Fall 2021 Offerings
This course examines cinema as a technology, mass medium, business, entertainment, art form, and cultural product. First we will explore the origins of the motion picture, then narrative and narration, performance, mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing, and sound. Next, we’ll look at a specific Hollywood genre, how it has changed over time, and why. Finally, we will examine documentary and avant-garde cinema. This course is about the analysis of cinema in its many forms, and an exploration of culture through an audiovisual medium.
Meetings: Wedesdays 9:00am - 12:20pm OR Fridays 12:40pm - 4pm
Separate discussion required, see PROWL for times
A historical and aesthetic introduction to how television, video games and content developed for the web use and transform the elements of film language to shape and reflect cultural values and attitudes, especially as they have to do with representations of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, class, faith and religion, and disabilities.
Meetings: Monday 1:00pm - 4:00pm OR Wednesday 6:30pm - 9:20pm OR Wednesday 12:40pm - 3:30pm
A critical and historical survey of the major developments, trends, movements, personalities, and aesthetic innovations in World Cinema from the beginning of film to 1955.
Meetings: Wednesday 12:40pm - 4:00pm
This course is a critical and historical survey of the major developments, trends, movements, personalities, and aesthetic innovations in World Cinema from 1955 to 1990. You may expect screenings, lectures, class discussion, essays, journal entries, exams, and a final project.
Meetings: Monday 9:00am - 12:20pm Monday OR 12:40pm - 4:00pm OR Friday 9:00am - 12:20pm
Without a doubt, television is a powerful medium. It can reflect and shape values, help construct identities (personal, familial, cultural and national), teach us about the world and our place in it, and bring people together. Many of our attitudes about family, school, romance, gender roles, marriage, work, class, and ethnicity are shaped and informed by what we watch on television. At a timewhen movies seem to have lost their artistic and narrative vision, television has become the place to find innovative stories told in ways that not only push the medium but influence other media. But what is this thing called television? How has it changed over time, from its beginnings in radio to the internet age? How do we watch it? How do we talk and write about it critically and thoughtfully as consumers and as scholars? Further, the explosion of social media and YouTube (and the rest) culture has created new challenges to traditional television –both for the good and bad. Finally, massive upheavals are happeningall over the entertainment industry, with shifting demographics and audience patterns. Understanding what is going on in the context of what happened in the past is the best way to plan for the future.
Instructor: Dan Watanabe
Meeting: Thursday 12:40pm - 4:00pm
This class traces the history and development of documentary film, video and digital media. Focus will be on the evolution of non-fiction forms with special regard to issues of subject matter and style, truth vs. reality, politics and justice, identity and ethics.
The form has been shaped (and continues to be re-shaped) by technological advances, cultural shifts and upheavals as well as the vagaries of the ever-changing marketplace. Over the years it has influenced fiction filmmaking while simultaneously adapting fictive story-telling techniques for its own purposes.
As students gain an overview of the history and ongoing re-invention of the genre they will hone their own critical and analytic skills through screenings, discussion and essay writing.
Meetings: Wednesday 6:30pm - 9:00pm
Engages critical perspectives and discussions of current movies and media, joined frequently by classroom encounters with filmmakers themselves as well as actors, writers, producers and others engaged in contemporary media creation. Practical discussions of the creative process plus examinations of current professional trends are a focus; aesthetic analysis is a regular weekly feature. Professor Greene is a working TV producer and documentary filmmaker, and will also draw on his own professional experience to delve deeply and specifically into the projects presented and the topics raised.
Faculty Ray Greeene
Meetings: Tuesday 7:20pm - 10:10pm
Our focus this semester will be on investigating video games as technology, a form of immersive and interactive storytelling, an industry, a socio-cultural and ethical artifact and, above all, as play. Of course, studying games from a theoretical perspective in an academic setting raises all sorts of challenges, foremost of which is how to study games? How do we examine something that is meant to be played? How do we create and maintain critical awareness when the whole point is to play a game? What theoretical frameworks do we use and what questions do we ask that recognize the specificity of video games as games meant to be played and yet are also highly cinematic and story driven? Is it possible to study games as we do other cultural texts, looking at the ways they shape, reflect, and carry values, or engage in issues of race, ethnicity, class, nationality, gender and gender identity, sexuality, and other categories of difference? Can games be used to effect social changes? What does it mean to speak of gamers as moral and ethical beings and games as ethical-moral story worlds? This course is designed to raise, if not answer, some of these questions while providing a framework for analyzing games as technology, industry, play, story, and art.
