Fall 2014 Graduate Courses

Film 200

Section 001

Film 203

Section 001

Film 240

Section 001

Film 240

Section 002
Archaeologies of the Projected Image

Instructor:
Mary Ann Doane

Analysis of the history and theory of projected images from the magic lantern to IMAX. We will examine theories of scale, architecture, and perspective in order to consider the changing size of moving images, from the flip book to the cinema screen to the cell phone. We will also consider theories of mass culture, aesthetic technologies, the sublime, public art and the emerging field of media archaeology. What are the aesthetic, technological, cultural and psychoanalytic implications of the practice of projecting images? Readings in Jonathan Crary, Siegfried Kracauer, Sigmund Freud, Walter Benjamin, Henri Lefebvre, Jean-François Lyotard, Friedrich Kittler, Laurent Mannoni, Erkki Huhtamo, and others.

Film 240

Section 003
Film and Theater: Comparative Media, Comparative Perspective

Film 240

Section 004
War and Media 1914-2014

Film 298

Section 001

Fall 2014 Undergraduate Courses

Film 26

Section 001
Moving Image Media Production

Instructor:
Jeffrey Skoller

The objective of this class is to provide the basic technical foundation necessary for creative digital film production while emphasizing the techniques and languages of creative moving image media.  The course is designed to give a basic understanding of a range of moving image formats as part of an approach to the contemporary moving image art from traditional story genres to more contemporary experimental forms.  Training will included pre-production techniques such as scripting, shot lists, storyboarding and production scheduling.  ”Image capture” introduces the use of Digital Video cameras and other electronic imaging devices emphasizing techniques of camera placement, composition, movement and continuity as well as an introduction to lighting technologies and techniques.  Sound recording for film and video includes the use of microphones, tape, digital recording, sound editing and mixing.  An introduction to lighting technologies and techniques.  Sound recording for film and video includes the use of microphones, tape, digital recording, sound editing and mixing.  An introduction to theory and practice of non-linear digital editing programs, techniques and the use of non-linear editing programs.  The class will focus on learning Final Cut ProX.  Post-production topics include: editing strategies and aesthetics, working across platforms and the integration of analogue and digital approaches.  The class will introduce the language and techniques of different forms and genres such as dramatic, non-fiction, essay, installation, animation and web based work, as well as poetic and abstract forms.

The course will consist of weekly lectures/screenings, on production technique and forms, and occasional visiting artists and craftspeople will give workshops.  In addition there is a weekly production section taught by GSIs in which students produce a series of short individual and group exercises and a final project.  This course will provide students the technical groundwork for the courses in the program that integrate production elements into other film studies courses and serve as a prerequisite for the more advanced courses that focus on specific techniques and aspects of production.

Film 100

Section 001

Film 105

Section 001

Film 108

Section 001
Gothic Horror Film

Film 108

Section 002
East Asian Horror Cinema

Instructor:
Daniel O’Neill

We will explore the cinematic style of East Asian horror cinema from a transnational perspective, its power to provoke and disturb, in light of issues such as spectatorship, the fantastic and the uncanny, and the trauma of gender and sexuality.  The aim of the course is to encourage a theoretical understanding of horror cinema, its stock figures and conventions, as well as its critical potential.

Film 108

Section 003
Science-Fiction and Dystopia

Film 129

Section 001

Film 140

Section 001
Stardom and Cinema

Instructor:
Eileen Jones

In her introduction to the book-length collection of essays entitled Stardom: Industry of Desire, Christine Gledhill describes the complex role of media stars “in the production, circulation, and negotiation of meanings, identities, desires and ideologies” that we will be examining in this course:

The star challenges analysis in the way it crosses disciplinary boundaries: a product of mass culture, but retaining theatrical concerns with acting, performance, and art; an individual marketing device, but a signifying element in films; a social sign, carrying cultural meanings and ideological values, which expresses the intimacies of individual personality, inviting desire and identification; an emblem of national celebrity, founded on the body, fashion, and personal style; a product of capitalism and the ideology of individualism, yet a site of contest by marginalized groups; a figure consumed for his or her personal life, who competes for allegiance with statesmen and politicians.

Required Textbooks:

Stardom: Industry of Desire, edited by Christine Gledhill (Paperback)
Routledge, August 1, 1991
ISBN-13: 978-0-415-05218-4

Stardom and Celebrity: A Reader, edited by Sean Redmond and Su Holmes (Paperback)
SAGE Publications Limited, October 17, 2007
ISBN-10: 1412923212
ISBN-13: 978-1412923217

Film 140

Section 002

Film 151

Section 001
Disney and Pixar

Instructor:
Eileen Jones

As Paul Wells notes in Animation: Genre and Authorship, Walt Disney is the “key pioneering figure in the creation of the art, commerce and industry of animation.” Part of Disney’s pioneering includes his challenge to the standard notions of the “auteur” in the field of film studies:

Even his fiercest advocates, however, have struggled to name Disney’s mode of authorship…. [Disney] operates as a useful case study…[in our efforts] to form a view of the ways in which ‘authorship’ in animation might be evaluated.

As the professed inheritors of the Walt Disney tradition in animated feature filmmaking, Pixar has revived the issue of authorship in animation. It has sought with considerable success to inherent the mantle of Walt Disney’s commercial auteur persona through the constitution of an auteur persona updated for the digital animation era. This process has involved the seemingly paradoxical casting of the Pixar creative team as the collective “author” of the Pixar films while at the same time privileging and publicizing the figure of the director-as-author far more than Disney Studios ever did. Drawing on the work of such film animation scholars as Paul Wells, Maureen Furniss, and Chris Pallant, we will examine the creation of the distinctive Pixar aesthetic that mediates between the collective authorship of the Pixar creative team and the distinctive authorial identities of Pixar directors such as John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Andrew Stanton, and Pete Docter.

