English 230.01 Introduction to Film Studies                                           Fall 2015                             
Dr. Stephan Flores (sflores@uidaho.edu)                                                   
11am-12:15pm TR   TLC 223                                                               
http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/~sflores/                                                  English Department: 885-6156
Office hours: W 2:30pm-4:00 p.m. & by appt.                                            Office: Brink 125

See the following weblink to my always expanding list of compelling films as well as others' lists of highly regarded films

Prerequisite: English 102 or equivalent.

Note: always refer to the online version of the course description/syllabus because some aspects may be updated over the course of the semester.

Required Text and also required subscription to HuluPlus for online streaming access to movies, including films in the Criterion collection:

Corrigan, Timothy, and Patricia White. The Film Experience: An Introduction, Fourth Edition, & LaunchPad Solo Six Month Access (Boston and New York: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2015) --ISBN for bundle that includes free six-month access to LaunchPadSolo site that includes video clips etc.--LaunchPad is bundled for 'free' only with the following ISBN for a specific version/text of The Film Experience: 1319026869 If you rent the text, then you may need to arrange (via bookstore?) to purchase the access code to LaunchPad separately.

You will need to subscribe to HuluPlus: Subscription access to films streaming online at Hulu site via HuluPlus (appears that you can subscribe via link that I will send to you by email, to include two weeks for free, then plan to subscribe for at least two to three additional months to cover most of the semester, at $7.99 per month. HuluPlus gives you access to many films/shows, including films in The Criterion Collection that we will be viewing/studying. For example, see this link to HuluPlus at the Criterion site.

Other PDF documents (including scholarly articles/essays/additional video clips on many of our films) in folders/course Bblearn site.

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Course Description: In this class we will begin to explore the fascinations of film studies, to include cultural and historical contexts of film, formal compositions and components of film (such as mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing, film sound), the narrative and organizational structures of film--from stories to genres--critical perspectives on film theories and methods--all this will entail substantial reading about film, attentive weekly viewing of films in class and via online streaming, discussions, and critical analysis of film through sequenced-scaffolded writing assignments. These studies--our work over the semester--are to enable you to develop strengths in understanding film studies, and I expect for many of us, to foster a lifelong deep enjoyment and keen sense of the pleasures and power and wide-ranging significance of movies in our lives and an open future and past of wondrous discoveries yet to come.

Written work includes ten Inquiry-Starter entries on Bblearn, a Shot Analysis Chart with a Sequence Analysis, and a Critical Analysis Essay.The pace of reading/writing/viewing is challenging--plan to cover all the readings and accompanying online video clips (LaunchPad--once you use the access code and register, then simply enter the course, and open the corresponding 'chapter' from our text, so that you can view video clips, review summaries of the chapter, and consider discussion questions and even quizzes to aid review) from our main text--The Film Experience--and make your best effort as we go along week to week, to complete the other Bblearn PDF readings and clips, while recognizing that you may not complete everything as you juggle your schedules and strike different kinds of 'balance' or trade-offs week to week, between prioritizing some readings at the expense of viewing films, or vice versa. It is important to watch as many films as attentively as you can.

Here is one aspect of a guiding premise/claim for this course and its outcomes (also see expected learning outcomes noted further below, following the semester schedule): Film and literature provide us with a way of understanding how our social life works. Human social life consists of narratives for living, with ‘narratives’ being understood here as an actual life experience spread over time and guided by cultural stories that justify it to participants. Both the cultural and real-world narrative can change; both use frames to exclude norm-dissonant perspectives and values and to ensure that the meanings that support the continuity and homogeneity of the lived process are stable, predictable, and enforced. Who tells the stories in the culture thus largely shapes how that cultural world will be organized. Stories are what people believe and how they believe, and how people believe determines how they act and how they live. Stories can change how people think, perceive, believe, and act. The analysis of the work they perform is thus an important endeavor. And that is what criticism is all about. (An Introduction to Criticism: Literature/Film/Culture--Wiley-Blackwell, 2012).

Note that this class is one of the several "foundations" courses required in the Literature emphasis in the English major, and it serves as a good basis for taking additional courses in film studies, such as Engl 221 and Engl 222 History of World Cinema I & II, Engl 420 Literature and Film, Engl 432 Film Theory and Criticism, and Engl 477 Documentary Film.

