicle of a Summer (1960), Michael Powell's Peeping Tom (1960), Federico Fellini's (1963), Jean-Luc Godard's Contempt (1963), François Truffaut's Day for Night (1973), Robert Altman's The Player (1991), David Lynch's Inland Empire (2006), Michel Gondry's Be Kind Rewind (2008), and Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York (2008).

In the final sessions we examine the distinctive aesthetics of current meta-television in shows like 30 Rock and Community in order to make connections across media. 

Course Requirements: 1. Weekly response paper: student responds to the film and the ideas presented in the reading and session.  2. Presentation of a reading.  3. Paper proposal, due 10th week: written like an abstract for a conference paper, 500 words. Also presented in class. Sending out this abstract to a conference is strongly recommended. 4. Research paper: Due one week after final day of class, at least 12 pages. This paper is theoretically informed and reflects the content of the course, involving a close formal reading of a meta-film.

FSCP 81000 –  Sonic Cinema: Music, Noise, and Moving-Image Media, Professor Amy Herzog, Thursday, 2:00-5:00pm, Room C-419, 3 credits [23063] Cross listed with ART 89600, THEA 81500 & MUS  86500

This elective course will approach key debates in the emerging field of sound and media studies.  Beginning with the declarations of the death of cinema that coincided with the first talkies, we will trace the tensions between sound and image that have remained central in critical writing about audiovisual media.  Course sessions will include work on film accompaniment in the “silent” era, film scoring, musical films, film soundtracks, music videos, and sound and music in experimental sound and video. 

A significant portion of the course will be devoted to developments in digital technology, and their impact on sonic landscapes in new media, from blockbuster films to video games and installation art. 

Throughout the semester, and across these diverse media, we will return to several central questions: how can sound serve to reinforce, or to disrupt, regimes of audiovisual representation?  Does attention to sound complicate theories of spectatorship and corporeality in cinema?  Toward what political ends do artists deploy sound, music, and noise?

Readings will include seminal texts on film music, musical genres, and film sound from authors such as Michel Chion, Claudia Gorbman, Rick Altman, Royal Brown, John Belton, Mary Ann Doane, and Elisabeth Weiss.  We will also draw on more recent work, including texts by Frances Dyson, Suzanne Cusick, Anahid Kassabian, Will Straw, Carol Vernallis, and Jonathen Sterne.  Audiovisual works will span a wide historical, geographical, and generic range, with screenings by René Clair, Vincent Minnelli, Alfred Hitchcock, Mary Ellen Bute, Soundies jukebox films, Jacques Demy, Chang Cheh, Jean-Luc Godard, Curtis Mayfield, David Lynch, Michael Haneke, Tsai Ming-liang, Marlon Riggs, Ryan Trecartin, Candice Breitz, Spike Jonze, Bjork, and Konami Games.  

Students will conduct a semester-long project, and will present elements of their research during a course session related to their topic.  In addition, they will post four short responses to readings on a course blog.  Throughout the semester, students will be encouraged to suggest supplemental readings and to help curate screening sessions, both in-class and online.

FSCP 81000 – Film Noir in Context: From Expressionism to Neo-Noir, Professor Morris Dickstein, Tuesday, 2:00-5:30pm, Room C-419, 3 credits [23064] Cross listed with THEA 81500, ART 89600, ASCP 82000 & MALS 77200

This course will explore the style, sensibility, and historical context of film noir. After tracing its origins in German expressionism, French “poetic realism,” American crime movies, the hard-boiled fiction of Dashiell Hammett and James M. Cain, and the cinematography and narrative structure of Citizen Kane, we will examine some of the key films noirs of the period between John Huston’s The Maltese Falcon of 1941 and Welles’s Touch of Evil in 1958.

These will include such works as Double Indemnity, Mildred Pierce, Out of the Past, Detour, Shadow of a Doubt, Pickup on South Street, In a Lonely Place, Gun Crazy, The Killers, DOA, Ace in the Hole, The Big Heat, and Kiss Me Deadly.

We’ll explore the visual style of film noir, the different studio approaches to noir, importance of the urban setting, the portrayal of women as lure, trophy, and betrayer, and the decisive social impact or World War II and the cold war. We’ll also examine the role played by French critics in defining and revaluing this style, and touch upon its influence on French directors like Melville (Bob le Flambeur, Second Breath), Truffaut (Shoot the Piano Player), and Chabrol (La Femme Infidele, Le Boucher).