Required Textbooks:

Maureen Furniss, Art in Motion: Animation Aesthetics, Revised Edition (Paperback)
John Libbey Publishing, February 5, 2008
ISBN-10: 0861966635
ISBN-13: 978-0861966639

Course Reader

Film 151

Section 002
The Auteurity of Italian Cinema

Film 151

Section 003
Contemporary Chinese Film Auteurs

Film 151

Section 004

Film 180A

Section 001

Film 180B

Section 001

Film C185

Section 001

Film C185

Section 002

Film 186

Section 001
Documentary & Non-Fiction Film Production

This workshop class focuses on practices and techniques of non-fiction digital filmmaking. Course work consists of a series of short image and sound exercises and then a final film project of your own design. The class examines important techniques of non-fiction film, such as research and writing for non-fiction, the observational camera, filming in public, the interview, voiceover, working with archival film and other documents, as well as editing techniques—working to find form and structure for non-fiction materials. At the same time, we explore the different modes of the Documentary genre including observational, ethnographic, biographic/historical, agit/prop and activist forms, and as well, more expanded approaches such as essay, poetic, autobiography, archival forms. Through our projects, we will address some of the thorny theoretical and ethical issues that arise in non-fiction production such as point of view, the position of the filmmaker in relation to her subject, the politics of representation, real or imagined lines between fact and fiction, and the limits of representation.

The weekly class will be structured around seminar-style discussion/critique, hands-on technical workshops, film/video screenings, as well as presentations by occasional visiting artists and speakers. Required work will consist of a series of creative exercises, a group project, and a final project. This is a critique-based class, using your own projects as critical tools. Works produced by the class will be the major focus of discussion and analysis.

The course consists of twice-weekly meetings and a weekly screening at the PFA. There will be a $60.00 lab fee to use equipment and editing labs. Permission of instructor required.

Summer 2014 Undergraduate Courses

Summer 2014 Session A
May 27 – July 3

 

Film 25A

Film History: The Silent Era to the Beginning of Sound

Instructor:
Robert Alford

This Class Provides an overview of the silent cinema period from the late nineteenth century through the first synchronized sound films of the late 1920′s.  Throughout, we will consider the cinema as a social and cultural phenomenon that expressed and responded to the tensions of modern life.  Key topics will include the medium’s relation to older, paracinematic visual forms, the development and codification of narrative film style, the creation of the star system, the ways cinema collaborated with models of consumption predicated on difference (inclusive of race, gender, and sexual orientation), cinema as an international phenomenon related to modernity, and the role of sound and music throughout the silent and early sound periods.  Key filmmakers will include Edison, the Lumiere Brothers, Edwin Porter, Georges Melies, D.W. Griffith, Oscar Micheaux, Sergei Eisenstein, Dziga Vertov, Charlie Chaplin, and Alan Crosland.

Film 100

History of Film Theory

Instructor:
Patrick Ellis

Film theory, from high to low, classical to contemporary. Staged as a series of debates, we enter into this century of discussion historically, attentive to the intellectual networks that produced various arguments. Along the way, we will see early attention to film form (the close-up, the aura) give way to questions of representation (the mass ornament, montage). Psychoanalytic approaches will bloom, and bloom again, before withering away. Popular film theory, in the form of auteurism and camp, will linger in our present viewing habits. So, too, will the Cold War, and the focus it brought to spectacle and technology. The contemporary landscape of film theory, finally, in which questions of new media, digital effects, and animation predominate, will be given appropriate space.

In this condensed course, we will read selections from the canon of film theory, including Balazs, Baudrillard, Bazin, Benjamin, Eisenstein, Epstein, Kracauer, Sontag, and Virilio, just as we will read widely beyond canon.

Film 108

Bond vs. Bourne! The Triumph and Evolution of the Super-Spy Film

Instructor:
Justin M. Vaccaro

James Bond was the most successful and longest running film franchise of the 20th century, but coming into the 21st its fortunes appeared to be on the decline. It was at that moment that a new (and new type of) super-spy franchise surged to the forefront of popular consciousness. The Jason Bourne films rewrote the rules of what the super spy genre was about and made a ton of money doing it. In many ways Bourne was not only the opposite of Bond but a critique of the outdated world Bond inhabited. The huge popularity of the Bourne films could have meant the end of James Bond as a cultural icon. Instead, their success licensed the Bond franchise to transform itself into something more popular than ever.

This course will look at the Bond films as both genre and franchise. We will chart its influence and changing fortunes across the years and also explore how it responds to the films and texts it has inspired, like the Bourne films. We will also see what the field of genre studies can tell us about the Bond and Bourne films and what they can tell us about genre. Throughout, we will keep an eye on the historical context of the films’ production and reception, how they help shape and are shaped by their times. We will see how even the most tried and tested formula for box office success is always transforming and evolving. That in fact, the very ability to adapt, while appearing not to change, has been a key source of its success. Finally, of course, we will decide who will win and who will lose when it is Bond vs. Bourne!

Film 128

Documentary

Instructor:
Jonathan Haynes

This class serves as an introduction to the history and theory documentary, as well as a survey of documentary landmarks. We’ll begin with Robert Flaherty (whose ethnographic entertainments, like Nanook of the North, defined the non-fiction film for many in the 1920s and 1930s), and we’ll end in the present day. Our focus will be on the genre’s “blurred boundaries,” those cinematic precincts where reportage blends with other modes of film practice. We’ll look at surrealist ethnography and “fly-on-the-wall” observational docs; Nazi and Allied propaganda from WWII; trailblazing materials produced by Britain’s GPO Film Unit; agit-prop and filmic “happenings” from the late 1960s; collage and testimonial films; feminist and first person cinemas; and finally we’ll examine the nature documentary in the age of plasma TVs. Our working thesis is that despite – or because of – the documentary’s truth claims, it is actually obsessed with representation. Thus, throughout the semester, we’ll be asking questions like: What kinds of truth do documentaries mobilize (e.g., how do various doc modes construct “objectivity”)? What’s the difference between a “realist aesthetic” and an “aesthetics of the Real?”

