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Rutgers Cinema Studies Fall 2019 Course Descriptions:

Cinema Studies

Introduction to Film I (Williamson)
MW 1:10-2:30PM; M 6:10-9:00PM
SAS Core Code: Arts and Literatures (AHp)
Course Description: Film study, with emphasis on basic concepts of film analysis (narrative, editing, mise-en-scène, cinematography, sound) and the historical development of cinema as an institution.

Introduction to Film I (Fresko)
MTh 11:30-12:50PM; Th 6:10-9:00PM
SAS Core Code: Arts and Literatures (AHp)
Course Description: Film study, with emphasis on basic concepts of film analysis (narrative, editing, mise-en-scène, cinematography, sound) and the historical development of cinema as an institution.

American Experimental Film (Nigrin)
T 5:35-6:55PM; Th 5:35-8:35PM
Course Description: A survey course focusing on the history and development of the various American experimental cinema movements from its beginnings to the present. In-depth analyses of the structure and content of films by Andy Warhol, Maya Deren, Stan Brakhage, Sidney Peterson, Kenneth Anger, Bruce Baillie, Yoko Ono, Bruce Conner, Marie Menken, and many others. Emphasis on the "mise-en-scene," editing, non-narrative form, sound, and special effects in the films of these celebrated experimental filmmakers. Warning: some films may contain nudity, sexual situations, violence, profanity, substance abuse, and disturbing images. Email Prof. Nigrin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more info!

American Cinema II (Williamson)
MW 4:30-5:50PM; W 6:10-9:00PM
Course Description: This course surveys the major trends in American cinema from the 1940s to the present, a period in film history that witnessed the decline of the Hollywood studio system and the rise of television, independent filmmaking, and the blockbuster. While examining these large-scale industrial changes, we will consider how a range of films and movements—including the American New Wave and slasher horror, as well as animation and digital effects—shaped and were shaped by broader questions about everything from politics, race, and gender to youth culture, suburbanization, and techno-scientific innovation. Our goal in the process is to develop an understanding of the diversity of forms that American cinema has taken and the ways it continues to evolve, both nationally and globally.

World Cinema I (Williams)
M 1:10-5:50PM; W 1:10-2:30PM
Course Description: A survey of the history of world cinema (including American cinema, to the extent that it participates in the global evolution of the medium), from its beginnings in the 1890s to post-World War II developments such as Italian Neorealism. 

Bollywood (Sen)
TTh 2:50-4:10PM; Screenings TBA
Course Description: India is the second most populous country in the world and has a cultural tradition that has evolved over 5,000 years. It is also the world’s largest film-producing nation, releasing over 900 films every year. Of these, approximately 200 films are made in Hindi in India’s film capital—Bombay. Driven by the growth and spread of the Indian diaspora in recent decades, the popular Bollywood has become a ubiquitous presence in theaters and film festivals across the globe. While remaining India’s most beloved art form, this cinema today is also India’s most visible and fascinating export. Bollywood remains an exceptional industry that has successfully resisted the onslaught of Hollywood films in the country of its birth. These and other factors have contributed in making academic exploration of Bombay cinema a relatively new, but extremely exciting field of study. What makes Hindi cinema different? How are such a staggering number of films made in India? How do these ‘song and dance’ movies challenge our perceptions of narrative forms? How do Bombay films negotiate the polarities of tradition and modernity? How do they bear the burden of postcoloniality? Despite the plethora of languages and cultures that comprise India, how does Hindi cinema maintain its hegemonic position both within the subcontinent and without? What is the status of Bollywood as a national cinema? These are some of the larger questions with which we will engage in this canopic overview.