Finally, we’ll look at the post-1970s noir revival in America in such films as Chinatown, Blade Runner, Body Heat, and Red Rock West.

Readings will include materials on the historical background of this style, key critical and theoretical texts on film noir by Paul Schrader, Carlos Clarens, James Naremore, Eddie Muller, Alain Silver and others, and the work of some hard-boiled fiction by writers such as Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain, David Goodis, and Patricia Highsmith. 

Students will be expected to do an oral report and a 15-page term research paper, as well as to study the assigned films both in and out of class.

FSCP 81000 – Une forme qui pense: Modernités du cinéma français, Professor Sam Di Iorio, Thursday, 6:30-8:30pm, Room TBA, 3 credits [23065] Cross listed with FREN 87200

Taught in French, films and readings in French.  Accommodation will be made for English speakers when possible, but some films will not have English subtitles and some readings have never been translated.  This course explores connections between philosophy, technology, and aesthetics in French film after 1945. We will track the complex relationship between classicist and modernist currents in the French context and explore how these currents are tied to the broader theoretical drift from the postwar era’s phenomenological base to the broadly-framed structuralisms of the 1960s and 70s and the scattered materialism of more recent decades.  We will also pay particular attention to cinema’s technical evolution during this period and consider the extent to which formal innovations can inspire conceptual change.

Readings include texts by Nicole Brenez, André Bazin, Antoine de Baecque, Edgar Morin, Jacques Rivette, Jean-Louis Comolli, Jean Narboni, Hélène Fleckinger, and Serge Daney. Films include (subject to change): Les 400 Coups, Nuit et Brouillard, Chronique d’un été, Portrait de Michel Simon par Jean Renoir ou Portrait de Jean Renoir par Michel Simon ou La direction d’acteurs: dialogue, Playtime, La Reprise du travail aux usines Wonder, Christiane et Monique (Lip V), Les Hautes Solitudes, Un vivant qui passe, La France.  

FSCP 81000 - Fashion Film: Culture/Fashion   GC:   R, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Eugenia Paulicelli, [23738] Cross listed with MALS. 71200

As industries and cultural manifestations, fashion and film share many qualities and have always influenced each other in a number of ways. Both are spectacle and performance; both are bound up with emotions, with desire, with modernity and processes of modernization. At the level of representation, film and fashion share the creation of a culture and a discourse, the practice of desire and an endless process of emulation, imitation, and consumption choices. Or as a critic has put it: “Film, in this guise of dress, of appearance and artifice, is an extension of the fashion industry.”

In the course, while focusing on the present and particularly on the new phenomenon of the “Fashion Film,” my aim is also to offer historical and critical frameworks with which to think such experiments and investigate new ways of understanding the relationship between art/commerce; industry/culture; body/identity; time/space; image/imagining and, in Buck-Morss’s words, the aesthetic/anaesthetic.

One of the most striking changes resulting from the shift towards the digital has been the ubiquity of fashion-as-a moving image. The course will explore how this “new” form of fashion film, which has recently exploded thanks to the advancements in digital technology, has a long history that can be traced back to the emergence of cinema in the late 19th century. The course will explore not only this new cinematic form in multiple contexts and frameworks, which connect it to photography, the fashion show, movement, time, and branding, but will also explore the politics of experimental forms of communication, aesthetics, cultures and identity.

Authors and filmmakers to be studied include:  Walter Benjamin, Gilles Deleuze, Michelangelo Antonioni, Laura Mulvey, Lev Manovich, Wong Kar-wai, Mary Ann Doane, Jonathan Crary, Lucrecia Martel, Federico Fellini, Jessica Mitrani, Luca Guadagnino, William Klein, Caroline Evans, Tom Gunning, Thomas Elsaesser, and scholars who have written on the new genre of the Fashion Film such as Marketa Uhlirova, Natalie Khan, Nick Reese-Roberts and others.

Students in the class will be asked to collect data on fashion films and create a platform to be used in the classroom, but also made available to other students and scholars interested in fashion, film and the arts both within and outside the GC. Students who have an interest in developing their own fashion film are also very welcome.


