Art History 4: Introduction to Film Study.



LECTURE AND SCREENING SCHEDULE:

First class: (September 26) Introduction.

1. (October 1-3) Early Cinema

Screening:
Lumière Brothers early films (incl. Train Entering the Station, Waterer Watered, ); George Meliès films (incl. Trip to the Moon, Conquest of the North Pole);
Edison films (in class, incl. Spanish American War films and others).
(NB: For more details of this screening, click here.)


Lectures:
Introduction to course and concepts, basic terminology. Pre-history of cinema; early cinema technologies; the “cinema of attractions;” cinema and empire.

Readings:
Bordwell and Thompson, Chapter One, “Mechanics of the Movies,” 2-8; “Early Cinema,” 400-02.
Kristen Whissel, “Uncle Tom, Goldilocks, and the Rough Riders: Early Cinema’s Encounter with Empire.” Screen 40 (1999): 384-404.
Gunning, Tom. “The Cinema of Attractions: Early Film, its Spectator, and the Avant-Garde.” Early Cinema: Space, Frame, Narrative. Ed. Thomas Elsaesser. London: BFI, 1990, 56-62.
“Film, Form, and Culture” (CD-ROM): Introduction.

Recommended:
Kolker, Chapter 1.

2. (October 8-10) The shot and mise-en-scene

Screening:
The Last Laugh
, dir. F.W. Murnau, 1924. (91min)

Lectures:
Introduction to the shot and mise-en-scene; German expressionism and modernism; construction of cinematic space.

Readings:
Bordwell and Thompson, Chapter Six, “The Shot: Mise-en-Scene,” 156-84; “German Expressionism,” 406-08.
“Film, Form, and Culture” (CD-ROM): Mise-en-scene; Genre (German Expressionism).

Recommended:
Kolker 36-38; 52-62; 186-88

3. (October 15-17) The beginnings of classical cinema

Paper 1 due 7pm, October 16 (at screening).

Screening:
The Life of an American Fireman,dir. Edwin S. Porter, 1902.
The Great Train Robbery
, dir. Edwin S. Porter, 1903. (10min)
The Lonedale Operator, dir. D.W. Griffith (10min).
The General, dir. Buster Keaton (80min).

Lectures: Early film narrative; the beginnings of classical cinema; cross-cutting, narrative, and suspense.

Readings: Bordwell and Thompson, Chapter One, “Bringing the Film to the Spectator,” 8-14; Chapter Three, “Narrative as a Formal System,” 59-76; “The Development of the Classical Hollywood Cinema,” 402-06.

Recommended:
Kolker 18-26.

4. (October 22-24) Other early models: Soviet Montage

Screening:
Battleship Potemkin
, dir. Sergei Eisenstein, 1925. (67min)

Lectures:
Soviet montage; alternatives to continuity editing; the shot; dialectical materialism.

Readings:
Bordwell and Thompson, “Soviet Montage,” 412-15; Chapter Eight, “The Relation of Shot-to-Shot Editing,” 249-62; “Alternatives to Continuity Editing,” 278-90.
“Film, Form, and Culture” (CD-ROM): Montage.

Recommended:
Kolker 44-52.

5. (October 29-31) Classical Hollywood Cinema I

Screening:
Stagecoach, dir. John Ford, 1939. (100min)

Lectures:
Classical cinema, ideology, and genre (the western); continuity editing; auteur theory; race, colonialism, and Hollywood film.

Reading:
Bordwell and Thompson, Chapter One, “Making the Movie: Film Production,” 14-28; Chapter Two, “Film Form,” 39-56; Chapter Three, “Narrative as a Formal System,” 76-78; Chapter Eight, “Continuity Editing,” 262-78.
McBride, Joseph and Michael Wilmington. John Ford. 1974. New York: Da Capo, 1975. 53-62.
Cawelti, John G. “Savagery, Civilization, and the Western Hero.” Focus on the Western. Ed. Jack Nachbar. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1974. 57-63.
“Film, Form, and Culture” (CD-ROM): Continuity Editing.