Broader contexts for desired course outcomes are situated within the department's goals for the English major and the university's learning outcomes. In addition, as mentioned see further below for learning outcomes specific to this course and to 200-level literature and film courses.


1. Ten Bblearn Inquiry Starters: a thesis/problem-driven response (at minimum 175-250 words each, in which you take a stance/make a claim, state a point of view/thesis, to include connecting a specific passage/concept/perspective from our readings that week with your weekly viewing of a film or film clip, to enable you to make sense of our studies/readings through illustration and analysis of an aspect (scene/motif) in a particular film. That is, your Inquiry-Starter should be informed by some aspect of The Film Experience text or weekly Bblearn PDF readings or explanatory film clips, and also serve to demonstrate--in a sense--that you are keeping up with and finding and engaging with our weekly texts/films in significant ways, particularly as inquiries that may promote further conversation and study. Inquiry Starters present a means for you and the class to share enthusiasms and questions as you delve into the significance, methods, and effects of our film studies, and to learn from others' comments (a version of Graff's "They Say, I Say" exchange, see Bblearn). If the IS is due on a Thursday, avoid merely repeating aspects of our discussion--seek instead to use the reading/viewing/discussion as a point of departure for further inquiry. No late entries—Inquiry Starters are due/posted on Bblearn preferably by 10pm the night before the class due date but no later than 9:00am the day of class. If you post your entry after 9am but still before class begins that day, you will lose two points from your semester point total--entries posted any later will lose five points. Come to class prepared to talk about your ISs/ideas. Again: missing or late inquiry-starter entries posted after the class due date will be counted against your semester grade (minus 5 points each, see below). I will assess your IS entries as a whole, and assign a point total for the semester, as noted further below. Additional note: you will be called upon/scheduled, to present/introduce your IS in class once during the semester.

2. Sequence Analysis (due 10/29) with Shot Analysis Chart (due 10/22): see this weblink for this 'combo' assignment.

3. Critical Analysis Essay (minimum 1550-1650 word essay, due in class Thursday December 3, 2015--late essays accepted no later than in class Thursday December 10). See this highlighted weblink for the full assignment. This critical cinematic analysis is similar to the sequence analysis essay (includng some attention to shot analysis) but more comprehensive in situating the interpretive analysis in the context not only of particular sequences and formal/aesthetic film techniques but also in the larger narrative arc/trajectory of a specific film's story and plot. Here is a lengthy list of acclaimed films that I've compiled, from which you can select a film for the analysis: see this weblink for my compilation of 501 Top-Ranked/Selected/Preferred Films, including many from Sight & Sound 2012 poll of all-time films, as well as top ranked lists from Criterion Collection, National Society of Film Critics' 100 Essential Films, and other 'favorites.' For example, here are some of the films on the list that you could consider, if you are seeking suggestions: ’71, 8 ½, Birdman, Blow-Up, Children of Men, Chinatown, City of God, Close-Up; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Deliverance, Do the Right Thing, Drive, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Ex Machina, Fresh, Her, Ida, Margaret, Mulholland Dr., Night of the Hunter, Pariah, Rachel Getting Married, Searching for Bobby Fischer, The Conformist, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Secret in Their Eyes; Two Days, One Night; Volver, Winter’s Bone.

4. Participation: Please take advantage of opportunities to share your insights and to listen and reply to others' ideas. I hope that questions and discussions will enable you to move the class in directions you find most helpful, give you opportunities to develop critical skills through collaboration, and provide for a productive, interesting exchange of perspectives among the class. You may meet periodically in small groups in class primarily for sharing Inquiry-Starters and to prompt our class discussions. I expect you to contribute productively to class discussion, and I will make an effort to call on you directly, especially if you tend not (!) to pitch in to share your views and questions.

5. All required work is due at the begin ning of class on the due date—work turned in late will be graded accordingly. Required graded written work will be downgraded one notch (for example, B+ to B, converted to points for each assignment) for each weekday late (not just days classes meet but counting just one day for a weekend). Note, however, that the Term Essay cannot be turned in more than one day late--it is due in class on December 10, but may be turned in as late as but no later than December 11 by 4:30pm (with one day penalty of minus 4 points). Work submitted more than a week late will not be accepted. I will grant short extensions for medical and family emergencies—but talk with me as soon as possible to request an extension. Always keep copies of your work.