See Also:


MALS. 70100 - Narratives NYC: Lit/Vis Arts GC:   Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Singer, [23337]

MES. 78000 - Mod/Contemp Turkish/Lit/Film GC:   M, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, [23021]       

PHIL. 77800 - Classics in the Phil of Art  GC:   T, 2:00-4:00 p.m., Rm. TBA, 4 credits,Prof. Carroll, [23112] Cross listed with ART 70050. 

SPAN. 87000 - City in Contemp Sp Lit/Cin/VA GC:   W, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Smith, [23280] Open to HLBLL students only, permission required for all others.

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FALL 2013
 

 

FSCP81000 – Film History  I,  Professor Marc Dolan, GC, Thursday, 11:45am-2:45pm, Room C-419, 3 credits  [21623] Cross listed with THEA 71500, ART 79500 & MALS 77200 

This is a course in the history and historiography of the silent cinema, from the zoopraxiscope experiments of Eadweard Muybridge to the reluctant conversion of industries, artists, and audiences to fully synchronized sound. 

Much of the course will explore how the foundations of modern filmmaking evolved out of the rudimentary work of the earliest filmmakers--how the Edison and Lumiere “actuality” films led to the explicitly labeled “documentary,” the cinematic tricks of Georges Melies to the fantastic action/adventure film, the early melodramas of Porter, Guy-Blache, and Griffith to the so-called “classical” narrative style, etc.  

However, the course will not employ an exclusively auteurist approach.  We will also consider the developments of specific national film industries, particular genres, and the points of intersection between those two sets of developments (e.g., American slapstick, Italian historical epics, Swedish naturalism, German expressionism, Soviet montage). 

Moreover, the play between identifiable national cinemas and the syncretic medium of international cinema will be a central theme of the course, especially since the idea of film as a potentially universal language was one of the most powerful dreams of the silent era. Students will view on reserve and in class individual examples of all these types of films. Three classes during the term will be devoted to reconstructed programs (including short subjects, newsreels, cartoons, etc.) of what a typical audience might have seen when they went to the movies in 1907, 1912, and 1927.

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 – Seminar in Film Theory, Professor David Gerstner, Monday, 2:00-6:00pm, Room C-419, 3 credits [21624] Cross listed with ART 89500 & THEA 81600 

This course explores filmmakers and scholars who theorize matters of film form and content. Since the late nineteenth century, a great deal has been written about film in terms of its aesthetic properties as well as its political-ideological possibilities.

Through close readings of both the films and writings of theorists we will consider what is at stake in the production of film.

Required Text Film Theory and Criticism [1974], edited by Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen, 7th edition, New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. An additional course reader will also be used during the semester. Details will follow during our first meeting.  Supplemental readings can be found in books placed on library reserve or articles placed on e-reserve.

Seminar Requirements: A one-page paper is due each week. It should address the readings in relationship to the films viewed in class. Be prepared to read and/or discuss your writings in the seminar. Presentation - 15-25 page paper (based on presentation)

Screening/reading schedule and bibliography available in Certificate Programs Office (Room 5110).

FSCP 81000 – African Cinema: Toward an Alternative Globality   Professor Peter Hitchcock,   Tuesday, 2:00-5:00pm, Room C-419, 3 credits [21625] Crosslisted with ART 89600 & THEA 81500
COURSE CANCELLED

FSCP 81000–Cinemas of Pedro Almodóvar and Guillermo del Toro  Professor Paul Julian Smith, Wednesday, 4:15-6:15pm, Room C-417, 3 credits [21626] Cross listed with SPAN 87200

This course, which requires no knowledge of Spanish, examines the works of contemporary Spain and Mexico's most successful filmmakers, critically and commercially. These two figures might appear to be very different and, indeed, have formally collaborated only when Almodóvar produced del Toro's The Devil's Backbone, shot and set in Spain. Although he has greater transnational projection than perhaps any other European filmmaker, Almodóvar has filmed all eighteen features in his home country and language; while del Toro, with just eight films, has made for himself a nomadic career in two languages and three countries.

Yet it can be argued that the pair has a great deal in common. For example, both directors have embraced transmedia, going beyond the feature film. Almodóvar's production company has expanded into television and theater; del Toro is a respected creator in the fields of the comic book and novel. Their internet presence is also substantial.