Summer 2014 Session B
June 9 – August 15

 

Film R1B

The Craft of Writing – Film Focus: Critical Videogame Analysis

Instructor:
Christopher Goetz

While tonally distinct terms, play and critical thinking have long been intertwined conceptually, from Friedrich Schiller’s Aesthetic Education of Man to the postmodernist “play of meanings.” The dialectic in these terms will be central to this R1B course, which asks you to play, think, and write about videogames. No prior experience with videogames will be necessary—but in case your parents seem hesitant to endorse the class, assure them that writing about games is not all fun and games. As an R1B, this course is designed to train students in the skills of college-level academic research and writing. The readings will be manageable in length and difficulty, and are intended to offer students a foundation for independent study culminating in the production of an original research paper.

Videogames are a theoretically contested object: ongoing debates vie for seeing games as interactive platforms for storytelling (textual/narratology approaches), or else as rule-based systems that structure play (simulation/ludology approaches). These medium-specificity debates will be part of the course’s broad introduction to the study of games, an overview that will also include a brief history of the medium, an intro to play theory, basic gamer demography, and game genre studies. These broad areas of inquiry will inform your writing throughout the semester. After this introduction to videogame studies, the course will proceed through major videogame genres, tying each one to a critical game discourse as follows: early action games and discussions of empowerment fantasies, first-person shooters and fighting games studied in connection with debates about violence in games, simulation games tied to theories of gender in gaming, the role-playing game (RPG) and global culture, and finally the narrative-cinematic game and the study of convergence culture. Of course, the pairings listed here do not represent co-extensive domains, and each area of study considered will accumulate in the course’s broad survey of academic thought on videogames. While the syllabus offers a mere sampling of the major games and related academic discourses, students will have an opportunity to pursue their own interests in a final research project of their own design.

A sample list of works for readings and lectures: Sigmund Freud’s “The Creative Writer and Daydreaming,” Dan Fleming’s Powerplay, Elaine Scarry’s The Body in Pain, Silvan Tomkins’s Affect, Imagery, Consciousness, Kathryn Bond Stockton’s The Queer Child, D.W. Winnicott’s Playing and Reality, Roger Caillois’ Man, Play, and Games, Alexander Galloway’s Gaming, Anne Allison’s Millennial Monsters, Janet Murray’s Hamlet on the Holodeck, Jesper Juul’s Half-Real and A Casual Revolution, and R.W. Connell’s Masculinities.

Games to be screened may include: Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, Contra III: The Alien Wars, Earthbound, GoldenEye 007, Super Smash Bros., God of War, Gears of War, Tomb Raider, Uncharted, Heavy Rain, Pikmin, and Super Mario 3D World.

Film 25B

The History of Film

Instructor:
Emily Carpenter

This survey course introduces students to watershed texts and moments in the history of the sound film from the 1930s to early 1970s. We will begin, of course, with the transition to sound in the United States, working our way through the studio era toward an understanding of what some scholars refer to as the aesthetic, political, and economic tendencies that characterize “classical” Hollywood cinema. We will consider the major markers of narrative and experimental filmmaking in Europe during the studio and Post-War eras, with particular attention to Great Britain, the Soviet Union, Germany, Italy, and France. At this point we will take up the question of gender through texts that interrogate the performance of gender in the national movements we encounter. Our focus on the Post-War era will account not only for the technologies, practices, and genres of Hollywood, but also Art Cinema in Japan, Sweden, France, and Italy. We will close the session with a look at both mainstream and politically critical cinemas of the 1960s and early 1970s.

Film 108

Animation

Instructor:
Russell Merritt

We will study the major currents in international animation from the silent pioneering work of Emile Cohl, Winsor McCay, and Otto Messmer, through the stop motion animation of Reiniger, Starvich, and Len Lye, and on to the feature narratives of Japanese anime, we will study the major currents in international animation. The course revisits the best-known animation studios — Disney, the Fleischer Brothers, Warners, George Pal, and UPA — as the producers who helped redefine and Americanize narrative fantasy. We then examine international studios for the experimental alternatives to the American juggernaut, and study how new forms of animation – including early digital — respond to both political and artistic demands of avant grade movements. Along with the films, we trace the shifts and changes of animation theory as it illustrates and challenges animation practice.

Required readings: A course reader; Donald Crafton, Before Mickey: The Animated Film 1898-1928; C[arlo]. Collodi, The Adventures of Pinocchio

Film 151

The Coen Brothers

Instructor:
Eileen Jones

In this course we will examine the films of writer-director-producer team Joel and Ethan Coen in terms of the ways in which these films confirm, challenge, and provide insight into existing theories of film authorship. The Coens are useful “trouble cases” when it comes to auteur theory, having positioned themselves and their work in am ambiguous relationship to the often-opposed categories that typically inform these theories: Hollywood studio and independent film practices, classic and postmodern filmmaking techniques, art film and mass entertainment aesthetics, and American and European critical sensibilities. We will screen and analyze many of the Coens’ major films including Raising Arizona, Miller’s Crossing, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, The Man Who Wasn’t There, O Brother Where Art Thou?, No Country For Old Men, and True Grit.

