Film Studies Courses

Fall 2017

Introduction to Film – ENG 282
MW – 8:30-10:20am – Caldwell G107 – Matthew Halm
MW – 12:50-2:40pm – Caldwell G107 – Devin Orgeron
W – 6:00-10:00pm – Tompkins G109 – Edwin Lohmeyer
TH – 3:00-4:50pm – Caldwell G107 – Adam Hart
TH – 5:20-7:10pm – Caldwell G107 – Adam Hart

Writing about Film – ENG 292
MW – 3:00-4:15pm – Tompkins G115 – Franklin Cason

Screenwriting – ENG 330
T – 3:00-5:45pm – Tompkins G121 – Susan Emshwiller

History of Film to 1940 – ENG 364/COM 364
TH – 10:40am-12:30pm – Caldwell G107 – Marsha Gordon

Women and Film – ENG 378
TH – 12:50-2:40pm – Caldwell G107 – Marsha Gordon

Film & Literature – ENG 382
MW – 10:40am-12:30pm – Caldwell G107 – Andrew Johnston

The Crime Film – ENG 492/IDS 496/ENG 592
MW – 3:00-4:50pm – Caldwell G107 – Ora Gelley

Romantic Comedy: From Literature to Film – ENG 492/IDS 496/ENG 592
M – 6:00-10:00pm – Caldwell G107 – Franklin Cason

Screening the German Nation – ENG 492/IDS 496/FLG 430
MW – 3:00-4:50pm – Withers 135 – Michelle Eley

Women, Representation, and Violence in Contemporary Film and Media – ENG 585/CRD 791
W – 6:00-10:00pm – Caldwell G107 – Ora Gelley

History and Theory of Media Technologies – CRD 701
W – 1:30-4:15pm – Caldwell G107 – Andrew Johnston

Digital Video Production – COM 357
TH – 10:15-11:30am – Winston 201J – James Alchediak

Film Production – COM 444
M – 1:30-4:15pm – Winston 201H – Sarah Stein


Spring 2017

Introduction to Film – ENG 282
T TH 12:50 PM – 2:40 PM – Adam Hart
M W 10:40 AM – 12:30 PM – Jason Buel
T 6:00 – 10:00 PM – Tim Holland
W 6:00 – 10:00 PM – Tim Holland

Writing About Film – ENG 292
M W 3:00 PM – 4:15 PM – Franklin Cason

Intro to Screenwriting – ENG 330
T 6:00 PM – 8:45 PM – Susan Emshwiller

Film History From 1940 to the Present – COM/ENG 374
T TH 12:50 PM – 2:40 PM – Ora Gelley

African American Cinema – ENG/AFS 375
M 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM – Franklin Cason

Film and Literature – ENG 382
T TH 10:40 AM – 12:30 PM – Andrew Johnston

The Horror Film – ENG 492/IDS 492, ENG 592
T TH 3:00 PM –  ­4:50 PM – Adam Hart

Hong Kong Cinema – ENG 492/FL 495
M W 3:00 PM – 4:50 PM – Nathaniel Isaacson

Animating Media – ENG 585/CRD 791
W 12:25 PM – 3:10 PM – Andrew Johnston

Digital Imaging (ADN 219)

Distance Education - Mike Bissinger

Digital Video Production* (COM 357)

T TH 10:15 – 11:30 AM James Alchediak

Film Production (COM 444)
M 1:30 – 4:15 PM -  Sarah Stein

Topic in Arts Studies Capstone Course (ARS 494)
T TH 11:45 - 1 PM - Jonathan Kramer


Undergraduate & Graduate Course Descriptions

Introduction to Film (ENG 282)
Various – This course introduces students to the fundamentals of film analysis, including narrative, visual, and sound techniques. Through screenings, discussions, exams, and papers, students develop skills in identifying techniques, using appropriate film terminology to describe cinematography, mise en scène, sound, and editing, and constructing sound analyses and interpretations of films.

Writing About Film (ENG 292)
Franklin Cason – Comprehensive study of various approaches to writing about film. Primary focus is on the critical and evaluative practice involved in writing film criticism for non-academic audiences. Film screenings, discussion of assigned readings, and in-classwriting workshops aid students in preparing a portfolio of film writing that includes film reviews of various lengths.