The aims of the course are industrial, critical, and theoretical. First, Almodóvar is placed in the context of audiovisual production in Spain, while del Toro (as director and producer) is contextualized within the 'golden triangle' of Mexico, Europe, and the US. Second, both cineastes are interrogated for signs of auteurship (a consistent aesthetic and media image), sharing as they do a self-fashioning that takes place, unusually, within the confines of genre cinema (comedy/melodrama and fantasy/horror, respectively).

Finally, the course explores how English-language critics have assimilated these two Spanish-speaking directors to debates in Anglo-American film studies that draw on psychoanalysis, feminism, queer theory, and the transnational.

Recommended, but not required, is the book Desire Unlimited: The Cinema of Pedro Almodóvar (2nd edition, 2000), written by the instructor. A bibliography in Spanish can also be provided on request. Grading is by written exam (25%), student oral participation and presentation (25%) and final paper (50%). Course open to Ph.D. students only. Screening/reading list available in Certificate Programs Office (Room 5110).

FSCP 81000–History & Aesthetics of Film Music  Professor Royal Brown, R, 1:30-5:00pm, Room 3389, 3 credits [21627] Cross listed with MUS 81502

FSCP 8I000 - Philosophy of Motion Pictures GC, T, 2:00-4:00pm, Room TBA, 3 credits,    GC:  T, 2:00-4:00 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Carroll, [22335]   Cross listed with PHIL 77800.

This course will survey a series of topics in the philosophy of the moving image including, the nature of the moving image, whether cinema can be art, the nature of the shot, the nature of narrative, the distinction between fiction and nonfiction cinema, the relation of cinema to the emotions, the relation of cinema to morality, and the question of movie evaluation. Students will be expected to make a class presentation and to write a term paper.
 

 

See Also:


SPAN. 87100 - Hisp Jewish Lit/Cnma/Diaspora  GC:  T, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Glickman, [21735] Course taught in English. Cross listed with WSCP 81000.

SPAN. 87100 - Trans Justice/Lat Am Lit/Film  GC:  M, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Dapia, [21733] Course open to HLBLL students only, permission of EO required for all others.





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SPRING 2013


FSCP. 81000 - Aesthetics of Film
GC:   W, 2:00-6:00 p.m., Rm. C419, 3 credits, Prof. Gerstner, [20104] Cross listed wth THEA 71400, ART 79400 & MALS 77100
 

This course introduces the properties of cinematic form by exploring film in relationship to the other arts. Since its beginnings, film was theorized—as art, as political tool, as entertainment—against the backdrop of the aesthetic properties of painting, theatre, literature, and, in some instances, magic. 

By studying the specific properties of cinema, the content it ultimately delivers, and its use of and break from the other arts, we will investigate (through the writings of filmmakers and theorists) film aesthetics as a dynamic and modernist negotiation of multi-mediated texts.

In this way, this course will engage issues of genre, style, and narrative as they are transformed through the mode of cinematic production and address.

Students will be expected to write short weekly response papers to the readings and screenings (1-2 pages), be prepared to discuss the films and readings, and complete a 7500-word final paper.

Bibliography available in the Certificate Programs Office (Room 5110).                           

FSCP. 81000 - History of Film II                           
GC:   W, 6:30-10:00 p.m., Rm. C419, 3 credits, Prof. Boddy, [20105] Cross listed with ART 79500, THEA 71600 & MALS 77300     


This course will explore major developments in US and global film culture from the introduction of sound to the advent of the “blockbuster” era in Hollywood in the mid-1970s. 

We will analyze works from a number of national cinemas, artistic movements, and major directors, including Fritz Lang, Jean Renoir, Howard Hawks, Roberto Rossellini, Billy Wilder, Jean-Luc Godard, and Martin Scorsese. 

Topics addressed include the problem of film authorship, the development of film genres and aesthetic styles, and the relationship of the classical Hollywood studio system to alternative models of film production in the United States and elsewhere. 

Emphasis will be placed on the historical, aesthetic, and ideological contexts of the films examined.  Learning goals for students in this course include the demonstration of intellectual competency in the field, the ability to apply effective and appropriate research tools and techniques, and the development of competence in the integration and presentation of research knowledge in written and oral communication.

