Jan 21, 2021  
Catalogue 2020-2021 
Catalogue 2020-2021
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FILM 392 - Research Seminar in Film History and Theory

Semester Offered: Fall and Spring
1 unit(s)
This course is designed as an in-depth exploration of a theoretical topic. Students contribute to the class through research projects and oral presentations. Their work culminates in lengthy research papers. Because topics change, students are permitted (encouraged) to take this course more than once. Preference is given to film majors who must take this class during their senior year; junior majors and others admitted if space permits.

Topic for 2020/21a: Film and History. How do we imagine and record history? Cinema is one of the major ways in which we visualize and internalize historical events and narratives. At the same time, cinema developed in part as a way to preserve everything that tends to escape history – the textures andrhythms of daily life. This course examines the relationship of film and history through two approaches. The first is history on film. In this unit we explore the wide variety of filmed historical fiction, from traditional costume dramas like Elizabeth (Kapur, 1998) to Brechtian-influenced, experimental work like Queer Edward II (Jarman, 1992). The second approach is film as history. In this unit we will deal with films that document daily life (Spare Time, Jennings, 1939) and those that reimagine lost histories through the lens of the quotidian (12:08 East of Bucharest, Porumboiu, 2006). A key consideration throughout is how films have used innovative aesthetic or generic approaches to negotiate historical events that resist normative representation. Assignments may include a short analysis paper on the historicist aesthetic, group presentations on the production histories and cultural impact of given films, discussion leadership, and a final research paper. Erica Stein. 

Topic for 2020/21b: Artist, Auteur: Spike Lee. The son of a musician and a teacher, Shelton Jackson Lee was born in Atlanta, Georgia. Nicknamed “Spike”, he grew up in a household that valued education as well as the arts. With the release of his first feature film, Lee initiated another cinematic revolution. He demonstrated to Hollywood studios that serious contemporary African-American films were not only aesthetically innovative, they were also commercially profitable. His success has created opportunity for other writers, directors, actors and technicians. Over the last twenty years Spike Lee has directed an array of challenging, innovative and provocative features, documentaries and commercials. The themes embedded in his work are often culled from news headlines, making him one of the most politically engaged filmmakers of his generation. This course is a senior seminar in which the films of Lee are rigorously examined. Mia Mask. 

Prerequisite(s): FILM 209 ; two additional units in film history and theory, and permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period plus outside screenings.

Course Format: CLS

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