Screenwriting (ENG 330)
Susan Emshwiller – Through lectures, film clips, screenplay examples, collaborative brainstorming, and original writing, we will explore the craft and art of screenwriting. Students will learn about structure, characterization, creating dynamic dialogue, subtext, subplots, theme, exposition, etc utilizing established screenplay formats. The course will involve studying great films and scripts, participating in critiques, and the writing and revising of original material. At the end of the semester the students should have a clear understanding of cinematic storytelling techniques and will have completed multiple scenes.

Film History to 1940 (COM 364/ENG 364)
Marsha Gordon – This course begins with the international origins of motion pictures and traces the medium's fascinating evolution from experimental novelty to economic big business. We will study the development of form, style, narrative, and industry practices through several national cinemas, including French, German, Italian, British, Soviet, and American. Along with an understanding of major and minor cinematic movements, this course seeks to give students a sense of the cultural and historical context of cinematic production. We will screen narrative and experimental film, as well as nontheatrical film (such as home movies and educational film). The course includes readings and screenings, a creative video assignment, weekly quizzes, a series of examinations, and written assignments.

Women and Film (ENG 378)
Marsha Gordon – This course will cover the rich history of women’s participation in the motion picture industry.  Focusing on female directors, we will study the ways women have gone about the art and business of filmmaking both within the context of well-established national studio systems as well as independently.  We will analyze films directed by women in a number of countries (including the U.S., France, Czechoslovakia, Italy, India, and Iran), from cinema’s earliest decades through the present day.  In addition to considering the aesthetic and formal elements of women’s films, we will discuss the range of social issues at play within them. Students will read film criticism written by women throughout film history and engage critically with contemporary essays about film history and feminism.  Course requirements include weekly screenings and readings, regular class participation, a presentation, two papers, and a cumulative final examination.

Film and Literature (ENG 382)
Andrew Johnston – Ways of adapting literary works to film form. Similarities and differences between these two media. Emphasis on the practical art of transforming literature into film. Attention to the impact of film upon literature.

Special Topics in Film Styles and Genres (ENG 492/IDS 496/ENG 592)
The Crime FIlm – Ora Gelley – This course examines one of the cinema’s most persistent genres: the crime film. Why has crime been such a compelling subject for filmmakers since the invention of the medium in the late 19th century? What are the conventions and limits of the genre? How have various national cinemas depicted crime in ways that comment on and reflect particular historical moments and contexts? How do films represent distinctions not only between male and female positions of control and aggression, but also between the differences in male and female experiences of or responses to violence action, either as as victims or as witnesses? This course will also use the detective story (films about how crime can or cannot be solved) to introduce theories of analyzing films. In other words, just as there are methods which investigators follow in reconstructing a crime, or the scene of a crime, film analysis itself involves certain modes of identifying, collecting, analyzing, and interpreting evidence. Students should be aware that some of the films we will be looking at contain graphic, potentially disturbing depictions of violence. The course includes films by Robert Bresson (Pickpocket, 1959), Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas, 1990), Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather, 1972), Fritz Lang (M, 1931), Howard Hawks (Scarface, 1932), Alfred Hitchcock (The Shadow of a Doubt, 1943 and Blackmail, 1929), Michael Haneke (Caché, 2005), Stanley Kubrick (The Killing, 1956), The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011), Marcel Ophuls (Hôtel Terminus, 1988), Harmony Korine (Spring Breakers), Elle (Paul Verhoeven, 2016), Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast, 2000), and Joel and Ethan Cohen (Miller’s Crossing, 1990), among others.

Romantic Comedy: From Literature to Film – Franklin Cason – Description coming soon

Screening the German Nation – Michelle Rene Eley – This course explores conceptions of racial and national identities and their interactions through the lens of German cinema and television movies. From early, silent horror (The Golem: How He Came into the World, 1920) to revamped, melancholic romance (Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, 1974) to contemporary, transnational drama (The Edge of Heaven, 2007), German film broadly reflects the instrumental role of race in German identity discourse. It is through this lens that we will examine how perceptions and representations of three significant, marginalized ethnic and racial populations -- Blacks, Jews and Turks -- have influenced shifting conceptions of the German nation and cultural compatibility amidst ethnic diversity. Are Jewish, Turkish, Muslim or Black identities, whether notional or factual, necessarily oppositional to German identity? How have images of these "Others from Within," as well as "Others from Without" intersected with gender and sexuality to inform a German identity in transition? How do filmmakers reflect and comment on the tensions and correlations within diverse communities? Theoretical texts, scholarly analyses and our own close readings will provide us with the tools to investigate these and many other questions. In English, w/German requirements for FLG, and German-language discussion opportunities for all interested.