Required Text: David Cook, A History of Narrative Film fourth edition (New York: Norton, 2004);

Additional readings as indicated in the class schedule are available on ERes at the Graduate Center library accessible at http://eres.gc.cuny.edu.ezproxy.gc.cuny.edu/eres/default.aspx  The course password is fscpboddy. 

Some of the screenings on the class schedule involve selected extracts from the films indicated; films will be placed on reserve at the Graduate Center library and are available for viewing outside of class.  

Course Requirements:  In addition to participation in seminar discussion, each student will prepare ten short response papers to the films and readings, write a 15 page research paper on a topic approved by the instructor, and prepare a brief oral presentation of the research project to the seminar.  Written work submitted late will be penalized.  

Course Schedule available in the Certificate Programs Office (Room 5110). 

FSCP. 81000 - Cinema, Comedy, Theory   COURSE CANCELLED            
GC:   M, 2:00-6:00 p.m., Rm. C419, 3 credits, Prof. Chris, [20106] Cross listed with THEA 81500.   

FSCP. 81000 - 1930s Film, Art & Politics                   
GC:   T, 2:00-4:00 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Profs. Golan/Margulies, [20109] Cross listed with ART 76020


This course explores the interface between art, film and politics in the 1930s. Jointly taught by Prof. Romy Golan and Prof. Ivone Margulies the course examines how art and film respond to the shifting political and social demands for commitment.

Particular moments of synergy can be found in the shift from Constructivism to Socialist Realism in the Soviet Union; the art and film produced by Socialist Popular Fronts in France and Spain; Dali and Bunuel’s collaboration at the heart of Surrealism; Brecht’s epic drama in film; correspondences between photomontage aesthetics and notions of montage in film; Narrative accommodations within documentary films and its equivalent in storied murals.

We will discuss: Totalitarian regimes’ emphasis on display as manifest in propaganda films, in the World Fairs’ cinematic pavilions; transmediality between film, the painted mural and the photomural; strategies of formal cooptation and mimetic subversion between the political Left and Right; body politics (the “new man” and type); abstraction vs. figuration;  mechanization vs. the technological sublime; images of the collective in film and art; the valence of immediacy and topicality versus ideality.

Required viewing includes: Man with the Movie Camera Dziga Vertov, 1930; Kuhle Wampe: or Who Owns the World? Slatan Dudow, Brecht, 1932;  Land without Bread Bunuel, 1932; The Spanish Earth, Joris Ivens 1936; The River Pare Lorentz 1937; Olympia Leni Riefenstahl, 1936; Jean Renoir’s La vie est à nous. 1936.

Primary readings will include: Gustav Klutsis, Varvara Stepanova; Fernand Léger; Gisele Freund; Luis Bunuel; Salvador Dali; Bertold Brecht; Walter Benjamin; Leo Hurwitz; Sam Brody; Dziga Vertov; Sergei Eisenstein; Pare Lorentz; Joris Ivens; André Bazin.

Requirements: Final paper (70%) and short 10-15 min oral presentation on a particular film or art work from the period. Six auditors permitted. 

Suggested Preliminary Readings:  Eisenstein “Methods of Montage,”; Selected writings from Kino Eye: the Writings of Dziga Vertov. Introduction and Edited by Annette Michelson; Julian Jackson, “Introduction,” and “The Cultural Explosion,” in The Popular Front in France defending democracy, 1934-38.

FSCP. 81000 - Proust/Memories/Movies                       
GC:   R, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Carlson, [20107] Cross listed with FREN 70700.   


Proust / Memory / Movies will look at the some key sections of Marcel Proust’s monumental A la recherché de temps perdu, often cited as the greatest French novel of the 20th century.

From an established base in the novel, the course then considers some key film adaptations, and, more broadly, the relation of the novel to French and global film productions.

To do so, the course will explore, among others topics, theories of adaptation, intertextuality, influence, and image-word relations.

Among the filmmakers under consideration will be Chantal Akerman, Raul Ruiz, Chris Marker, Agnes Varda, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Terrence Malick.

What does it mean to say that a film is Proustian?  Is there an aesthetic and theoretical resonance to the adjective that goes beyond a quick marker of high seriousness?

All readings will be available in English, the language of instruction of the course. Francophone students are encouraged to read in the original. Papers may be written in English or French.