6. Attendance: always attend class (unless you are sick). One or two absences will not affect your semester grade; a third absence will lower your semester total by three points, with a five-point reduction for each additional absence (four absences=minus 8 points, five absences = minus 13 points); six or more absences is sufficient cause for you to receive a failing grade for the course, regardless of your semester point total. All absences will be counted—excused or not—if something extraordinary occurs, talk to me.

7. Grades: Ten Bblearn entries (30 points); Sequence Analysis Essay, with Shot Analysis Chart (100 pts); Critical Analysis Essay (130 pts). These required assignments add up to a maximum of 260 points. Thus 234-260 points equals an A, 208-233 equals a B, 182-207 equals a C, 156-181 equals a D, and anything below 156 merits an F. I shall reserve a potential six bonus points based on my perceptions of the strength of your participation and efforts over the semester; incomplete or missing inquiry-starter entries will be counted against your semester grade, with the loss of five points for each missing or incomplete entry, to a maximum loss of 45 points. NOTE, therefore, that missing even one Inquiry Starter combined for example with three absences, could very well affect your overall semester grade by lowering your total points by 8 points. You might earn grades in the A(-) range, for instance, on the Sequence Analysis Essay and on the Critical Analysis Essay, yet receive a B for the semester if you incur such penalty points because of missing ISs and absences.

8. Office hours. I encourage you to confer with me—especially before assignments are due—to talk about your interests, intentions, and writing strategies. If you cannot make my regular hours (in Brink 125), we’ll arrange another time. I also welcome communicating with you by E-mail (sflores@uidaho.edu) and for students based in Couer d'Alene, Skype.

9. Use of laptops and cell phones during class is prohibited; occasional use of laptops—typically for group work and to access the online components of the class—may be permitted with my approval.

10. Do not submit work for this class that you have submitted or intend to submit for a grade in another course; as always, be careful to cite anyone else's work that you draw upon. See highlighted link on the class website to a useful guide to avoiding plagiarism, and a link to information on the university's policies regarding plagiarism.

11. Classroom Learning and Civility: To support learning and discovery in this course—as in any university course—it is essential that each member of the class feel as free and as safe as possible in his or her participation. To this end, we must collectively expect that everyone (students, professors, and guests) seek to be respectful and civil to one another in discussion, in action, in teaching, and in learning. Because knowledge and learning are constructed and construed through social inquiry and exchange, it is vital that course dialogue and debate encourage and expect a substantial range of reasoned, expressive, and impassioned articulation of diverse views in order to build a stronger understanding of the materials and of one another's ways of knowing. These practices strengthen our capacities for understanding and the production of (new) knowledge. As with the critical writing assignments for this class, our primary aims include engaging with texts and their varied critical interpretations by identifying problems, developing claims and arguments with supporting lines of evidence and explanation, and enriching our literary understanding, interests, and commitments.

Should you feel our classroom interactions do not reflect an environment of civility and respect, you are encouraged to meet with me during office hours to discuss your concern. Additional resources for expression of concern and avenues of support include the chair of the Department of English, Dr. Scott Slovic, the Dean of Students office and staff (5-6757), the UI Counseling & Testing Center’s confidential services (5-6716), or the UI Office of Human Rights, Access, & Inclusion (5-4285).

12. Disability Support Services: Reasonable accommodations are available for students who have documented temporary or permanent disabilities. All accommodations must be approved through Disability Support Services (885-6307; dss@uidaho.edu; www.uidaho.edu/dss) located in the Idaho Commons Building, Room 306 in order to notify your instructor(s) as soon as possible regarding accommodation(s) needed for the course.

Additional reference sources for further study/research: Do not rely upon or incorporate research from non-refereed, non-“scholarly” sources or publications. As noted above, plan to seek secondary research sources from the bibliographies in our texts, and the main secondary sources for you to consider are in folders in the course Bblearn site.

