1020E: Introduction to Film Studies
As a yearlong introduction to film studies, this course will explore the concepts of film form, film aesthetics, and film style, while remaining attentive to the various ways in which cinema always also involves an interaction with both specific audiences and larger social structures. Throughout the course, we will closely examine the construction of a variety of film forms and styles—including the classical Hollywood style, new wave cinemas, experimental films, and contemporary independent and global cinemas. We will pay particular attention to the construction of film images, systems of film editing, film sound, and the varied modes of organizing these core elements (narrative, non-narrative, etc.). The second term of the course will focus on key perspectives in the history of film theory, including theories of realism, montage, spectatorship, stardom and genre. Overall, the goal of the course is to help you develop a set of skills that will enable you both to experience and analyze all forms of cinema in newly exciting (and critical) ways.
section 001 - TBA
section 002 - TBA
section 003 - TBA
2196B: Special Topics: TBA
2198A: Special Topics: Ancient Greece on Film (Olson)
2200F: Film Theories, Criticisms, Histories (TBA)
The course will provide an introductory overview of some of the major trends and methods of analyzing film. We will examine a range of the most important approaches of film theory, criticism, and history focusing on key representative writings. Across the course, we will explore how these writings either set apart or engage with the broader social, political, historical, and (trans) national contexts of a film text. Specifically, we will learn how to engage in theoretical arguments in order to produce a stronger reading of film texts. You will also learn how to apply these complex historical and theoretical ideas in your essay and how to engage in a dialogue with both the cinematic and written materials we encounter.
Film 2220G: Special Topics: Archive Images (Bello)
The objective of this course is to present the students the broad horizon of possibilities inherent to the use of pre-existent images to tell stories. The course will be focused on the basic skills to deal with photos and film archives and databases, and the use of these records as a source for documentary storytelling. Students will receive information about preservation, restoration and management of still and moving images.
Film 2243F: National Cinemas: New Wave Cinema in Japan (Raine)
What is a new wave and what makes it possible? This course studies the ebb and flow of new cinemas in Japan between 1955 and 1973, in the context of other new cinemas from Poland, France, and elsewhere. We will also recognize more local contexts such as the growth in documentary and experimental filmmaking in Japan, the reaction to a studio-based "cinema of high economic growth," and the rise of the Japanese student movement. The films are not simply a mirror of Japan:
they are rhetorical interventions that scandalized mainstream society with their disturbing mixtures of sex, violence, and politics. By studying critical writing as well as the films themselves, we will seek to understand the intellectual and material conditions that made that cinema possible, and recognize the global simultaneity and cultural permeability of cinema that is sometimes ignored in single-country film histories.
All readings on the course are in English; no Japanese is required.
Film 2245F: National Cinemas: TBA
Film 2250F: European Movements (Falkowksa)
The course “Movements in European Film” will provide a historical background, an ideological foundation and an in-depth analysis of crucial European film movements and “waves” such as Free British Cinema, French New Wave, New German Cinema, Czech New Wave, Polish School, Spanish Surrealism, Berlin School and Dogma Movement. One or two representative films for each movement will be studied for their aesthetics, narratives and ideology. Additionally, we will study the impact of these movements on world cinemas. We meet twice each week. The first meeting is a film screening usually preceded by a short introduction of the film or of the main topics for the lecture and tutorial session taking place on the following day. During the second meeting, there will be a lecture, a discussion of the topics and a debate of the film scenes relevant to the theoretical area under question. Discussions will be based on course readings, so you are expected to be fully prepared for them with the material you have read before the session starts.
2251E: World Cinema (Burucua)
The course aims to introduce students to issues and concepts in World Cinema, referring to a body of films made in Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. In the first module of the course, canonical film texts from these regions will be studied while, at the same time, the very idea of the canon will be explored and questioned. In turn, such matters will constantly inform and challenge our understanding of the ongoing debates around the implications entailed in the study of World Cinema. In the second module of the course, the consecutive units will focus on different critical approaches to particular case studies of non-Western cinemas, alternatively concentrating on questions concerning the representation of racial, ethnic and cultural identities, on the matter of gender and female authorship, and on issues of genre and stardom.