                                                                                                                                                                FSCP. 81000 - Screening Terror                             
GC:   T, 6:30-10:00 p.m., Rm. C419, 3 credits, Prof. Lombardi, [20108] Cross listd with C L 80100   


This course will focus on the discussion of cinematic and televisual representations of global terrorism: we will question how the discourse of (counter)terrorism inflects films and tv series, participating in a rhetoric of fear that pervades the contemporary media.

The course will be dedicated to the analysis of cultural representations of old and new, modern and postmodern, religious, ideological, and political terrorism through a comparative study of films and TV series made in the US, Israel, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Ireland.

Although one film will be screened in class every week, students will be also required to watch other films and tv shows at home.

Screenings will include 24, Homeland, Sleeper Cell, Rescue Me, United 93, World Trade Center, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Guys, Rendition, Paradise Now, Day Night Day Night, Prisoners of War, Good Morning Night, The Best of Youth, Colpire al cuore, The Second Time, My Generation, My Brother is an Only Child, Romanzo Criminale (film and tv series), La prima linea, Romanzo di una strage, The Baader Meinhof Complex, The Lost Honour of Katharina Bloom, Marianne and Juliane, Carlos, Ogro, El Lobo, Cell 211,  In the Name of the Father, Michael Collins, The Crying Game, The Wind That Shakes the Barley.

All screenings will have English subtitles.

SEE ALSO

SPAN. 87000 - Lorca, Bunuel, Dali                          
GC:   W, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Smith, [20196] Open to HLBLL students only, EO permission required for all others.

SPAN. 87200 - Catalan Cinema's New Gaze(s)                 
GC:   M/T/W/R/F, 2:00-4:00 p.m., Rm. TBA, 1 credits, Prof. Marti-Olivella, [20201] Open to HLBLL students only, EO permission required for all others.

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FALL 2012


FSCP 81000 -- Film History I, Professor Anupama Kapse, Wednesday, 4:15-8:15pm, Room C-419,3 credits [18801] Cross listed with THEA 71500, ART 79500 & MALS 77200

This class will survey the "birth" of cinema from a number of inter-related perspectives. How did the heightened realism and new storytelling impulse of the cinema alter existing modes of pictorial and theatrical display?

We will begin with early experiments with moving images and think about actualities, serials and comic shorts as-the new genres of early cinema, which then gave way to an industrial mode of production driven by a powerful star-system and large studios. The course will not only study cinema's birth and development but also its ability to invent novel film genres, change perceptions of modernity, mobilize race-gender politics (sometimes dubiously), picture new women, and radically enhance viewing pleasures.

We will situate these topics within the larger context of international film movements, the development of national cinemas worldwide, and broader questions of film historiography.

Although our primary examples will be drawn from American silent cinema, we will also turn to British, Indian, Russian, Swedish and German examples to better understand the rapid proliferation and varied applications of the medium. Finally, we will examine the initial impact of sound on cinema though, as we will see, silent cinema had always been an aural medium.

Screenings will include selections and/or whole features, depending on the unit we are covering: The Movies Begin: A Treasury of Early Cinema, 1894-1913, Edison: The Invention of the Movies: 1891-1918, Landmarks of Early Film, Vol. 1, George Méliès: First Wizard of Cinema, More Treasures from American Film Archives 1894-1931, Griffith Masterworks, extracts from American, British, and French serials, The Birth of Krishna, shorts by Chaplin and Keaton, Little American, The Mystery of the Leaping Fish, Till the Clouds Roll By, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Ingeborg Holm, Queen Christina, Man with a Movie Camera, The Goddess, Pandora's Box, and Sunrise.

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 to your success. Discussion--20%. Reading responses and discussion questions-10 %. A research paper with original content (20-25 pages) 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 four weeks before the final paper is due, after which we will meet to discuss your topic.

More than one absence will make it very hard for you to pass the course. Please let me know at least a day in advance if you are going to miss class.

A reading list is available in the Certificate Programs Office (Room 5110).

FSCP 81000 --Seminar in Film Theory, Professor Amy Herzog, Wednesday, 11:45am-3:45pm, Room C-419, 3 credits [18803] Cross listed with ART 89400 & THEA 81600

This class will provide an overview of significant movements, debates, and figures in film theory. Readings will span both classical and contemporary film theory, addressing a range of approaches including realism, structuralism, auteur theory, genre criticism, psychoanalytic film theory, feminist and critical race theories, and third cinema.