Women, Representation, and Violence in Contemporary Film and Media (ENG 585/CRD791)
Ora Gelley
This course focuses on mostly films (though we will also consider a limited number of works of performance art, video, and digital media) from the last twenty-five years or so marked by their relationship to violence and transgression. The films of the course–covering a diverse range of genres and national and transnational contexts–all in some way deal with what Teresa deLauretis has referred to as "en-gendered" violence. Thus we will be looking at the audiovisual and cinematic techniques and strategies by which gender is constructed and hence how the representation of violence committed against or by women in film is en-gendered.

The course will also consider the concept of "counterviolence," which includes but is not limited to the symbolic appropriation by women of male positions of control and aggression, and is in the work of some feminist filmmakers and artists explicitly directed at breaking down representational codes that have privileged male subjectivity and possession of the "gaze" in cinema, photography and other media. The course includes consideration of what many see as a shift in contemporary critical discourse, from a focus on trauma, melancholy, and victimhood to the issue of violence, and of the ceaseless images of violence with which we are continually being bombarded (in the news, in film and television, in video games, on our smartphones, etc.). Some of the questions we will be considering are: What can the cinema and other forms of visual media teach us about violence and its history? How do women and men experience, witness, and internalize violence differently, and what are the distinctions between masculine and feminine expressions of violence, both on the level of representation as well as its exercise in real life? Theorists we will be reading include: Jean-Luc Nancy (The Ground of the Image), Gilles Deleuze (Cinema 1: the Movement-Image and Cinema 2: the Time-Image), Judith Butler (Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence), Slavoj Žižek (Violence: Six Sideways Reflections), Jennifer Doyle (Hold It Against Me: Difficulty and Emotion in Contemporary Art), Debarati Sanyal (The Violence of Modernity: Baudelaire, Irony, and the Politics of Form), and Elaine Scarry (The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World), among others. We will watch films as well as consider works in other media by Denise Gonçalves, Marina Abramović, Aliza Shvarts, Emma Sulkowicz, Chantal Akerman, Cristian Mungiu, Lina Wertmüller, Harmony Korine, Catherine Breillat, Virginie Despentes, Coralie Trinh Thi, Paul Verhoeven, Jean-Luc Godard, Michael Haneke, Lars Von Trier, Park Chan-Wook, David Fincher, and others.

History and Theory of Media Technologies (CRD 701)
Andrew Robert Johnston
How have scholars grappled with the ways different technologies shape structures of knowledge, cultural practices, and aesthetic experiences? What theoretical and conceptual frameworks have been employed to write the histories of those mediations? How are technological landscapes shaped by social and cultural influences or by contemporaneous ideas about media? Furthermore, how do communication technologies from the past continue to exist and inform the ways we develop and use new ones?

This seminar will explore historical and theoretical approaches to these questions that have shaped research into media and communication technologies. We will move through different historical periods, from early writing practices to 19th century optical devices and communication networks, to recording and storage technologies like film and the phonograph, as well as more contemporary media like the floppy disk and IP network. This episodic and archaeological approach will allow us to examine the constellation of political, social, and technological operations that influence one another at those junctures. It will also allow us to critically examine theoretical perspectives on those formations that have influenced historiographical perspectives, from hermeneutics and Marxism to the public sphere and materialism. Throughout the seminar we will explore these engagements with media landscapes of the past in order to better understand contemporary engagements with technologies as well as the aesthetic and cultural practices tied to them.

Digital Video Production (COM 357)
James Alchediak

Principles of producing, directing, and editing techniques for digital video. Students script, storyboard, shoot, and edit short video projects.

Film Production (COM 444)
Sarah Stein
Principles of cinematography, production, and editing technologies for film. Script, shoot, and edit short 16mm films. Post-production on digital non-linear editing systems. Critical analysis of production of classic and contemporary feature films.