2253E: American Cinema (Wlodarz)
This yearlong course surveys the central industrial, technological, aesthetic, and ideological developments in the history of American cinema. Given the global prominence and influence of Hollywood cinema, much of the course will be focused on the establishment of the Hollywood studio system and its many transformations over the course of the 20th century. We will begin with an analysis of the origins of the medium and its place in American culture at the turn-of-the-century. We will then examine the development of narrative cinematic standards and the rise and consolidation of the Hollywood studio system, paying close attention to genre, stardom, marketing, and popular reception from the 1920s to the 1960s. In addition to key technological developments such as the coming of sound and the emergence of widescreen cinema, we will also explore social anxieties about cinema's effects, the institution of the Production Code, and the complex relationship of Hollywood film to key social crises (The Depression, WWII, McCarthyism, Civil Rights) of the period.
The second term of the course will focus on the emergence of “post-classical” Hollywood and the parallel growth of American independent cinema. Here we will explore the economic, aesthetic, and ideological transformations in American film from the social upheavals of the '60s and '70s to the contemporary era of conglomeration, globalization, and digital media. Key topics will include: the politics of genre revision; the shifting parameters of the “New Hollywood”; the fall of the Production Code and the representation of sex and violence; independent cinemas and social identity; the emergence of the international blockbuster; and crises of security in post-9/11 cinema.
2258G: Canadian Cinema: Documents, Storytelling, Experiments (Gittings)
Beginning in the silent period and extending into the twenty-first century, this course seeks to answer historical, cultural, ideological and aesthetic questions about Canadian cinema. We will explore how cinema has reflected the complex and unstable notion of Canada as a nation, focusing upon issues of representation as well as problems of distribution and exhibition. Additionally, we will consider the transnational flows between the Canadian film industry, Hollywood, and other global film industries through co-production. Questions addressed include: What is the influence of the documentary tradition on Canadian cinema as a whole? Is there an innate division between Canadian “art” cinema and popular cinema? What are the relationships of First Nations, diasporic and queer cinemas to a Canadian national cinema? Does Canadian cinema embody two linguistic, cultural and industrial “solitudes” or are there in fact a variety of Canadian cinemas? What role does genre play in Canadian cinema?
2270F: Film Aesthetics (Bello)
This course will explore the narrative and artistic functions of basic film elements, e.g., composition, script, lightning, sound, music and editing. The main concepts will be illustrated with a wide range of audiovisual material: feature and short films, documentaries, TV series, Internet clips and developing new media. The course will also offer an introduction to the audiovisual production process.
3312G: Special Topics: Service Learning Experiences (Bello)
The objective of this course is to provide students with the opportunity of taking part in different community service experiences: their responsibility will be to create a visual record (journal) and produce a series of clips or shorts to communicate the experience.
One of the most complex and controversial cycles in the history of independent cinema, the New Queer Cinema of the late eighties and early nineties represented a bold, often experimental, attempt on the part of queer filmmakers to reframe the conventions of screening sexuality. It was also, as many critics have argued, a body of work thoroughly informed by and engaged with the political, cultural, and subjective crises of the AIDS epidemic. In most instances, New Queer Cinema was also AIDS Cinema—it captured the disruptive power of the epidemic at the same time that it served as a defiant form of cinematic activism. Focusing on the groundbreaking work of queer filmmakers (and activists) such as Derek Jarman, Todd Haynes, Marlon Riggs, Jennie Livingston, Jean Carlomusto, Tom Kalin, and John Greyson, this course will examine the AIDS epidemic through the lens of New Queer Cinema. We will analyze mainstream modes of representing AIDS (and people with AIDS) in the early years of the epidemic in order to contextualize the resistant formal and political strategies of the NQC filmmakers. We will also explore the emergence of ACT UP and the use of video and other visual arts by AIDS activists as form of countering panic-based representations of the disease, informing the public about safer sex, and giving voice to PWAs. Throughout the course, our discussion of key New Queer Cinema texts will pay particular attention to their narrative and formal experimentation, their critical engagement with popular genre cinema, and their reimagination of the parameters of illness, identity, and normalcy. Potential screenings include: The Last of England; Poison; Tongues Untied; Paris is Burning; Silverlake Life: The View from Here; Velvet Goldmine; Zero Patience; Longtime Companion; Blue; DiAna’s Hair Ego; Fast Trip, Long Drop; Swoon; Doctors, Liars, and Women; Sea in the Blood; The Living End; Philadelphia; Looking for Langston; and How to Survive a Plague.