The class will examine writings on cinema in their historical and national contexts, looking at the ways in which film theory intersects with political, cultural, and aesthetic trends. The final sessions of the course will focus on recent developments in film theory, in particular the debates surrounding cognitive approaches to film, the evolution of digital technology, and the writings of philosopher Gilles Deleuze.

In each case, new theoretical work on cinema will be read in relation to the complex history of film criticism. In addition, the class will examine the field of film theory alongside related fields of aesthetics and representation (e.g. art history and photography, television studies, cultural studies, visual studies, postmodernism), exploring the ways these disciplines have overlapped. Each seminar meeting will involve close analyses of readings related to a particular topic or theme. We will discuss the contexts within which these writings emerged, and the institutional frameworks that provided for the evolution of the field.

Written texts will be read alongside specific cinematic examples. Screenings will be conducted in class. Ideally, students will also view supplemental films that are suggested, and attend screenings and discussions in venues around the city.

Students will write either two ten-page analysis papers, performing close readings of theoretical texts, or one twenty-page research paper on a topic in film theory.

Each student will also be responsible for a short, illustrated presentation, meant to facilitate our discussion of the readings for that class (these presentations were a highlight of the course this fall; the students approached them quite creatively).

We will also post questions and responses to the readings on a course blog.

CANCELLED FSCP 81000 -- Orson Welles: Auteur, Star, Sellout -- Professor Marc Dolan, Friday, 11:45am-2:45pm, Room C-419, 3 credits
[18802] Cross listed with THEA 81500

Is it possible to be both an avant-garde icon and an unabashed sellout? If anyone achieved both those distinctions during the twentieth century, it was Orson Welles. As actor, writer, director, and producer in theatre, radio, film, and television, Welles moved frequently during the mid-twentieth century from self-financing bleak black-and-white arthouse films to camping it up in drag on candycolored tv variety shows. Art and commerce were inextricably intertwined in his work, as were the aesthetic concerns of both the US and Europe in the age of mass-market auteurism. Although our central focus is on Welles specifically, the course should also be of interest to students interested more generally in the history of stardom, auteurism, and the American media industry.

Rather than reducing Welles to the stereotypical artist undone by overcommerciailized media, this course will attempt to appreciate the totality of his work, how each part of it affected the others just as the US and Europe, massmarket and avant garde, all affected each other in the mid-twentieth century.

Topics covered may include: the Mercury Theatre and The Mercury Theatre of the Air; Citizen Kane; Welles's interest in Latin America (e.g., It's All True); Welles as actor for hire (e.g., Jane Eyre, The Long, Hot Summer, and A Man for All Seasons); Welles and transatlantic noir (The Stranger, The Third Man, The Lady from Shanghai); Touch of Evil (multiple versions); Welles as the anti-Olivierian Shakespearean (Macbeth, Othello, Chimes at Midnight); The Trial and the Kennedy-era artfilm; cinema and sleight of hand (Follow the Boys, F for Fake); why unfinished projects remain unfinished (The Fountain of Youth, Don Quixote, The Other Side of the Wind, and The Brass Ring); Welles as narrator (The Vikings, Start the Revolution without Me, Moonlighting) and Welles's ongoing performance of celebrity self (e,g., The Jack Benny Show, I Love Lucy, the Paul Masson commercials, and his multiple appearances on The Tonight Show, Dinah!, and the Dean Martin Roasts).

The course will be anchored in readings from Simon Callow's The Road to Xandau and Hello Americans, Joseph McBride's Whatever Happened to Orson Welles? and Francois Thomas and Jen-Piere Berthome's Orson Welles at Work, but week by week we will also be reading specific journal articles on the works under study. Readings may also be assigned from Lars Trodson's About Orson, John Shelley Rubin's The Making of Middlebrow Culture, and Michael Denning's The Cultural Front, among other works.

Additional readings may include Timothy Corrigan's "Auteurs and the New Hollywood" and "The Commerce of Auteurism" and excerpts from Jon Lewis's Whom God Wishes to Destroy: Francis Coppola and the New Hollywood. Before the first class students are advised to read chapters 1-14 of Callow's Road to Xanadu.

