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FILM 241

Topics in Film Cultures and Traditions

(may be cross-listed with ENG 255 or M L 164) This course offers intensive examination of specific issues in film cultures and traditions, often those at the center of current critical interest. Topics for this course are conceived broadly to encompass studies of national cinemas, specific directors, filmmaking practices, and specific genres. May be repeated for credit with a different topic.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

Spring Semester information

Istvan Csicsery-Ronay

241A: Tps:Global Science Fiction Cinema

Tps:Global Science Fiction Cinema

In this course we will study the neglected traditions of science fiction cinema outside the US production system. Science-fiction cinema is often considered among the most technically and visually innovative genres of film. It has historically been the laboratory for new technologies of sound, special effects, and set design, as well as narratives about the relationship between social life and technological transformation. Although the US has been the primary and most influential producer of science fiction films, major works have been produced in other countries. As globalization extends to more and more societies, science fiction film has become one of its major artforms. In this course we will study films from Russia and Eastern Europe, Great Britain, France, India, Japan, China, and Latin America. We will focus on the science fiction film tradition and the social-historical contexts in which they emerged.


Inge Aures

241B: Tps:The Holocaust & Exile Experience in Film

The Holocaust and Exile Experience in Film

Films and images can have a powerful impact and shape the viewers' perspective of past (and current) events. This also holds true for films about the Holocaust--be they based on real or fictional events. In this course we will analyze a wide variety of films that center on life under the Nazis, the horrors of the concentration camps, resistance to the Nazis, the life of exiles who fled Nazi Germany, and how Germany and the Germans dealt with the legacy of the Holocaust. What do these films want to accomplish? What filmic devices do the film makers employ? What is the films' relation to reality? Can we rely on these images as a "truthful" depiction of the past? Are these "accurate" portrayals of life at that time, or do these films create a new reality? How do these films appeal to our emotions? What role does "art" play in these films? Does a film maker who produces a film about the Holocaust have a different responsibility than a film maker who chooses a different topic? Can the films help us to better understand this dark period in history or do they trivialize the experience of the victims?

Please Note: This course will satisfy the "S"-requirement. It is cross-listed with Modern Languages and will count towards a minor in World Literature, European Studies and Jewish Studies.


Ronald Dye

241C: Tps:Theatre, Culture and Society: Shakespeare On Film

Theatre, Culture and Society: Shakespeare On Film

Students will examine, analyze and discuss film and modern stage adaptations of several plays by William Shakespeare, along with the original play texts. The films and plays will be considered in their historical cultural contexts, and will include adaptations which are fairly "literal" or straightforward, as well as "free adaptations" which diverge widely from or only reference the original texts. Students will write critical response papers and will complete a final research paper to fulfill the "W" component of the course.


Marina Guseva

241D: Tps:Russia Through Film


Fall Semester information

Cheira Belguellaoui

241B: Tps: Contemporary Women Filmmakers in France

A broad introduction to the works of contemporary French women directors (both established and emerging) through the lens of feminist film theory. Please note that all films are subtitled.


Istvan Csicsery-Ronay

241C: Tps Film Cultures & Trad: Visual and Digital Narratives


Ronald Dye

241D: Tps Film Cultures & Trad: The Musical Quest on Film


Sherry Mou

241E: Tps: From Confucius to Kung-fu

What does kung-fu mean? Did Confucius know kung-fu? How is gun-fu related to kung-fu? Through close examination, reading, and analysis of thirteen Chinese films and an assortment of readings on Confucianism and Taoism, we will investigate the world of Chinese knight-errantry. We will look at the philosophical orientations, world views, aesthetic features, and cultural motivations that produced what is broadly known as the kung-fu film genre, which for more than half a century has captured the imagination and interest of many Chinese and Western audiences. These films show how the rituals, spectacle, moral values, and social practices fostered in traditional theatre and in real life are re-presented on screen. We will trace the origins of important cultural traditions and ideas embedded in the kung-fu films, look at how they transform into action movies, and explore how the original ideas associated with knight-errantry are presented through various cultural signs, symbols, language, and codes of behavior.


Karin Wimbley

241F: Tps: New York Auteurs: Martin Scorcese and Spike Lee

Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee are both life-long New Yorkers, born and raised. Moreover, New York City often plays a title role in each director's aesthetic praxis and cinematic vision. Through the lens of auteur theory, this W-course examines the cinema of Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee. What is distinct about each director's style of filmmaking? How do race, gender, and ethnicity inform their creative vision(s) and cinematic praxis? What are the similarities and differences between their respective renderings of national belonging? Films we will explore include Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Age of Innocence, She's Gotta Have It, Inside Man, and Do the Right Thing, to name a few.