Introduction to Cinema Studies | NFLM2400

NFLM2400 Introduction to Cinema Studies CRN: 1719

A 15 sessions. Mondays, beg. 8/30/2010 6:00pm–10:00pm

Professor John Freitas

Some scholars have suggested that because it’s so easy to enjoy movies, there is no such thing as “film illiteracy.” Yet literacy has many levels. In applying a literary analysis of narrative, characterization, and symbolism to film, we often neglect the cinema’s own language—the techniques filmmakers use to communicate with viewers. This course introduces basic concepts of cinematic communication: the shot and its relation to other shots in a sequence; the composition of shots, camera movement, editing, sound, and light that make up the design of a film; and the relationship between form and content. The aesthetic concerns are grounded in theoretical approaches: gestalt, formalist, realist, auteurist, semiotic, psychoanalytical, and feminist. Theory is understood as a richer and more exhilarating way of experiencing the movies. The class views and discusses a range of classic films (and excerpts from others) as students develop a cinematic vocabulary and the ability to read a film through critical analysis. Students also critique new, first-run features so that they can explore one another’s reactions to today’s commercial cinema.

The following films are screened: Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958), In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-Wai, 2000), Days of Heaven (Terrence Malick, 1978), Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955), Memento (Christopher Nolan, 2000), The Conversation (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974), Last Year at Marienbad (Alain Resnais, 1961), Salaam Bombay! (Mira Nair, 1988), Ugetsu Monogatari (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1953), Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989), The Conformist (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970), 3 Women (Robert Altman, 1977), Peeping Tom (Michael Powell, 1960), Sans toit ni loi aka Vagabond (Agnés Varda, 1985)and The Lady Eve (Preston Sturges, 1941). 3 credits