English 230.01 Semester Schedule Fall 2015 (subject to some tweaking/revision as we go along)--unless another source is specified (such as a PDF on Bblearn site), all main introduction and chapter readings/contents are in the Film Experience text, and are to be read before the class meeting on the date/day as listed below video clips are via the LaunchPadSolo site as well as clips in Bblearn folder(s).






course introduction/overview; watch clip from The 400 Blows in class; finish watching the film on HuluPlus before the next class; see my email prior to class about using your The Film Experience access code for the LaunchPadSolo site

as noted on Tuesday, finish watching The 400 Blows before class (HuluPlus Criterion Collection--film is 99 minutes); as always with these reading/viewing assignments, plan to read/view the following materials (The Film Experience pp. 2-17) before class meets today [see chapter review materials in the following highlighted link: The Film Experience, Part One: Cultural Contexts: Watching, Studying, and Making Movies (pp. 2-17)
Introduction: Studying Film: Culture and Experience
Why Film Studies Matters
Film Spectators and Film Cultures
Form in Action Identification, Cognition, and Film Variety; clip from Juno on LaunchPad
Film in Focus The 400 Blows: An Auteur’s Film Experience (1959); also film clip on LaunchPad
The Film Experience; Note about LaunchPad site--once you use the access code and register, then simply enter the course, and open the corresponding 'chapter' from our text, so that you can view video clips, review summaries of the chapter, and consider discussion questions and even quizzes to aid review)



read PDF on Introduction to film studies, with analysis of scenes from films Juno and Harry Potter--the PDF is in the folder in Bblearn labeled Excerpts from texts on film studies; in the film clips folder also view clip analyses for Juno and for Harry Potter; (if you have not seen Juno, see longer clips as well if you have time and interest)

Bblearn Inquiry Starter due by 9am on some aspect of readings/films on syllabus for this week; see Bblearn video clip on Narrators, Narration, and Narrative; watch Down By Law on HuluPlus Criterion Collection before class today; Note: probability that Kendall, Kelsie, and Justin will be the first to share/introduce/present their respective ISs today; we'll look ahead and 'divvy' up the rest of the 'slots' for future ISs so that you know when you are scheduled to 'introduce' your Inquiry Starter (IS) for future due dates



The Film Experience: Chapter Two (pp.63-93): Mise-en-Scène: Exploring a Material World
A Short History of Mise-en-Scène
Theatrical Mise-en-Scène and the Prehistory of Cinema
1900–1912: Early Cinema’s Theatrical Influences
1915–1928: Silent Cinema and the Star System
1930s–1960s: Studio-Era Production
1940–1970: New Cinematic Realism
1975–Present: Mise-en-Scène and the Blockbuster
The Elements of Mise-en-Scène
Settings and Sets
Scenic Realism and Atmosphere
Viewing Cue video clip (via your login to LaunchPadSolo site): Life of Pi (2012)
Props, Actors, Costumes, and Lights
Film in Focus video clip on LaunchPad Making Sense of Mise-en-Scène in Do the Right Thing
Space and Design
Form in Action video clip on LaunchPad Mise-en-Scène in Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
Making Sense of Mise-en-Scène
Defining Our Place in a Film’s Material World
Interpretive Contexts for Mise-en-Scène
Film in Focus video clip on LaunchPad Naturalistic Mise-en-Scène in Bicycle Thieves (1948)
Spectacularizing the Movies

Bblearn Inquiry Starter dueby 9am on some aspect of readings/films on syllabus for this week; see Bblearn video clip on Setting and Expressionism, and clip on Diegetic and NonDiegetic Elements of Narrative in Film;



Bblearn Inquiry Starter dueby 9am on some aspect of readings/clips from this week;

The Film Experience Chapter Three(95-131): Cinematography: Framing What We See
A Short History of the Cinematic Image
1820s–1880s: The Invention of Photography and the Prehistory of Cinema
1890s–1920s: The Emergence and Refinement of Cinematography
1930s–1940s: Developments in Color, Wide-Angle, and Small-Gauge Cinematography
1950s–1960s: Widescreen, 3-D, and New Color Processes
1970s–1980s: Cinematography and Exhibition in the Age of the Blockbuster
1990s and Beyond: The Digital Future
The Elements of Cinematography
Points of View
Four Attributes of the Shot
Viewing Cue on LaunchPad: Touch of Evil (1958)
Form in Action Color and Contrast in Film
Animation and Visual Effects
Viewing Cue on LaunchPad: Rear Window (1954)
Viewing Cue on LaunchPad: The Battle of Algiers (1967)
Making Sense of the Film Image
Defining Our Relationship to the Cinematic Image
Interpretive Contexts for the Cinematic Image
Film in Focus on LaunchPad: From Angles to Animation in Vertigo (1958)--we'll spend more time on Vertigo in two weeks
Film in Focus on LaunchPad: Meaning through Images in M (1931)

