2007–2008 Film Studies Courses



Foundations of Film Literacy


This course examines the formal features of film and the ways they affect our interpretations and understanding. These include photography, editing, movement, sound, acting, and writing. This will provide a foundation for a deeper investigation of the elements of film in electives in the Film Studies program, for which it is a prerequisite.




History of American Cinema


This course surveys the historical development of film in the United States and its place in American culture, beginning with the earliest experiments in motion photography, through the silent era, the studio system and the influence of television. It examines the dominant genres such as comedy, musical, film noir, and western films. It explores the development of formal elements of film, including editing, sound, and color.




History of World Cinema


This course will examine the historical development of film in countries around the world, both within their cultures and as influences in international film culture. It will begin with the earliest experiments in montage and realism and include such critical genres as German Expressionism, Italian Neo-Realism, French New Wave, Japanese, and Indian cinema.




Special Topics


This is the general designation for film electives, which explore specific elements of film, film history, and interdisciplinary film studies. Courses include: Film Theory, Cinematography and Editing, National Cinemas, Documentary Film, Sociology of Popular Culture, Screenwriting, Film Genres, Narrative and Adaptation, and Race in Film.


Sample FILM 300 Courses




Documentary Film


This course is an overview of the forms and functions of unscripted film. It addresses the problems of objectivity, rhetoric, and the involvement of the filmmaker, and questions of discovering or imposing structure on recorded events. It will survey the uses of documentary to instruct, persuade, entertain, and effect social change, and examines the influences of culture on and by documentary films.


    Film Aesthetics (3)
This course will examine the elements of mise-en-scene, including camera position and movement, action, compositional weight, lighting, color, and space. It will examine the relationship between shots in sequences and the ways they communicate narrative, meaning, and effect. It will include a survey of sound editing.
    Film Theory (3)
A survey of the most important and influential theories of film, including semiotic, feminist, psychoanalytic, Marxist, and sociological. Students will read and discuss influential texts of film theory by leading theoreticians and film makers. The class will examine how films work, the psychology of spectatorship, the semiotics of film language, the sociology of cinema, and the cultural, historical contexts. Students will become familiar with the major concepts and language of film theory, and they will apply those concepts in viewing, discussing, and writing about selected films.
    Narrative and Adaptation (3)
Narrative & Adaptation: This course will examine the relationship between literature and film, with a special emphasis on narrative theory and practice. Students will study the various strategies employed by filmmakers adapting literary narratives into filmic treatments and explore the advantages and limitations imbedded in both mediums.
    Race and Film (3)
Explores how American films have depicted people of color and race relations from the early 20th century to the present. Subjects include white filmmakers’ versions of slavery, the Civil War, and contemporary social conditions; the “race films” of the 1930s and 1940s; and changes in racial portrayals during and after the Civil Rights movement.