Students are expected to complete weekly readings and screenings (when assigned), one-page weekly writing assignments, deliver a 15-20 minute presentation, and submit a 6,000-word final paper. Final papers may center on Welles or, with permission of the instructor, on issues of authorship and/or the "star auteur" (e.g. Coppola, Hitchcock, Tarantino, Gilliam, Bogdanovich, Cassavetes, Tarantino) that emerge organically from material discussed throughout the semester.

FSCP 81000 -- Documenting the Self: Performance in Non-Fiction Film, Professor Edward Miller, Monday, 4:15-8:15pm, Room C-419, 3 credits [18804] Cross listed with THEA 81500

This seminar examines the significance of performance in nonfiction film. The course begins by looking at depictions of the self in cinema vérité and direct cinema. Filmmakers such as D.A. Pennebaker, the Maysles Brothers, and Fred Wiseman eliminated the artifice of voice-over, interviews, archival footage, and incidental music—and made use of new lightweight equipment—in order to create a more lifelike documentary. They were especially drawn to capturing backstage views of rock stars (such as Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie) as well as gaining access to interactions of ordinary people in extraordinary situations (such as in mental institutions, on the road selling bibles, working in political campaigns). In their attempt at recording life as it occurs, an unintended consequence of the filmmakers emerged as a major aspect of these films—theatricality.

This theatricality arises not from the staging of situations per se, but in the freedom the filmmaker gives subjects to be themselves and to act as if the filmmaker was not there. This contradiction generates riveting performances of self as the presence of the camera motivates and frames conscious and unconscious modes of playing a role.

As this class looks at methods of filming both offstage and onstage performances, our readings come from cinema and performances studies, as well as relevant texts from visual culture and sociology. We read Amelia Jones and Rebecca Schneider on the role of the body in performance, Shelton Waldrep and Rosalind Krauss on the aesthetics of self-presentation, Joseph Roach, Richard Dyer, and Edgar Morin on charisma and celebrity as well as Bill Nichols, Stella Bruzzi, and Thomas Waugh on performance in documentary film.

We trace a selective history of nonfiction film since 1960, beginning with the paradigm shift inspired by the assembling of distinctive Parisians in Edgar Morin and Jean Rouch's Chronicle of a Summer (1961). We counterpoise the strategies of directors who represent the "other" in films like the Maysles Brothers' Grey Gardens (1975) and Shirley Jackson's Portrait of Jason (1967) with the tactics of mediatized self-portraiture utilized by artists like Martha Rosler, Joan Jonas, and Cindy Sherman.

We pay particular attention to on-screen performances of gender and race due to the influence of identity politics on many of the key nonfiction works of the 1980s and 1990s, such as Marlon Rigg's Tongues Untied (1989), Isaac Julien's Looking for Langston (1989), and Jennie Livingston's Paris is Burning (1990).

Finally we assess the ongoing impact of groundbreaking reality television like An American Family (1971) that features the flamboyant Lance Loud (1971) as well as the third season of The Real World (1993) that stars the AIDS activist Pedro Zamora. This course is designed to integrate the study of film and performance and encourages an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the emphasis upon self-expression in contemporary media culture.

Class participation: Presentation of a reading as well as a conference-like talk in the final session.

Paper Proposal: Due 8th week. Constructed like an abstract for a conference.

Research paper: Due one week after the last session. At least 20 pages, this paper must be theoretically informed, involving a close reading of performance/performativity in a film, video, or another form of media (radio, blog/vlog, social media).

FSCP 81000 -- Contemporary Spanish & Mexican Cinema & Television, Professor Paul Julian Smith, M, 4:15-6:15pm, /Room TBA, 3 credits [18805] Cross listed with SPAN 87000

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.

Course open to Ph.D. students only.

SEE ALSO

PHIL. 77600 - Topics in Contemporary Aesthetics, GC: T, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 4 credits, Prof. Carroll, [18908]

TENTATIVE LIST OF FILM STUDIES COURSES, SPRING 2013

S
PRING 2013
David Gerstner, Aesthetics
William Boddy, Film History II
Cynthia Chris, Cinema, Comedy, Theory

CROSSLISTS/SEE ALSO: Jerry Carlson, Proust / Memory / Movies (French)
Ivone Margulies & Romy Golan, 1930s Art & Film (Art History)