Topics In World Cinema: Editing History and Theory (Fresko)
TTh 1:10-2:30PM; T 6:10-9:00PM
Course Description: “Editing: History and Theory.” Editing—the juxtaposition of images and sounds—has been widely understood to be the compositional foundation for a film’s construction. It is the means by which a narrative is sequence and arranged as well as a method for generating a host of perceptual effects in the mind’s eye of the spectator. This course will examine the history, theory, and multiple styles of editing that have informed cinematic practice from the medium's dawn at the end of the 19th century through the present. Moments in the history of editing to be studied will be so-called primitive cinema, Classical Hollywood continuity editing, the Soviet avant-garde, European art cinema, political modernist film, documentary film, various avant-garde movements, and the development of postproduction workflows in contemporary digital cinema. Readings will be rich and varied. Drawing extensively on film theory by Sergei Eisenstein, André Bazin, Gilles Deleuze, Annette Michelson, and others, we will extend the significance of editing beyond the splicing together of shots in order to highlight its constructive, analytical, affective, and ideological dimensions.

Adv Topics In World Cinema: French Cinema (Williams)
W 4:30-9:00PM               
NOTE: By permission only: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Course Description: "Politics, Gender, and Film Style in Classic French Cinema (1930-58)." Prerequisites:  World Cinema I, Intro to Film I, and permission of instructor.  Taught in seminar format:  students will do an oral presentation of their work and write a 10-12 page paper with a research component.

English-­Film Studies

Film Noir (Flitterman-Lewis)
TTh 2:50-4:10PM; W 6:10-9PM
Course Description: This course will consider the film noir- the hard-boiled detective thriller- in terms of gender, power, and sexuality. Whether it is seen as a genre (with a specific set of conventions regarding iconography, character types, plot motifs, and narrative organization) or a cycle of films (marked by a distinctive nocturnal visual style and a thematics of chaos and cynicism amplified by dramatic texutal effects), the single defining constant in the film noir is the female character, the femme fatale. The noir woman is encoded as threatening, dangerous and even deadly to the hero, no matter what specific action is developed in the narrative. Whether this takes the form of external social menace through murder and deceit, or psychological terror in which her very presence is threatening to the male, the femme fatale is primarily defined by her desireable but dangerous sexuality. Obviously, this suggests definitions of masculinity as well, and makes what is traditionally considered a "masculine" genre a privileged site for the examination of complex gender relations. We will view such classic film noirs as Double Indemnity, Gilda, The Maltese Falcon, Mildred Pierce, and Lady from Shanghai (among others) from the triple perspective of relations of gender, power and sexuality. Attendance at both lectures and weekly screenings is required; a midterm, a final, and a term paper.

Seminar: Film Theory (Flitterman-Lewis)
TTh 1:10-2:30PM; Th 6:10-9PM
SAS Core Code: Writing and Communication, Revision (WCr). Open only to English (350) and Cinema Studies (175) Majors and Minors
Course Description: Ever since the first public screening of motion pictures for a paying public took place (on December 28, 1895 in Paris), people have been asking the film-theoretical question "What is Cinema?" At the same time, they also asked—in different but precise ways—"What is Film Theory?" This seminar will attempt to answer both questions by looking at the work of different film theorists in relation to other critical approaches to the cinema (historical, biographical, literary-critical, etc.) to establish how each defines its object, how each conceives of cinematic specificity, and how each understands its critical traditions. We will read the major texts of film theory in conjunction with screenings of different films, from the theory of the cinematic text (Vampyr) and cinematic language (Breathless), to Soviet Montage (Strike) and theories of cinematic realism (Bicycle Thieves), symptomatic analyses of ideological production (Young Mr. Lincoln) and dream and the unconscious (Last Year at Marienbad and L'Atalante), to cinematic point of view (Notorious) and fascination (Irma Vep). Key terms: Theory of the cinematic text, textual analysis, the cinematic apparatus, cinema and ideology, feminist and psychoanalytic theory, semiotics, historical overview of film theory. One presentation, one midterm, one paper, and a final exam, with some short in-class writing.

English-Creative Writing (eligible for CS production credit)

Screenwriting for Film (Pearlstein)
W 9:50-12:50PM

Documentary Filmmaking For Writers (Haimowitz)
T 9:50-12:50PM

Mason Gross courses open to Cinema Studies students and eligible for CS production credit

(Contact Karina Daves for more information/special permission numbers: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


Advanced Cinematograph

Animation – 2D

(Please contact Karina Daves if you are interested in Web Filmmaking)

Film Festivals and Screenings

Cinema Studies in Action