Faculty: Dr. Sue Scheibler
Meetings: Wednesday, 4:10pm - 7:00pm
How have digital media technologies integrated scientific methodologies into our everyday lives? How have the unique capacities of digital media, capable of quantifying and recording a range of information not limited to location and vital signs, influenced emerging medical and scientific research? This course examines how the rise of digital technologies are reshaping our understanding of health and science today. Science, Medicine and Digital Media explores popular digital media, including smartphones, apps, websites, wearables, and digital documentaries to explore how the language, visual culture, and methodologies of science and medicine are framed through our digital world. Specifically, the course will focus on the relationship between bodies and digital technologies to examine how emerging media are shaping the way we understand scientific and medical authority and its impact on our perception of health and wellness. In other words, this class explores “feeling healthy” through digital media. Over the course of the semester, students will have the opportunity to engage with various health, science, and fitness related digital devices and systems, including a multi-week project using Fitbits. Topics include: digital documentaries, wearables, mHealth apps, WebMD, crowdsourced medicine, the digital wellness industry, VR and fitness, and online self-help and positive psychology.
Meetings: Tuesdays, 12:40pm - 4:00pm
Women in Film (FTVS 3300) explores a fascinating and timely subject in a variety of contexts: how women are portrayed and represented in film in a larger historical and cultural context. We can learn a great deal about a particular society through the ways in which its women are represented. In this course, we will study a range of groundbreaking, compelling and intelligently made films that encourage you to look at and think about cinematic women in new and challenging ways. The following dynamics will be explored: women and patriarchy, mothers and daughters, mothers and sons, fathers and daughters, female friendships, wives and husbands, women and work. Selected films from Europe, Australia, Africa, Latin America and Hollywood will be studied.
Meetings: Tuesdays, 12:40pm - 4:00pm
Without official training, limited funds, and limited access to gear, artists and musicians began creating media and forming punk rock communities on their own terms.Outside of the mainstream industries of music and filmthey created abreadth of video art, music videos, documentaries, and narrative films created by makers, rooted in truly independent cinema. Punk Cinemais critical and historical survey of films documenting the visual and musical influences influenced by the punk rock ethos on DIY and no budget filmmaking from the 1970’s to present. We will explore the aesthetics and ideologies of a ‘no rules’ filmmakingpractices that often ignore industry standard practices. The class will also explore the social, political, and economic pressures of the times that led to this underground explosion.
Faculty: Sharon Mooney
Meetings: Tuesdays, 12:40pm - 3:40pm
Objectives: Students will examine in depth American Film from 1960 to 1977, a period of great change and experimentation. With the decline of the old studio system this was arguably the period of greatest innovation and experimentation in American Film. The class will examine the way in which the social upheaval of the times influenced the groundbreaking films of this period. The course will examine in detail the key film movements of this period: the waning of the studio system and the classical style, the influence of European film, the rise of thelive television directors, the new film school generation, the rise of realism and location shooting,and the loosening of restrictions on language and adult content The class will also explore the way that political and social movements (civil rights,the cold war, Vietnam, the sexual revolution, rock music, the new frontier of space, black power, the women’s movement, Watergate) influenced the content, mood, and style of these films. Finally, the course will explore the waning of this period of experimentation and the rise of the blockbuster that culminated in StarWars(1977). Learning Outcomes: Students will be able to articulate the complex styles and themes of American auteurs of this period who helped to reshapeAmerican and World Cinema. Students will be able to analyze their impact on contemporary American Cinema.
Faculty: Dr. Richard Hadley Jr.
Meetings: Thursdays 4pm - 6:50pm
Objectives: Students will examine in depththe films and film-making style of manyof cinemas most importantFrench New Waveauteurs. Emphasiswill be placed on innovations in film style and storytelling that represented a radical stylistic break from Hollywood models. Studentswill studythe French New Wave and innovations in style: use of natural sound, light-weight cameras, non-professionalactorsand real locations (particularly the streets of Paris). We will also explore how this style influenced World Cinema.Students will analyze and define each director’s visual styleand themes(Truffaut,Godard, Varda, Demy, Chabrol, Rivette).Learning Outcomes: Students will be able to articulate in detail the complex themes, and visual and narrative styles of these French New Waveauteurs who have reshaped American and world cinema and influenced contemporary filmmakersas varied as Quentin Tarantino, Woody Allen, the Coen Brothers, Wes Anderson, Noah Bombeck, and Martin Scorsese. To increase students’ awareness of the complexities and possibilitiesof narrative and visual story-tellling.