Film 151

Alfred Hitchcock and His Cinematic Legacy

Instructor:
Renee L Pastel

“I think everyone enjoys a nice murder, provided he is not the victim.” ~Alfred Hitchcock

How can we understand the cinematic legacy of the “master of suspense”? Speaking at the end of “Disappearing Trick,” a 1958 episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Alfred Hitchcock takes a moment to address viewers of the show in the year 2000, noting the lasting quality of the film image. Hitchcock’s films and cinematic style are indisputably enduring cultural works, having now influenced myriad filmmakers and film theorists. His films are considered classics, and his life continues to hold great interest. Having successfully transitioned from silent film to sound, black and white to color, and film to television, Alfred Hitchcock’s corpus not only perseveres, but proves instructive in the study of film as art form. This course will consider the elements of Hitchcock’s creations that comprise the legendary director’s style, and trace their cultural reverberations, which extend to today. Using film analysis, a reconsideration of auteur theory, and biographical information about Hitchcock, students will reexamine Hitchcock’s films and films that pay homage to his work.

Spring 2014 Graduate Courses

Film 201

Film Historiography

Instructor: 
Tony Kaes

What does it mean to think “historically” about film and cinema?  The seminar will address the recent “historical turn” in film and media studies and explore the potential of current media archaeology. We will read theories of historiography, from Benjamin to Foucault, but will also explore new avenues that opened with the rise of new media. Although most film examples will be drawn from the silent era, our discussions will be attuned to present-day concerns, including digital media. A conference at the end of the semester will give students an opportunity to present their research.

Film 240

(Crosslisted CP290 /CHINESE 280)

The City and Its Moving Images: Urban Theory, Media Theory

Instructor:
Weihong Bao

What is the city? Is it a space, a place, a process, or practice? Is it actual or virtual? How do we demarcate the spatial and temporal limits of the city? How does the city become a unit of social space and experience? How does such a unit register both social contiguity and tension in spatial terms and recast relations of gender, class, race, and other power configurations such as the global and local? How are the changing experience of the city perceived and mediated through film and other media? How do media technologies and their aesthetic articulations create and occupy actual and virtual spaces of the city and contribute to its demise and transformations?

Taking the city as the concentrated and contested site, this class examines key issues of urban modernity and postmodernity at the intersection of urban planning, architecture, and film and media.
The purpose of this jointly-taught doctoral-level seminar is to examine the fundamental precepts of approaches to urban theory, method, and analysis that characterize disciplines in the humanities and environmental design. Its specific goal is to explore the extent to which integrating the diversity of these approaches is possible and/or desirable, and the extent to which this integration could advance understanding, research practices, and pedagogy in global urban humanities disciplines.

The course has two phases:
Ways of Seeing the City, focusing on key words in the urban question (such as city, scale, and representation), as well as established options in theory, method and practice that are current in contemporary urban-oriented disciplines.

The Urban Question after Modernity, including manifestations of globalization, hybridity, sustainability, and socio-economic polarization, as well as changing urban spaces (corporate spaces, networked/cyber city, urban ruins, and hypertopia) to explore convergences and concordances in an integrated ‘global urban humanities.’

Each class will be taught jointly by both instructors. It will feature a simultaneous film program, as well as presentations by prominent guest speakers, whose presentations will be open to the wider campus community.

 

Film 240

Cultural Geographies of Postwar Japan: Cinema, Performance, and Art

Instructor:
Miryam Sas

 

As humanities disciplines move increasingly toward studies of transnational and globalized urban space, the cinema and arts of East Asia become ever more important sites for the study of key movements in media, art, and social practices. This seminar maps the circulation of film, media  and performance art not only through individual works but through an examination of the cultural institutions that housed them, the networks of individuals and collectives that produced them, and the discourses and activisms that mobilized audiences within urban spaces. The seminar will introduce and debate theoretical models of spatiality and culture from both Euro-American and Japanese contexts.  The course focuses specifically on prominent works and movements in Japanese cinema and visual culture, from action art and photography to the most contemporary theories of sexuality and anime. Key topics include transformations in architectural and environment theory, intermedia art and manga, documentary and experimental film, popular musicals and Japanese “noir,” pink film and body genres, hyperart and happenings,  gender crossings (from early cinema to anime’s fan culture) and contemporary new media art. The course will include trips to local archives to view art works.
(Prerequisites: none. Translations will be provided as needed.)

 

Film 240

“Mediatized War: Vision, Technology and the Spectacle of Violence in Contemporary Non-Fiction Media”Instructor:

Instructor:
Jeffrey Skoller

Weds 1-4pm, 226 DWINELLE & Screening Weds eves.

War becomes film, film becomes war, the two united by their mutual overflow of technology. —Jean Baudrillard

The new technologies of remote visualization that emerged during the Gulf wars have transformed warfare: thermal, infrared and laser imaging technologies, unmanned robotic cameras, and aerial drones guided into territories by technicians in front of computer screens thousands of miles away. Many of these imaging technologies are also transforming the modes of documenting these wars and with it, changing who is making images, what can be seen and how quickly. These new war films raise new questions about aesthetic and narrative image forms, representations of cinematic space, time and the spectacle of violence. Issues of distance, intimacy and abstraction are made more complex by the geographic and cultural distances between warring countries, which often transform the nature and meanings of violence into phantasmagorical spectacle.

During the seminar, we will view a range of recent mainstream and experimental non-fiction media. We will examine these new works in the context of current theoretical and critical writings on war, technology, violence and film form, as a way to explore the problematic relationship between new technologies of vision and the abstracted violence inherent in such mediatized documentation.

Each member of the seminar will pick an area of research around these issues to produce a critical paper that brings visual works and texts into conversation. Artists can also use the course to develop creative art works in relation to these issues. The course will culminate in a small symposium based upon the work of the seminar and each of its members.

