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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

Fall Semester information

Istvan Csicsery-Ronay

241A: Tps:Visual & Digital Narratives

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, and Latin America. We will focus on the science fiction film tradition and the social-historical contexts in which they emerged.

Spring Semester information

Michael Seaman

241A: Tps:The Ancient World in Film

The course examines modern cinematic and television depictions of the ancient world. Our analysis will be limited to ancient Greece, Rome, and early Christianity. We will investigate why the ancient world has been such a popular setting for many modern movies and why some people, events, works of literature, and themes from the ancient world have been depicted more often than others. We will analyze the accuracy of such depictions and compare Hollywood's version of events with the evidence given by the ancient historical sources, while examining how and why modern filmmakers diverge from "true" history. Lastly, we attempt to discern how the accuracy or inaccuracy of cinematic and television depictions of the ancient world is significant for the way in which they constitute "dialogues" between past and present and therefore tell us as much about ourselves as about the ancients whom they purport to depict.

Helis Sikk

241B: Tps:Queer Theory, Queer Lives

Andra Alvis

241C: Tps:Japanese Horror Films

Ghosts and demons and psychopaths--Oh my! Welcome to the world of classic Japanese horror... Each unit of the course focuses in depth on 1-2 seminal Japanese horror films from the last 60 years, films ranging from the cult classic Godzilla to the art house classic Onibaba. Taking these extraordinary and enjoyable films as our focus, we'll delve into crucial issues for the history, conventions, and production of Japanese horror cinema: for example, "Where did the ghosts typical of J-Horror originate?" and "How did WW II affect representations of demons, hell and insanity?" At the same time, however, we won't neglect to explore the many intriguingly quirky byways of horror film in Japan. (Think: "What special effects technology works best when creating a 100-year-old-umbrella monster?") Class work will involve: 1) regular quizzes on films/readings; 2) a midterm; and 3) your final group projects--a 2-3 minute Japanese-style horror video.