3360F: Special Topics: Family Viewing: Melodrama (Gittings)
Students will interrogate the genre of the family melodrama through critical readings and the screening of films and television programs. For Louis Althusser, the Family along with the Church works as an Ideological State Apparatus interpellating good subjects for the State. The family's work of forming subjectivities is visible in popular culture representations such as the Hollywood family melodrama genre. Genres will be considered as components of what Stephen Neale calls the mental machinery of cinema: "a machine for the regulation of the orders of subjectivity" (Neale 1980, 19). Tracing a trajectory of family representations ranging across such divergent formations of melodrama as Birth of a Nation (USA, DW Griffith, 1915), Mildred Pierce (USA, Michael Curtiz, 1945), All That Heaven Allows (USA, Douglas Sirk, 1955), Leave it to Beaver(USA, 1957-63), Mad Men (USA, 2007- ), Pleasantville (USA,Gary Ross 1998), Far From Heaven (USA, Todd Haynes, 2002), Muriel’s Wedding (Australia, P.J. Hogan, 1994), All About My Mother (Pedro Almodóvar, 1999) and There Will be Blood (USA, Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007), students will investigate, through discussion, collaborative presentation and essay writing, the interrelationships of race, gender, class, sexuality and the nation as these concepts are performed through the family.
Thomas Elsaesser describes the family melodrama as a genre where plots revolve around the powerless, and their victimization by a corrupt social order as this is represented through family relationships (Elsaesser 1974, 514-15). A genre that tailors "ideological conflicts into emotionally charged family situations" (Elsaesser 1974, 516), the popular family melodrama "facilitates conflict and negotiation between cultural identities" (Gledhill 1987, 37). Family melodramas negotiate the space between the home and the community, and the family's classed, raced and gendered positions within these two spheres. Drawing on the work of Cook, Gledhill and Kleinhans, Hayward has suggested, in melodrama the family becomes the site of patriarchy and capitalism and therefore reproduces them (Hayward 1996, 200). With an emphasis on questions of genre, the course will pay close attention to cinematic and televisual constructions of the home, site of the family, as a symbolic structure of identity, its heimlich (canny, homely, familiar) and its unheimlich (uncanny, alien, unknown) properties. Relationships between the family, domestic space and the space of the nation will be a central focus of the course.
3370F: Advanced Film Aesthetics (Bello)
This course will be focused on the understanding of the process of making a film and the underlying aesthetic/ethic decisions involved in it, through the study of a selection of contemporary documentaries and short films. The students will be also provided with notions concerning the different stages of audiovisual production and basic production skills.
3371F: Film Theory (Coates)
This course might best be called ‘Film Theory, Pre-“Theory” and Post-“Theory”’, for , as well as examining aspects of the form of theorization long dominant in academic Film Studies: that is, that amalgam of Marxism, feminism and post-structuralism forged so tumultuously in the aftermath of the contestation of 1968, usually known in colloquial shorthand as ‘Theory’, and oriented primarily towards ideological critique, it will also consider some alternative traditions of theoretical reflection.