Faculty: Dr. Richard Hadley Jr.
Meetings: Mondays, 4:00pm - 6:50pm
This class provides a thorough introduction to Indian cinema. We will focus in particular on the history and transformation of post-independence Bombay cinema—produced out of Bombay, India’s film capital. The goal will be to develop a solid understanding of Bombay Cinema’s key features: its aesthetics, styles of production and systems of address—including songs and this cinema’s unique idioms of realism (emotional, technological & artistic).
The first half of the course glances at the 1950s as the era of an aesthetic and social peak, often termed the “golden” era of Bombay cinema. In turn, we will consider the formation of art cinema and its impact on the history of film in India, from the 1960s through the early 80s.
The second half of the semester turns to the rise of Bombay cinema as a commercial form of entertainment that offers characteristic, terrific audience pleasures, and how such enjoyment can work in tandem with, or against larger economic and political forces. The semester ends with a consideration of Bombay Cinema’s transformation into a mass medium and its recent cultural makeover into Bollywood as a global brand.
Meetings: Thursdays, 12:40pm - 4:00pm
Television and theatrical filmmaking are two vastly differentprocesses which are often conflated as if they are the same thing. The truth is that theatrical presentation is immersive and overwhelming, oneis literally gazing at the image with rapt attention. Television, on the other hand, is predominately viewed in a lighted space in one’s home, where only partial attention is focused on the image and sound. The material is therefore often secondary to the distractions of life. This is called “glance” mode. This course examines how filmmakers who come from one of these platforms adapt to the other. Some, like Alfred Hitchcock, began in theatrical yet found the television medium rather liberating. Others, like Steven Spielberg, started their careers on television and used that more intimate format to transform the theatrical experience. More recently, director Ava Duvernay showcased her own ability to adapt her messaging and storytelling between theatrical and streaming content. This aspect is not limited to the United States or even the Western world. As an example, while Ingmar Bergman showed that his most accessible work was his television dramas, Japanese filmmakers Kinoshita Keisuke and Fukusaku Kinji showed that for them, moving between platforms was easy given the different expectations of the Asian marketplace. Third world cinema continues to astonish with its assertive narratives that defy colonial expectations. This course’s primary objective is to bring the different means of communication into focus, and explore how filmmakers tailor their message toits ultimate “highest and best” means of distribution.
Instructor: Dan Watanabe
Meetings, 9am - 11:50am
Pedro Almodóvar’s career spans an impressive four decades and twenty-two feature films (1980 – present). During this time, he has transitioned from underground filmmaker to luminary of global cinema. His movies, instantly recognizable both in their style and narrative proclivities, provide a rich study in auteurism. His filmmaking was revolutionary in its depiction of LGBTQ characters and has, throughout the ongoing decades, maintained its commitment to presenting strong female characters and stories driven by aspirations of freedom and justice – all while dressed up in Chanel and Prada. In recognition of his contributions to the art of cinema, he has been invited to curate an exhibit for the inauguration of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures (Fall 2021). The semester will be subdivided into his early, mid-career, and more recent work and will include films/works that have been influential to the director. Expect lectures, class discussions, journal entries, and a final project.
Faculty: Dr. Carla Marcantonio
Tuesday 4:00pm - 6:50pm
This course examinesthe intersection of the horror genre and reproductive health. Since the 1970s and 80s, feminist film scholars have drawn upon the tools of psychoanalysis and ideology critique to examine the representation of women’s bodies in mainstream cinema, particularly the increasingly graphic depictions of sex and violence found in the horror genre. Out of this body of work, Barbara Creed developed the concept of the “monstrous feminine” to describe how the genre figures the sexual and reproductive body as monstrous. Since then, the term has been taken up by feminist health scholars to describe both medical and popular understandings of the reproductive body. This course will explore the intersection of these two bodies of work by focusing on how the central affects of the horror genre—disgust, abjection, the fantastic, and uncanny—become attached to critical stages of sexual and reproductive development. Moving through puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and motherhood, the course will pair films with works of feminist health studies to examine how the genre reinforces gendered understandings of the body, health, and sexuality. Films include: The Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby, Halloween, Carrie, The Hunger, Raw, It Follows, and The Babadook.