Possible films and writings include: The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, 2012); The War Tapes (Deborah Scranton, US, 2006); How We Fight, Part I (Mauro Andrizzi, Argentina, 2008); Standard Operating Procedure (Errol Morris, US, 2008); Iraq in Fragments (James Longley, US, 2006); Restrepo (Sebastian Junger, 2010), Body of War (Ellen Spiro, USA, 2007), Far from Vietnam (Marker, Godard, Resnais, Varda etc., France, 1967); War at a Distance (Harun Farocki, PLACE 2003); The Casting (Omer Fast, PLACE DATE); Waltz with Bashir (Ari Folman, Israel, 2008 ); The Green Wave (Ali Samadi Ahadi, Iran/Germany 2010); Nights and Days & Objects of War (Lamia Joreige, Lebanon, 2007), (Posthumous) (Ghassan Salhab, Lebanon, 2007).

Books/Essays: War and Cinema Paul Virilio,  Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable? by Judith Butler, Killer Images: Documentary Film, Memory, and the Performance of Violence Joram Ten Brink, Joshua Oppenheimer, eds.  Creating the Witness: Documenting Genocide on Film, Video, and the Internet by Leshu Torchin , War Culture and the Contest of Images Dora Apel, Mengele’s Skull: The Advent of a Forensic Aesthetics by Thomas KeenanEyal WeizmanGames of Empire: Global Capitalism and Video Games by Nick Dyer-Witheford, Greig de Peuter “The Production of Outrage: The Iraq War and the Radical DocumentaryTradition, Jane Gaines, “UnWar: Alisa Lebow, “Public Domains: Engaging Iraq Through Experimental Digitalities” Patricia Zimmerman

Spring 2014 Undergraduate Courses

All courses are 4 units unless otherwise noted.

 

Film R1B

Practical Skills in College Writing with emphasis on research

Instructors:
Dolores C. Mcelroy and Jennifer Blaylock

The primary goal of this course is to teach practical skills in college writing with a special emphasis on research. The topic of this R1B will examine the monster as cultural object. Course material will address zombies, vampires, Frankenstein’s monster and other terrifying “creatures” as menaces born from conceptions of race, class and sexuality. In other words, all of those unnamed “threats” that ceaselessly renegotiate their meanings in the mysterious process we call “modernity.” Enthusiasm for creepy things required.

Here are the texts we’ll require:

Course Reader (to be purchased at Replica Copy – 2138 Oxford St)

Writing Analytically **5th Edition (**important to have 5th Edition: students can purchase on Amazon)

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (Dover Thrift Edition, Unabridged, Paperback)

 

Film R1B

Technologies of Time: the Mediation of History, Memory, and Narrative

Instructor:
Justin Vaccaro

Can we know time without the help of a medium?

This is the second part of the Reading and Composition requirement. We will continue to work on writing analytical, argumentative papers but with an added emphasis on research. Both doing research – from generating research topics to locating and evaluating sources – and writing research papers which will integrate and correctly cite sources in support your own original and provocative claims. Our subject for this spring is the mediation of time. We rely on a variety of technologies and techniques to understand our world and ourselves as existing in time. To plan for the future or learn from the past, from hunting game in the pre-historic era to modeling the global climate of the coming century, we continually, incessantly mediate time. Photos, stories, hash marks, clocks, records, artifacts, scars, archives, memories, predictions, extrapolations, and physical laws are some but not all of the ways we have of knowing and mastering time. This course examines various technologies of time and how they affect how and what we know about our past, present, and future.

 We begin with the most basic of media, the world and the traces left on it. We will then jump to the simplest of narratives, cause and effect. We then consider the alphabet, the scroll, chronologies, the epoch making influence of the clock and the radical reorientation brought on by photographs and phonographs. Throughout we will be putting these older temporal devices in dialogue with the most important time-based media of the past 150 years – film, television, and the computer. We will ask not only how have we mediated time but also if time can only be known through mediation.

Possible readings:

Wartime and The Great War and Modern Memory By Paul Fussel, From Hitler to Heimat: the Return of History as Film by Anton Kaes, Digital Memory by Wolfgang Ernst, History and Narrative by Paul Ricoeur, “Behavior, Purpose, and Teleology,” Arturo Rosenblueth, Norbert Wiener, and Julian Bigelow. Emergence of Cinematic Time by Mary Ann Doane, The Audible Past by Jonathan Sterne, Metahistory by Hayden White, “The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte” by Karl Marx, Always Already New: Media, History, and the Data of Culture by Lisa Gitelman.

Possible Films:

Documentaries by Adam Curtis (All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace (2011), The Trap (2007), The Power of Nightmares (2004)), Germany in Autumn (Kluge, et al., 1978), La Commune (Paris, 1871)(Watkins, 2000), Moon (Jones, 2009), Night and Fog (Resnais, 1955), Stone Tape (Sasdy and Kneale, 1972), Sans Soleil (Marker, 1983),

 

Film R1B 004

Cinema and the Aesthetics of Surrealism

Instructor: 
Linda Witkowski and Eliot Bessette

This course will combine the formal aesthetic analysis of cinema with theoretical texts to investigate the ways that surrealism has been used in film. Part of our work will be to contrast theories of surrealism with theories of realism in order to question how film and its techniques might expose “reality,” offer us an alternative way of living in the world, or generate a different world altogether.  To do this, we will consider examples of surrealism in cinema from its avant-garde origins in the silent era to contemporary narrative explorations of surrealism.  Some of the questions that will guide our discussions are: What is surrealism in film, and how do we recognize it? How do film techniques elicit a surreal effect or atmosphere? Can the surreal allow us to see the world differently?  Theoretical readings will likely include texts by André Breton, Maya Deren, Roman Jakobson, and Sigmund Freud. Screenings will consider films by Germaine Dulac, Luis Buñuel, Maya Deren, Werner Herzog, and David Lynch, among others.