In order to do so, it will both acquaint students with, and remind them of, many of the key issues in what is known as classical film theory: namely, the theory of the period from the early twentieth century to the mid-1960s. It will be shown how the period is haunted by the persistence of questions concerning the relationship between film and the other arts, its status as perhaps not even an art, the degree of validity of the notion of film as a ‘language’, the possible specificity of the medium, the status of the cinematic body, and cinema’s relations with pre-existing genres, in particular the contested and problematic one designated ‘melodrama’.
It will also consider various alternatives to ‘Theory’ that have either arisen alongside it, or – as of the 1990s - in the aftermath of the ending of the period of its greatest dominance. Some of this work is virulently hostile to ‘Theory’, while some is sympathetically critical. The course will take a (hopefully representative) sample of the approaches.
3373G: Theories of National Cinemas (Burucua)
The course will provide students with a critical interrogation of the concept of ²national cinema². Informed by theories of nation developed within the social sciences by scholars such as Benedict Anderson and Eric Hobsbawm, among others, the course troubles notions of nation as an organic, homogeneous, unitary entity before shifting into a study of different case studies in terms of their cinematic representations of nation, and the political economies that facilitate the production of national cinemas. Readings of the ‘national’ will be underpinned by understandings of class, gender, race and sexuality. Films from different historical and geographical contexts will be examined in relation to debates about what constitutes a national cinema.
Individual instruction in the selection of a topic, the preparation of materials, and the writing of a thesis. Students who wish to take this course must apply to the Chair of the Department. The course is restricted to students in fourth year of an Honors Specialization in Film Studies with a high "B" average.
Note: You cannot register for the course online. You will be registered in Film 4409E by the Department once your application form has been accepted.
4470G: Seminar: Film Aesthetics (Bello)
The aim of this seminar is to provide students with information and challenges that can aid them in the development of their own style as filmmakers. The sessions will be focused on asking aesthetic, ethical, organizational and technical questions, the purpose of which will lead to the discovery of the participants’ own interests and to help them to gain the necessary skills for a satisfactory completion of their projects. Understanding the filmmaking process as a communicative action, we will make special emphasis on the importance of thinking and acknowledging the presence of the potential audience while making creative decisions.
4474F: Seminar: Far away, so close: the scales of far and near (Coates)
Film begins…with the long-shot of the Lumières; but also, in a sense, with the close-up Griffith wished to patent and Béla Balázs deemed foundational. Jean-Luc Godard voiced a characteristically paradoxical desire to make spectators feel distant even when close (importing the alienation effect into the close-up usually eschewed by cinematic Brechtians); Wim Wenders, however, described his angels as ‘far away, so close’ – as a reality, albeit an invisible super-reality, no mere desideratum. Bearing in mind the issues raised by the juxtaposition of these facts, this course will examine what is at stake in the camera’s, and the spectator’s, emotional and/or spatial closeness to or distance from the film. Among other things, it will consider such notions as those of alienation and the haptic, and such techniques as those of the close-up, the zoom lens, and the telephoto lens, along with their use in various works – possibly including ones by Godard and Wenders, but definitely including Charulata, The Conversation, Images of the World and the Inscription of War, and Fontane Effi Briest, where adaptation distances a novel to which the filmmaker is very close.
4490F: Seminar:Wartime Image Culture In Japan And Its Territories (Raine)
This seminar explores the history and theory of cinema as part of a visual culture of "propaganda and agitation" during Japan's wars in Asia and the Pacific, 1937-1945. We will study Japanese films as part of a global 1930s "illiberal modernism" while also exploring more local sources, in prewar studio cinema, the documentary film movement, and the broader image culture of wartime Japan. Those ancillary media will include popular music, war painting, propaganda posters, photography, and advertising. We will also study how the medium was deployed in Japan's colonies (Taiwan and Korea), client states (Manchuria), and occupied territories (Eastern China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, the Philippines, etc.) during the war. All readings on the course are in English; no Japanese is required.