Bblearn PDF on Analyzing Cinematography; see Bblearn video clip on Lighting and Familar Image: The Night of the Hunter; see video clip on Composing the Frame; see PDF on black and white film, and on color film; browse through Bblearn video clips of Battleship Potemkin



Chapter Four(133-173): Editing: Relating Images
A Short History of Film Editing
1895–1918: Early Cinema and the Emergence of Editing
1919–1929: Soviet Montage
1930–1959: The Hollywood Studio Era, Sound, and Continuity Editing
1960–1989: Modern Disjunctive Editing
1990s–Present: Editing in the Digital Age
The Elements of Editing
The Cut and Other Transitions
Viewing Cueon LaunchPad: Chinatown (1974)
Continuity Style
Editing and Temporality
Viewing Cue on LaunchPad: The General (1927)
Form in Action on LaunchPad: Editing and Rhythm in Moulin Rouge! (2001) and An American in Paris
Film in Focus on LaunchPad: Patterns of Editing in Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Making Sense of Film Editing
Disjunctive Editing
Film in Focus on LaunchPad: Montage in Battleship Potemkin (1925)
Converging Editing Styles, and The Untouchables; watch first half (34 minutes) of Man With a Movie Camera, preferably before class today (Bblearn clip).

Bblearn Inquiry Starter dueby 9am on some aspect of readings/clips from this week;see video clips on Evolution of Editing: Continuity and Classical Cutting, and also on Montage; see PDF on continuity editing, discontinuity, and the 180-degree rule; optional video clip: The 180-Degree Rule; watch second half of Man With a Movie Camera (preferably before class, via Bblearn clip).



Chapter Six(213-251): Narrative Films: Telling Stories
A Short History of Narrative Film
1900–1920s: Adaptations, Scriptwriters, and Screenplays
1927–1950: Sound Technology, Dialogue, and Classical Hollywood Narrative
1950–1980: Art Cinema
1980s–Present: From Narrative Reflexivity to Games
The Elements of Narrative Film
Stories and Plots
Diegetic and Nondiegetic Elements
Narrative Patterns of Time, incl. Viewing Cue on LaunchPad, clip from Shutter Island (p.234)
Form in Action on LaunchPad: Nondiegetic Images and Narrative (incl. Ferris Bueller's Day Off, p.231)
Narrative Space
Narrative Perspectives
Viewing Cue on LaunchPad: The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
Film in Focus on LaunchPad: Plot and Narration in Apocalypse Now (1979)
Making Sense of Film Narrative
Shaping Memory, Making History
Narrative Traditions
Film in Focus on LaunchPad: Classical and Alternative Traditions in Mildred Pierce and Daughters of the Dust ; watch clip from Vertigo on Bblearn before class today.

Bblearn Inquiry Starter due by 9am on some aspect of readings/clips from this week;see PDF on the Concepts of story versus plot; see video clips on Shot Types and Implied Proximity and on Camera Angles; we'll finish watching Vertigo in class today, but if you can manage it, also watch Stagecoachvia HuluPlus on the Criterion Collection, before today's class



Chapter Nine(311-349): Movie Genres: Conventions, Formulas, and Audience Expectations
A Short History of Film Genre
Historical Origins of Genres
Early Film Genres
1920s–1940s: Genre and the Studio System
1948–1970s: Postwar Film Genres
1970s–Present: New Hollywood, Sequels, and Global Genres
The Elements of Film Genre
Formulas and Myths
Audience Expectations
Viewing Cue: Bridesmaids (2011)
Six Movie Genres
Westerns (Viewing Cue on LaunchPad: The Searchers)
Horror Films
Crime Films
Making Sense of Film Genres
Prescriptive and Descriptive Approaches
Film in Focus on LaunchPad: Crime Film Conventions and Formulas: Chinatown (1974, on Netflix)
Classical and Revisionist Traditions
Form in Action on LaunchPad: Genre Revisionism: Comparing True Grit (1969) and True Grit (2010)
Local and Global Genres
Film in Focus on LaunchPad (p.346): Genre History in Vagabond; finish viewing Stagecoach if you didn't manage that last week; start watching I've Heard the Mermaids Singing (see folder in Bblearn for links)