Film 25B

History of Film (Sound Era)

Instructor: 
Eileen Jones

In this introductory survey course we will examine the history of cinema from the silent-to-sound revolution of the late 1920s through the international development of film as a transformative technology, art form, and commercial medium up to the present time. In addition to our main textbook, Kristin Thomas and David Bordwell’s Film History: An Introduction, we will also draw on material from The Oxford History of World Cinema edited by Geoffrey Nowell-Smith and the scholarship of such film historians/theorists as Tom Gunning, Charles Musser, Linda Williams, John Belton, Hamid Naficy, Thomas Elsaesser, Henry Jenkins, Lev Manovich, and many others, in discussing the way certain landmark short and feature films reflect social, political, and ideological changes through the decades. The objectives of this course are to:

1. familiarize the students with the major technological and aesthetic innovations of the past 80 years which have given rise to the cinema as we know it today;

2. foster students’ awareness of the economic, social and political contexts in which sound cinema developed and the impact which cinema had, in turn, on nations, cultures, and historical events; and

3.  give students a clear sense of the major movements in sound cinema (including classical and post-classical Hollywood cinema, experimental, documentary, and avant-garde cinema, Italian Neo-Realism, French Poetic Realism and the New Wave, Third Cinema, Political Cinema of the 1960s-‘70s, and film in the era of global multimedia) and how those movements intertwined with critical, theoretical, and popular responses to the medium.

REQUIRED TEXTBOOK FOR HISTORY OF FILM:

Film History: An Introduction, by Kristin Thompson & David Bordwell
Published by McGraw-Hill, 3rd Edition, Paperback, February 17, 2009.
ISBN-10: 0073386138
ISBN-13: 978-0073386133

 

Film 108

Doomed Love in the Cinema

Instructor: 
Mary Ann Doane

In this course we will examine the many films–across different historical periods and in different genres–in which the failure of a love relationship is the principal focus of narrative structure.   Is this frequency the result of a cultural heterosexual imperative?  Does it also characterize films centering on homosexual relationships?  What is the drive behind the constant repetition of this theme of doomed love?  Why and how are pathos and melancholy foregrounded in these films and what idea of temporality do they espouse (e.g. the logic of the “too late”)?  We will not take the concept of “love” for granted but dissect its various cultural meanings and historical/ideological functions.  While the obsession with doomed love clearly predates the cinema (e.g. Romeo and Juliet), what are the implications of its specifically cinematic representation, what genres are its privileged vehicles?  We will juxtapose the films with cultural theories of love such as those of psychoanalysis (Freud, Lacan, Adam Philips), history/psychology (Denis de Rougemont, Love in the Western World) and various semiotic/cultural theorists (Roland Barthes, Alain Badiou, Laura Kipnis, Lauren Berlant).  These encompass theories that are both “pro-love” and “anti-love.”  The cinematic genres inspected will include melodrama (Back Street, Brief Encounter, Humoresque, Letter from an Unknown Woman), the musical (West Side Story) and the art film (In the Mood for Love, Happy Together).

Film 108/EAC

Global Genres and East Asian Cinema

Instructor: 
Weihong Bao

This course explores East Asian Cinema from the perspective of film genre. In particular, the course examines East Asian genre films as active interaction with the circulation of global film genres as well as mass mediated engagement with specific economic, social, and political histories of East Asia. We will study contemporary theories of film genre, examine how the case of East Asian genre films complicate existing theories while paying due attention to the parallel transnational traffics–between East Asian Cinema and global film genre, and across East Asian Cinema in their history of cultural and economic flow as well as political confrontation. We will integrate our investigations of genre-specific questions (industry, style, reception, spectatorship, affect) with those of gender, ethnicity, power as well as nation and transnational/transregional identity.

 

Film 108

Time in Mad Men

Instructor: 
Mark Sandberg

The genre in question for this version of Film and Media 108 is serial television, especially the cultural resurgence of complex, long-form television narrative of the last fifteen years. While the course will deal in comparisons with the larger television phenomenon of seriality, the focus of the course is the AMC series Mad Men. Central to the approach in the course is an examination of the temporal layering of the series. While deeply (even excessively) embedded in the design and culture of the 1960s, the series is only apparently “historical”; Mad Men’s obsessive recreation of period authenticity is best seen as a response to America’s own cultural issues in post-9/11 culture, as an elaborate and energetic displacement of our own “meditations in an emergency,” to cite the title of a key episode in Season Two.

Students signing up for the course will be expected to watch all of Season One before the first day of class, and screenings in the following weeks will tackle selected episodes (not all) from subsequent seasons, with the understanding that most students will fill in gaps with their own personal viewing (DVDs of all six seasons will be available in the Media Resource Center in Moffitt Library). Attention in the course will shuttle back and forth between “then” and “now”: on the one hand, the course follows the example of Mad Men’s research team by examining the range of cultural-historical sources used to build the fictional world and narrative of the show, and on the other, it examines how the series functions today as a cultural phenomenon (spectatorship positioning, fan dynamics, series connoisseurship. intermedial drift, meta-advertising strategies, “special features” DVD viewing, “binge watching,” etc.).

