Monday and Wednesday, 12:50 pm - 2:50 pm
Web address for this page:
On Blackboard, log in to: "Introduction to Film Fall 2013 (English 2450/Communications 2010, section 5)(COMBINED)."
5057 Woodward, Room 9309
Office hours: Tuesday 10 am - 12 noon, and by appointment
This class offers an introduction to the study of film. First, we will look at the film experience as a whole. Then, we will take a detailed look at the major formal elements of film (mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing, and sound). Finally, we will put these elements back together again, in order to consider how film narrative works as a whole, and to look at some of the major types of films (genres).
LEARNING OUTCOME: Students will learn how to understand and interpret the basic formal elements of film.
I have not ordered a textbook for this class, because all the available textbooks are excessively expensive. Instead, the lectures will be supplemented by three Concept Guides, giving definitions of key terms in Mise-en-scene, Cinematography, and Editing. These Concept guides will be made available on Blackboard. Lecture slides for each lecture will be available on Blackboard as well. For each film, the online syllabus includes a link to a page listing the director and main actors, and giving some study suggestions and questions for the film.
Some classes will be devoted to the screening of full-length feature films. Other classes will consist of lecture and discussion. Each lecture will be accompanied by a slide presentation and some short film clips. The aim of each lecture/discussion will be twofold: to analyze the films that we have seen, and to discuss more general concepts important for the critical understanding of film.
Many of the films we will watch are old ones, made in the years between 1924 and 1982. Though the class does not survey the history of film in any detail, one of its aims is to introduce you to older films that you may not have seen before, including silent films. black-and-white films, and films in foreign languages (shown with English subtitles). One of the aims of the course is to make you more aware of the variety of film art over the past century. We will also see some recent films in the course of the semester, and a number of recent music videos; one of our tasks will be to consider how these recent films are similar to, and different from, older ones.
Class requirements include regular attendance, participation in discussions, and five short assigned papers (approximately 800 words each). Each assigned paper will count for 20% of your grade. Points may be deducted for non-attendance and for late papers. Points may be added for positive participation in class discussions.
Screening: Alfred Hitchcock, Rear Window (1954)
Lecture: The film experience
Discussion of Rear Window
Screening: Josef von Sternberg, The Scarlet Empress (1934)
Lecture: Mise-en-scene (1)
Discussion of The Scarlet Empress
Screening: Ridley Scott, Blade Runner(1982)
Lecture: Mise-en-scene (2)
Discussion of Blade Runner
Screening: Jean Renoir, Grand Illusion (1937)
Lecture: Cinematography (1)
Discussion of Grand Illusion
FIRST PAPER DUE (MISE-EN-SCENE)
Screening: Orson Welles, Touch of Evil (1958)
Lecture: Cinematography (2)
Discussion of Touch of Evil
Screening: Sergei Eisenstein, Battleship Potemkin (1925)
Screening: John Ford, Stagecoach (1939)
Lecture: Editing (1)
Discussion of Battleship Potemkin
Lecture: Editing (2): The Continuity System
Discussion of Stagecoach
SECOND PAPER DUE (CINEMATOGRAPHY)
Screening: Tony Scott, Domino (2005)
Lecture: Editing (3): Other Editing Styles
Discussion of Domino
Screening: Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, Singin' in the Rain (1952)
Lecture: Film Sound (1)
Discussion of Singin' in the Rain
Screening: Francis Ford Coppola, The Conversation (1974)
Lecture: Film Sound (2)
Discussion of The Conversation
THIRD PAPER DUE (EDITING)
Screening: Billy Wilder, Double Indemnity (1944)
Screening: Roman Polanski, Chinatown (1974)
Lecture: Film Genres: Film Noir and Crime Films
Discussion of Double Indemnity and Chinatown
Screening: Rian Johnson, Brick (2005)
FOURTH PAPER DUE (FILM SOUND)
November 25: NO CLASS
Screening: Harmony Korine, Spring Breakers (2013)
Lecture: Crime films today
Discussion of Brick, and Spring Breakers
Final Class: Summary on crime films, and discussion of music videos
MONDAY, DECEMBER 16
FIFTH PAPER DUE
The Writing Center (2nd floor, UGL) provides individual tutoring consultations free of charge for students at Wayne State University. Undergraduate students in General Education courses receive priority for tutoring appointments. The Writing Center serves as a resource for writers, providing tutoring sessions on the range of activities in the writing process: considering the audience, analyzing the assignment or genre, brainstorming, researching, writing drafts, revising, editing, and preparing documentation. The Writing Center is not an editing or proofreading service; rather, students are guided as they engage collaboratively in the process of academic writing, from developing an idea to editing for grammar and mechanics. To make an appointment, consult the Writing Center website:
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For more information about the Writing Center, please contact the Director, Jule Wallis (phone: 7-2544; email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
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