Bblearn Inquiry Starter due by 9am on some aspect of readings/clips from this week; See video clips on Point of View and on Zoom and Moving Camera Effects; see PDF on shot analysis chart for Birth of a Nation (film on Netflix, fyi)and shot analysis of City of God (if you have Netflix streaming, City of God is available there and see our Bblearn site/folder). Continue watching and finish if possible before class, Patricia Roxema's I've Heard the Mermaids Singing (1987)--in anticipation of this next Monday, could also read Fabe's essay on feminism and film form, after you have watched Rozema's film.



Marilyn Fabe--read her chapter on Feminism and Film Form: Patricia Rozema's I've Heard the Mermaids Singing (Bblearn folder--for future follow up reading, see Mulvey's essay and others in the folder on additional film theory in Bblearn); Chapter Eleven (397-427): Reading About Film: Critical Theories and Methods
The Evolution of Film Theory
Early and Classical Film Theory
Early Film Theory
Classical Film Theories: Formalism and Realism
Postwar Film Culture and Criticism
Film Journals
Auteur Theory
Genre Theory
Contemporary Film Theory
Structuralism and Semiotics
Viewing Cueon LaunchPad: The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Film in Focus on LaunchPad: Signs and Meaning in Persepolis (2007)
Theories of Gender and Sexuality
Cultural Studies
Film and Philosophy
Postmodernism and New Media
Film in Focus on LaunchPad: Clueless about Contemporary Film Theory? (1995)

Bblearn Inquiry Starter dueby 9am on some aspect of readings/clips/'Mermaids Singing" or Toyko Story from this week; See video clips on The Moving Camera and on Focal Length; see Bblearn PDF, excerpt from Gocsik, Barsam, Monahan on Writing About Movies; watch Tokyo Story via HuluPlus Criterion Collection before class today--yes!, a busy week 'homework' wise--do your best to keep up at this midpoint in semester--send your selection for your Shot List Analysis to me by email by today or tomorrow morning



Chapter Twelve (429-461): Writing a Film Essay: Observations, Arguments, Research, and Analysis
Writing an Analytical Film Essay

Personal Opinion and Objectivity
Identifying Your Readers
Viewing Cue: Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Elements of the Analytical Film Essay
Preparing to Write about a Film
Asking Questions
Taking Notes
Film in Focus Analysis, Audience, and Minority Report (2002)
Selecting a Topic
Elements of a Film Essay
Thesis Statement
Outline and Topic Sentences
Revision, Manuscript Format, and Proofreading
Writer's Checklist
Researching the Movies
Distinguishing Research Materials
Using and Documenting Sources
Film in Focus Interpretation, Argument, and Evidence in Rashomon (1950)
Using Film Images in Your Paper
Film in Focus From Research to Writing about The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920); reminder: your Shot List Analysis Chart is due at the very next class meeting this Thursday; we'll get started on watching Rashomon in class today

see video clip on Lighting; Shot List Analysis Chart due (in hard copy and also send by email to me)--this is Part 1 of the Sequence Analysis assignment;

Part 2--The Sequence Analysis essay is due a week from today (10/29); browse Bblearn PDF chapter on film criticism with series of examples from nine different films and kinds of analysis; watch Rashomonvia HuluPlus Criterion collection before today's class; read Stephen Prince's very brief essay of introduction on the Criterion site and read pp. 45-49 of the essay (Bblearn folder on postwar Japanese cinema) on narrative structure in Jurassic Park and Rashomon (read whole essay if you can but esp. 45-49)