Course requirements:

One short (3 page) writing assignment
Midterm exam
One longer (5-7 page) research essay
Final exam
One in-class group oral presentation
Attendance and participation

Required texts:

Gary R. Edgerton, Mad Men (Reading Contemporary Television) (I.B. Tauris, 2011)    ISBN-13: 978-1848853799
Lauren M.E. Goodlad, Lilya Kaganovsky, and Robert A. Rushing, eds. Mad Men, Mad World: Sex, Politics, Style, and the 1960s (Duke University Press, 2013)
ISBN-13: 978-1848853799

Film 128

Documentary Film
Instructor: 
Linda Williams

This course surveys the history, theory and practice of the documentary, aka “non-fiction,” film and video. We will explore the term and examine the ways its forms and ethics have changed since the beginning of cinema. We will begin by asking what the “documentary voice” of a given film is. We will examine the major modes of documentary filmmaking including cinema verité, direct cinema, investigative documentary, ethnographic film, agit-prop and activist media, autobiography and the personal essay as well as recent post-modern forms that question relationships between fact and fiction. Through formal analysis, we will examine the “reality effects” of these works focusing on their narrative structures and the ways in which they make meaning. Through this, we explore some of the theoretical questions that constantly surround this most philosophical of film genres. We will ask: How do these films shape notions of truth, reality and point of view? What are the ethics and politics of representation and who speaks for whom when we watch a documentary? Our goal is to travel the porous borders of a genre that promises reality by way of representation and objective truth by way of subjective perspective?

Format: Mondays will be lectures and screenings. Wednesday will be discussion. On this day I will expect you to be prepared to discuss.
Screenings and lecture will typically be on Mondays and Wednesdays. But a number of screenings will take place at the Pacific Film Archive on Tuesday nights at 7pm often with filmmakers in attendance. We will have several visiting filmmakers during the course of the semester that may shift our lecture/screening schedule. You are required to attend all of these sessions.

 

Film 140

Understanding Film Sound

Instructor: 
Mark Berger

This course will explore the nature, evolution, use, and abuse of sound in cinema.  From the first silent films, which weren’t presented in silence at all, to current action films, the relation between sound and image will be analyzed in detail.  While there is a high degree of visual sophistication in audiences and academic analysis, there is an almost equal naiveté when it comes to sound.  Starting with the physics of sound, the neurophysiology of hearing, and how our perception influences our emotional reactions, we will consider the three main categories of film sound – dialogue, music, and effects – from the perspectives of the writer, the director, and the audience, looking at the artistic and technical factors that guide and constrain the creative process, as well as how changes in presentation have affected audience response.  Examples will be shown from foreign and domestic feature, documentary, and animated films.  Depending on schedules, there will be two guest lectures by directors, composers, or editors currently working on the soundtracks of their films.  Emphasis is on the real-time, aural perception and analysis of film sound.  At the end of the course, students should be able to bring an increased sophistication and depth to their understanding of how sound contributes to (or diminishes!) the filmic experience.

Requirements: Attendance and consciousness at class lectures and film screenings are mandatory. Midterm Exam, final exam, 2 quizzes, several short analyses of assigned films, and small group creation and presentation of audio scenes illustrating concepts covered in class.

 

Film 140/ Rhetoric 130

Film 140:  Special Topics in Film: Hitchcock Adaptations
Rhetoric 130: Novel into Film

Instructor: 
Eileen Jones

Director Alfred Hitchcock’s reliance on literary works is a lesser-known factor in his filmmaking, in part because of Hitchcock’s famous “authorship” of his films, which he forcefully publicized. Yet Hitchcock was a frequent adapter of acclaimed novels such as Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train, Robert Bloch’s Psycho, Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca and Jamaica Inn, Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent (filmed as Sabotage) and Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac’s D’entre Les Morts (Between Deaths, filmed as Vertigo), in addition to short stories such as Daphne Du Maurier’s “The Birds” and Cornell Woolrich’s “It Had to Be Murder” (filmed as Rear Window). Hitchcock’s collaborations with screenwriters favored free and idiosyncratic interpretations of literary text sources; his intense unhappiness with the “faithful” adaptation process forced upon him in bringing Daphne du Maurier’s bestseller Rebecca to the screen, thus preventing it from becoming “a real Hitchcock film” in the director’s view, has been compellingly analyzed by Tania Modleski in The Women Who Knew Too Much.

In this course we will examine Hitchcock’s films in terms of adaptation, in an attempt to re-establish the connection between his famous filmic “authorship” and the obscured literary authorship that preceded it.

REQUIRED TEXTBOOKS FOR HITCHCOCK ADAPTATIONS:

Psycho by Robert Bloch
Published by Overlook, 1st Edition, Paperback, May 25, 2010.
ISBN-10: 1590203356
ISBN-13: 978-1590203354

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks, September 5, 2006.
ISBN-10: 0380730405
ISBN-13: 978-0380730407

Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith
Published by W.W. Norton and Co., Reprint Edition, Paperback, August 17, 2001.
ISBN-10: 0393321983
ISBN-13: 978-0393321982

Film 140/ Rhetoric 133T

Film 140:  Special Topics in Film: Color Theory
Rhetoric 133T: Theories of Film

Instructor: 
Eileen Jones

In the introduction to Color: The Film Reader, Brian Price argues that until recently film studies scholars have suffered from “chromophobia,” neglecting to address in any comprehensive way “the centrality of color to the experience and technology of cinema”:

The neglect of color in film studies is a curious one. Color is not simply a choice a filmmaker makes at the level of film stock…[but] a constructive element of mise-en-scene, one that works alongside of lighting, sound, performance, camera movement, framing, and editing….It is an element carefully considered by set designers, cinematographers and directors, all of whom must remain sensitive to the way in which color can create meaning, mood, sensation, and perceptual cues.