Content Warning: Horroris a genre that seeks to terrify, disgust, shock, and alarm its viewers. As such, it often features graphic displays of violence, sex, and gore. Throughout the quarter we will be interrogating our responses to these film, using the viewing experience as acentral entry point into our discussion of gender and sexuality. Many of the films featured on the syllabus are controversial and include content that is too difficult to watch in some cases.You will always be able to opt out of a screening and if you’d like a full list of films noting controversial content, please feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Faculty: Dr. Mikki Kressbach
Meeting: Wednesdays 4:30pm - 7:30pm
This course investigates the ways that time-based media (movies, TV shows, and video games) use time to think about time. We examine a variety of media texts through a variety of lenses (philosophical, theological, ethical, and scientific) as well as media and disabilities studies in order to think through the question of what it means to be time beings.
Meetings: Thursdays, 4:10pm - 7:00pm
This course provides acomprehensive examination of anime, or Japanese animation, today as a popular mass medium that has captured a worldwide audience. The first part of the course will cover the history of anime, from the earliest works of individual artists in the silent period, to the development of the studio system, television anime, and the globalizing industry of today. Next, we will explore major themes of important works that reflect upon Japan and its connection to a broader transnational cinema culture. Such topics include: tradition vs. modernity, family and gender roles, apocalyptic visions, technology, fan cultures, and the power of myth.
Faculty: Prof. Ken Provencher
Tuesdays 4:00pm - 7:00pm
Using interdisciplinary, comparative approaches, this course focuses on a corpus of films made in Europe since the 1990s often classified as “border films,” “transnational films,” or “migration films.” Students explore how social, ethnic and national identities are being contested or renegotiated on European screens in the global era. We examine how narratives of transnational migration, exile, and displacement can contribute to the making and unmaking of borders and cast light on the challenges and opportunities of living in an increasingly diverse society.
Faculty: Prof. Aine O'Healy
Meetings: Wednesday, 9:00am - 12:00pm
This seminar traces the history of television from the last days of radio, through the Golden Age of TV, to today's cable and Internet.
Graduate SFTV majors only.
Meetings: Wednesdays, 12:40pm - 3:30pm OR Thursdays, 4:00pm - 6:50pm
This course maps the transformations of American independentcinemafrom the watershed year of 1989 to our contemporary moment. Once considered a type of American filmmaking produced independently of the dominant established U.S. film industry and outside mainstream cinemapractices, these films tended to be more avant-garde and even if not overtly experimental, often gave an alternative voice to dominant ideology.But since the 1990s the industrial culture of American independentcinemahas changed and has been subsumed by Hollywood as it has become a reliable revenue stream for the mainstream film industry as an expanding apparatus of institutional and financial support from major studios allowed the indie to move within and outside the traditional art-house circuit to ensure that it too can be a $100 million blockbusterfilm.Examining many of its more commercially successful iterations this course will explore the shifting parameters of formal innovation, auteurship, subversion, postmodernism and taste that gird modern American independentcinemaas the cultural formation around these films continues to adapt and change to meet industrial standards and audience expectationS.
SFTV Grads Only
Faculty Dr. Gloria Shin
Meetings: Wednesdays, 9:00am - 11:50am
Cinema has long been a vehicle for the expression, construction, and interrogation of personal and collective identity. The twentieth and twenty-first centuries have seenpolitical struggles around identity—racial, national, sexual, and beyond—come to thefore of global thought and global politics. At the same time, changes in mediatechnology have allowed artists and critics to conceive of, and experiment with,subjectivity andrepresentation in vastly new ways. In this class, we will move through anumber of cinematic and critical explorations of the self to consider the rich andentangledrelationship between cinema and identity.In spite of their vastly different historical and cultural contexts, the films we will exploreshare an interest in the connections between the personal and the political, betweenintimate experiences—memory, family, romance—and the broader structures andsystems that shape the course of individual lives. How have debates around what itmeans to “be asubject”—to identify or disidentify with one’s circumstances, body,and communitymanifested themselves in films around the world?
Faculty: Emma Benayoun
Meetings: Wednesday, 12:40pm - 3:30pm