Chapter 10 (353-395): History and Historiography: Hollywood and Beyond
Early Cinema
Cinema between the Wars
Classical Hollywood Cinema
German Expressionist Cinema
Soviet Silent Films
French Impressionist Cinema and Poetic Realism
Postwar Cinemas
Postwar Hollywood
Italian Neorealism
Viewing Cue on LaunchPad: Gilda (1946) and Rome, Open City (1945--this full film on HuluPlus Criterion Collection)
French New Wave
Japanese Cinema
Third Cinema
Contemporary Film Cultures
Contemporary Hollywood
Contemporary Independent Cinema
Film in Focus on LaunchPad: Taxi Driver and New Hollywood (1976)
Contemporary European Cinema
Indian Cinema
African Cinema
Chinese Cinema
Iranian Cinema
The Lost and Found of Film History
Women Filmmakers
African American Cinema
Film in Focus on LaunchPad: Lost and Found History: Within Our Gates (1920)
Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender (LGBT) Film History
Indigenous Media
Excavating Film History; either read Fabe's chapter on Italian Neorealism and the Bicycle Thief or view Mark Shiel's "Life as It Is" on Italian neorealism (Bblearn folder on Bicycle Thieves and Italian Neorealism); you should have a full draft of your sequence analysis essay completed by today

Sequence Analysis Essay due (approximately 5 pages and at least 1100 words); watch Breathless on HuluPlus Criterion Collection before class today; we'll also watch/study selections from Breathless in class today; be sure to read Dudley Andrew's brief essay "Breathless Then and Now" on Criterion site and also see John Powers's brief essay "Breathless"



Chapter Eight (283-309): Experimental Film and New Media: Challenging Form
A Short History of Experimental Film and Media Practices
1910s–1920s: European Avant-Garde Movements
1930s–1940s: Sound and Vision
1950s–1960s: The Postwar Avant-Garde in America
Film in Focus on LaunchPad: Avant-Garde Visions in Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)
1968 to 1980: Politics and Experimental Cinema
1980s–Present: New Technologies and New Media
The Elements of Experimental Media
Formalisms: Narrative Experimentation and Abstraction
Experimental Organizations: Associative, Structural, and Participatory
Film in Focus on LaunchPad: Formal Play in Ballet mécanique (1924)
Making Senses of Experimental Media
Challenging and Expanding Perception
Experimental Film Styles and Approaches; see Viewing Cue clip on LaunchPad of Gently Down the Stream
Form in Action Lyrical Style in Bridges-Go-Round (1958); we'll try to find time to begin to watch either City of God or Close-up, in class today.

Bblearn Inquiry Starter due by 9am on some aspect of readings/clips from this week;Bblearn PDF on movie stars/actors/acting; Watch Close-up (1990/98 minutes--also see online essay on the film on Criterion site) on HuluPlus Criterion Collection before class today or if you prefer, browse over options (see weblinks for brief descriptions of each film), then watch City of God or an additional or different film from the Criterion Collection on HuluPlus, such as Au Hasard Balthazar, Paris, Texas, M, Knife in the Water, High and Low, The Insect Woman, Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, The Passion of Joan of Arc, The Rules of the Game, Ugetsu [Monogatari], Alice in the Cities, Andrei Rublev, The Battle of Algiers, Close-up, Fanny and Alexander, Gertrud, Journey to Italy, L'avventura,L'eclisse, Late Spring, The Marriage of Maria Braun, My Dinner with Andre, La Notte, Ordet, Red Desert, Seven Samurai, The Spirit of the Beehive, Stolen Kisses (the third installment in the Antoine Doinel series),Stranger Than Paradise, Three Colors: Blue [Red, or White], Veronika Voss, Wild Strawberries, or Wings of Desire, or Persona  


Chapter Five (175-209): Film Sound: Listening to the Cinema
A Short History of Film Sound
Theatrical and Technological Prehistories of Film Sound
1895–1920s: The Sounds of Silent Cinema
1927–1930: Transition to Synchronized Sound
1950s–Present: From Stereophonic to Digital Sound
The Elements of Film Sound
Sound and Image
Sound Production
Film in Focus on LaunchPad: Sound and Image in Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Voice in Film
Music in Film
Form in Action on LaunchPad: Pop Music Soundtracks in Contemporary Cinema, incl. Saturday Night Fever
Sound Effects in Film
Viewing Cue on LaunchPad: Winter's Bone (2010)
Viewing Cueon LaunchPad: The Thin Red Line (1998)
Making Sense of Film Sound
Sound Continuity and Sound Montage
Film in Focus on LaunchPad: The Role of Sound and Sound Technology in The Conversation (1974, fyi: full film on Netflix streaming); recommended: see Bblearn PDF on sound in film, as illustrated in Citizen Kane