In this course we will examine basic color theory as it pertains to the visual arts in general and color theory as it pertains to the specific medium of film, as well as charting the historical development of color technology in film. We will also do case studies of filmmakers who have arguably worked as “color theorists” themselves, such as director Douglas Sirk in collaboration with cinematographer Russell Metty (All That Heaven Allows, Written on the Wind, Imitation of Life), directors Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger with cinematographer Jack Cardiff (Red Shoes, Black Narcissus, A Matter of Life and Death), producer Walt Disney working with artists Mary Blair and Eyvind Earle (Alice in Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty), director Alfred Hitchcock with cinematographer Robert Burks (Rear Window, North by Northwest, Vertigo, The Birds, Marnie), directors Joel and Ethan Coen with cinematographer Roger Deakins (Fargo, The Big Lebowski, O Brother Where Art Thou?), director Wong Kar Wai with cinematographer Christopher Doyle (Chungking Express, Ashes of Time, In the Mood for Love) director Zhang Yimou with cinematographer Christopher Doyle (Hero), and director Quentin Tarantino with cinematographer Robert Richardson (Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds).

REQUIRED TEXTBOOKS FOR COLOR THEORY:
Color: The Film Reader, edited by Angela Dalle Vacche and Brian Price
In Focus Series: Routledge Film Readers
Published by Routledge, 2006.
ISBN-10: 04153224424
ISBN-13: 978-0415324427

Color and the Moving Image: History, Theory, Aesthetics, Archive, edited by Simon Brown, Sarah Street, and Liz Watkins
The AFI Reader Series
Published by Routledge, 2013.
ISBN-10: 0415892643
ISBN-13: 978-0415892643

 

Film 160

German Exiles in Hollywood: From Horror to Noir

Instructor: 
Tony Kaes

This course deals with the American films of German and Austrian filmmakers who fled to the United States when Hitler came to power.  Complicating the notion of a national cinema, the films of these refugees negotiated between German expressionism and Hollywood’s popular genre cinema. The “German style” (distorted angles and harsh shadows) underscored the exilic experience of trauma, dislocation, and entrapment—a style that continues to influence the horror and noir films of today. We will also study texts by exiled philosophers (Theodor W. Adorno, Hannah Arendt, Herbert Marcuse, et al.) who reflected on the fragility of democracy, the lure of totalitarianism, the role of political cinema in Hollywood, and the crisis of the American dream. We will consider Hollywood films of the 1930s and 1940s, such as Casablanca (Curtiz);  Black Cat and Detour (Ulmer); To Be or Not to Be (Lubitsch); Sunset Boulevard (Wilder); Fury, You Only Live Once, and Scarlet Street (Lang), among others.

 

Film 180A

Beginning Screenwriting 
Instructor: 
J. Mira Kopell

Prerequisites: Declared film majors with at least 60 semester units completed. Professor approval required; enrollment limited.

Experience “behind-the-scenes” at PFA!  Interns will learn about film curating through creating a program of works by Bay Area film students to present at PFA the following Fall semester. Students will solicit films and videos, preview them, and make a final selection as a group. Students will write short analyses of local film exhibition programs and will do projects related to PFA’s ongoing exhibition program.

Explores the art and craft of writing a feature length, narrative screenplay.  Participants present three story ideas to the class, develop one concept into a detailed treatment and write the first act of the script in professional screenplay form.  Focus is on rewriting, with regular presentations of outlines and scripts to fellow writers.  Emphasis on story structure, character development and screenplay form.  Includes in-class writing exercises.

Prerequisites: Consent of instructor required.  This class is open to juniors and seniors.  Preference is given to Film & Media majors, but instructor will try to accommodate other majors.  Interested students should attend the first class session.

Required Texts:

Essentials of Screenwriting, by Richard Walter (Plume, 2010). ISBN 978-452-29627-5
The Hollywood Standard, 2nd edition, by Christopher Riley (Michael Wiese Productions, 2009). ISBN 978-1932907636
Four Screenplays: Studies in the American Screenplay, by Syd Field (Dell, 1994) ISBN 0-440-50490-2

Film 187

Advanced Production of Narrative Short
Instructor approval required.
Prerequisite: Film 26 & Film 185 (or equivalent)

Instructor: 
J. Mira Kopell

In Film 187 student filmmakers write, direct and edit one narrative short,
10 – 12 minutes in length. The class emphasizes the collaborative process of
filmmaking so, in addition to developing their own projects, students will
continually workshop each other’s scripts, dailies and cuts and crew on each
other’s productions.

The semester is broken into four stages – script concept/development, pre-
production, production and postproduction.  Script development emphasizes
visual storytelling, dramatic structure, character development and theme.
Pre-production highlights pre-visualization strategies, script analysis,
casting, rehearsing, planning, scheduling.  Production focuses on directing
the camera and actors, shot choice/composition and lighting. Post-production focuses on editing esthetics and sound design.

The course is demanding – much of the work is done outside class. There will
be in-class and outside class exercises to prepare students for aspects
of the filmmaking process. Narrative shorts from around the world are screened to
facilitate discussion of strategies for making an effective short film.

Emphasis is on each student mastering the creative, practical, technical,
and theoretical concepts related to video production.  Ultimately, each
student will create a fully realized short that is both technically and artistically proficient.

 

Film 197C

Film Curating Internship
Pacific Film Archive

Instructor: 
Kathy Geritz

Meet at Conference Room, Berkeley Art Museum, 2625 Durant Ave.

Prerequisites: Declared film majors with at least 60 semester units completed. Professor approval required; enrollment limited.

Experience “behind-the-scenes” at PFA!  Interns will learn about film curating through creating a program of works by Bay Area film students to present at PFA the following Fall semester. Students will solicit films and videos, preview them, and make a final selection as a group. Students will write short analyses of local film exhibition programs and will do projects related to PFA’s ongoing exhibition program.

 

 

For course rooms and times, see UC Berkeley Schedule of Classes.