FILM 221 - American Avant-Garde Film
Semester Offered: Spring
This course offers a survey of American avant-garde film in all its modes, ranging from experimental work like Jennifer Proctor’s Jen Proctor: A Movie, to surrealist-influenced documentary like Joshua Yates’s The Bags, to innovative narrative cinema like Agnes Varda’s Lions Love (…and Lies). While the course covers major avant-garde movements like mytho-poeticism and structuralism, it is organized thematically rather than chronologically. The course is divided into three units, each of which interrogates one of the terms in the title. The first unit explores films that expand our perception of what it means to be American and challenge received ideas about individual and collective identity. The second unit examines how the avant-garde constitutes itself both in opposition to commercial film and as its own industrial form. The third unit investigates film itself – how and why medium specificity and technology are important to these moving images. Assignments include an historical presentation, a short analytic essay, a take-home exam, and a final position paper on the future of the American avant-garde film. Erica Stein.
Prerequisite(s): FILM 175 or FILM 209, and permission of the instructor.
Corequisite(s): FILM 222.
Two 75-minute periods accompanied by film screenings.
Course Format: CLS
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