Recommended:
Kolker, 26-34; 38-42; 61-83; 153-60; 183-85.

6. (November 5-7) Classical Hollywood Cinema II

Screening:
Gilda, dir. Charles Vidor, 1946. (110min)

Midterm exam: In regular lecture time and location, Wednesday November 7, 11am-12.15pm.

Lectures:
Genre (noir); cinematography; star discourses; feminist film theory, gender, and sexuality (the gaze, femme fatale).

Reading:
Bordwell and Thompson, Chapter Seven, “Cinematography,”193-248; Chapter Four, “Genre,” 94-109.
Dyer, Richard. “Resistance through Charisma: Rita Hayworth and Gilda,” Women in Film Noir, ed. E. Ann Kaplan, Rev. ed, London: BFI, 1998: 115-22.
“Film, Form, and Culture” (CD-ROM): Camera; Lighting; Genre (Film Noir).

Recommended:
Kolker, Chapter 4; 153-57; 185-195.

7. (November 12-14) French Cinema and the New Wave

Screening
A Bout de Souffle (Breathless), dir. Jean-Luc Godard, 1960. (100min)

Lectures:
French new wave; international responses to Hollywood cinema; narrative alternatives to Hollywood; non-continuity within continuity; the avant-garde; experimental cinema.

Reading:
Bordwell and Thompson, Chapter Eleven, “Narrative Alternatives to Classical Filmmaking,” 366-71; “The French New Wave,” 419-22; Chapter Five, “Experimental Film,”128-44.
Wollen, Peter. “Godard and Counter Cinema: Vent d’Est.” Readings and Writings: Semiotic Counter-Strategies. London: Verso, 1982:79-91.

Recommended:
Kolker 196-206.

8. (November 19-21) New Hollywood Cinema and Feminist Theory:

Screening:
Strange Days, dir. Kathryn Bigelow, 1995. (122min)

Lectures:
Hollywood post-studio system; genre (sci-fi); feminist film theory, auteur theory, postmodernism.

Reading:
Bordwell and Thompson, Chapter One, “Modes of Production,” 29-34; Chapter Ten, “The Concept of Style,” 327-32; Chapter Twelve, “The New Hollywood and Independent Filmmaking,” 422-25.
Corrigan, Timothy. “Auteurs and the New Hollywood.” The New American Cinema. Ed. Jon Lewis. Durham: Duke UP, 1998. 38-63.
“Film, Form, and Culture” (CD-ROM): Point of View; The Long Take.

Recommended:
Kolker 83-112.

THANKSGIVING BREAK, NOVEMBER 22-NOVEMBER 25.

9. (November 26-28) Non-fiction film and documentary

Screening:
Times of Harvey Milk, dir. Robert Epstein, 1984. (87min)

Paper 2 due 7pm, November 27 (at screening).

Lectures:
The non-fiction film; documentary practices; the construction of history; gay and lesbian film-making.

Reading:
Bordwell and Thompson, Chapter Five, “Documentary,” 110-28.
Waugh, Thomas. “Walking on Tippy Toes: Lesbian and Gay Liberation Documentary of the Post-Stonewall Period, 1969-1984.” The Fruit Machine: Twenty Years of Writing on Queer Cinema. Durham: Duke UP, 246-71.

Recommended:
Kolker 162-70.

10. (December 3-5) International cinemas

Screening:

Chungking Express [Chongqing Senlin], dir. Wong Kar-Wai, 1994. (

Lectures:
Hong Kong cinema; postcolonialism; transnationality and cultural identity; the national cinema paradigm and its problems; postmodernism; film sound.

Reading:
Bordwell and Thompson, Chapter Nine “Sound in the Cinema,” 291-315.
Abbas, Ackbar. Hong Kong: Culture and the Politics of Disappearance. Public Worlds 2. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1997. 11-29, 48-49, 54-58.
“Film, Form, and Culture” (CD-ROM): Sound and Music.

11. Exam Week

Final exam: Wednesday December 12, 8.30am-11.30am, Annenberg.

NB: Please note that this syllabus is subject to change during the semester. Any changes will be announced in class and by electronic means.

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