Cinema Studies

Cinema Studies

01:175:425 Senior Seminar in Cinema Studies: The Documentary: Truth and Fiction in the Cinema

  • Course Description:

    Description: This course explores the categories of truth and fiction in the cinema through the lens of the documentary. Our focus will be on the history and legacy of an international film movement known as cinéma vérité, which challenged conventional notions of documentary “truth” and “objectivity” in the 1960s and 1970s. By examining core concepts and techniques of the movement—for example, its experimentation with improvisation, participation, and provocation—we will develop an understanding of how and why cinéma vérité filmmakers tried to revolutionize documentary modes that had dominated much of the 20th century. In the process, we will consider how cinéma vérité continues to influence documentary filmmaking and the broader politics of race, gender, activism, and knowledge in film and related media. The documentary will serve two broader functions in this capstone seminar: 1) Each week will be devoted to using the documentary as a way to think through a foundational category in cinema studies—e.g., realism, spectatorship, ideology, postmodernism, race—so that students develop a deeper understanding of how broad conversations in the discipline are negotiated in a specific subfield. 2) The various ways in which documentaries use evidence, questioning, and argumentation will be used as frameworks for helping students develop their own analytical skills for using evidence, developing questions, and making arguments while writing in the discipline.

  • Instructor(s): COLIN WILLIAMSON

01:175:425 Senior Seminar in Cinema Studies: Realisms

  • Course Description:

    This is a capstone course for all Cinema Studies Majors and Minors. In this iteration of the Senior Seminar, we will focus on the theoretical and historical mutation of "Realisms", as it pertains to cinema studies as a discipline. From the earliest years, film theorists have been engaged in debate over cinema's unique mimetic capabilities: from André Bazin's "myth of total cinema" to Sigfried Kracauer, Rudolph Arnheim and Sergei Eisenstein, we will read a range of critics who have wrestled with the notion of cinema's "true" calling as an art-form. In more recent years, the theoretical turn towards affect and phenomenology has once again compelled us to revisit the question of Realism in the era of New and Digital Media. Beyond theoretical approaches focusing on realism, this course will also consider distinct historical forms of global realisms—Italian Neorealism and its many global avatars, the classical Hollywood cinema, documentary and non-fiction film traditions, as well as certain well-known alternatives to realist film traditions such as Surrealism, Expressionism, Magical Realism, etc. will be critically explored.

  • Instructor(s): MEHELI SEN (Program Director)

01:175:377 Modern French Cinema

  • Course Description:

    This course surveys the history of French cinema from World War II to the present. These are tumultuous years; they include the "New Wave" of the late 1950s and 1960s (works of Resnais, Godard, and others), the return to traditional forms in the 1970s and 1980s (but often with untraditional content, as in the disturbing comedies of Bertrand Blier), the "New New Wave" that followed (films by Olivier Assayas and Claire Denis, among others), and the radically diverse cinema of the present day. Films screened will be examined both in their historical-political context and as works of art and/or entertainment. Please note that several films contain adult themes and situations, and occasional (full) nudity. [This course fulfills Core Requirements AHp]

  • Instructor(s): ALAN WILLIAMS

01:175:377 Classics of Italian Cinema

  • Course Description:

    This course provides a historical introduction to Italian cinema, concentrating on examples of classical genres and movements, such as the early silent epic, the classics of neorealism, auteurs of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, the commedia all’italiana (comedy, Italian style), and the spaghetti Western. We will examine issues of cinematic representation and production, and societal values (e.g., gender, family relations, and national identity vs. local cultures), while refining close-analysis skills. No knowledge of Italian is required.

01:175:377 Latin American Film: Emotion and Engagement

  • Course Description:

    Revolutionary vampires in Havana fight the mafia to gain control of a potion that will allow them to enjoy the Cuban sun; a young indigenous couple suffers the terrible persecution of their community in Mexico; an Argentine taxidermist planning a lucrative heist confronts humans’ fraught relationship to non-human animals. Latin American filmmakers have often been on the forefront of efforts to use film to entertain and emotionally engage audiences while heightening their awareness of—and prompting them to take action to resolve—socio-economic problems and political oppression. In this course we will explore the wildly inventive ways in which different types of filmmaking (fiction, documentary, animation and hybrids) and a variety of cinematic genres (comedy, melodrama, horror and exploitation, noir) have been deployed by Latin American filmmakers to create politically-engaged cinema. Although extraordinary films have been produced throughout Latin America, this semester we will pay special attention to works from three countries: Cuba, Mexico, and Argentina. This will also allow us to explore in greater depth the complexities of each context.

  • Instructor(s): SUSAN MARTIN-MÁRQUEZ