Bblearn Inquiry Starter dueby 9am on some aspect of readings/clips from this week (for example, you could focus your comments on Fellini's ) watch 8 1⁄2 (1963)--ranked #10 all time film in Sight & Sound 2012 poll--via HuluPlus Criterion Collection; read one or more of the film reviews of (such as Sesonske on the Criterion site or Ebert's retrospective tribute) and see Fabe's concise chapter/essay on the film--all these are in the Bblearn folder on the film



Chapter Seven (253-281): Documentary Films: Representing the Real
A Short History of Documentary Cinema
A Prehistory of Documentaries
1895–1905: Early Actualities, Scenics, and Topicals
The 1920s: Robert Flaherty and the Soviet Documentaries
1930–1945: The Politics and Propaganda of Documentary
1950s–1970s: New Technologies and the Arrival of Television
1980s–Present: Digital Cinema, Cable, and Reality TV
The Elements of Documentary Films
Nonfiction and Non-Narrative
Expositions: Organizations That Show or Describe
Film in Focus on LaunchPad: Nonfiction and Non-Narrative in Man of Aran (1934)
Viewing Cue on LaunchPad: The Cove (2009)
Rhetorical Positions
Making Sense of Documentary Films
Revealing New or Ignored Realities
Film in Focus on LaunchPad: Stories We Tell (2013)
Confronting Assumptions, Altering Opinions
Serving as a Social, Cultural, and Personal Lens
Form in Action on LaunchPad: The Contemporary Documentary: Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010);

before class today, begin viewing via links on Bblearn folder: Errol Morris's great documentary The Thin Blue Line

Bblearn Inquiry Starter due by 9am on some aspect of readings/clips from this week; Bblearn PDF on use of digital technology in Time Code; we'll focus discussion today on The Thin Blue Line so be sure to finish watching that film before class today (via Bblearn folder/links). Also read Charles Musser's concise essay "The Thin Blue Line: A Radical Classic", via Criterion site.



Chapter One(19-59): Encountering Film: From Preproduction to Exhibition
Production: How Films Are Made
Distribution: What We Can See
Ancillary Markets
Distribution Timing
Film in Focus on LaunchPad: Distributing Killer of Sheep (1977)
Marketing and Promotion: What We Want to See
Generating Interest
Viewing Cue: Man of Steel (2013)
Form in Action on LaunchPad: The Changing Art and Business of the Film Trailer (p. 47, also clip from Where the Wild Things Are)
Word of Mouth and Fan Engagement
Movie Exhibition: The Where, When, and How of Movie Experiences
The Changing Contexts and Practices of Film Exhibition
Film in Focus on LaunchPad: Promoting The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Technologies and Cultures of Exhibition
Film in Focus on LaunchPad: Exhibiting Citizen Kane (1941)
The Timing of Exhibition; see folder in Bblearn on the short film "Snapshot"

see Bblearn folder on Killer of Sheep

Critical Analysis Essay due in class or Friday December 4 by 4pm in my Brink 125 office or turn in to main office in Brink 200--late essays accepted no later than in class Thursday December 10); before class today, watch clips via Bblearn folder for Killer of Sheep (try to watch first two clips, about 48 minutes total); and we'll continue to watch in class today Two Days, One Night (we have about 38 minutes left--it's on Netflix, if you want to watch more of the film that way too!)


watch Killer of Sheep before class today, and also watch the relatively short film (Bblearn folder) Snapshot; additional film viewing in class this week--opening 20 minutes or so from both '71 and from Manhattan; then also some of My Dinner with Andre


Course Learning Outcomes: English 230
Students will study, explore, and seek to learn in the context of the following learning objectives and outcomes--the Engl 230 course
• Introduces and helps students to cultivate the ability to perform close analysis of shots/sequences, situated in relation to the film and its contexts
• Introduces and develops focused/limited secondary research skills
• Develops writing strategies, including the capacity for visual analysis, for a critical understanding of film as demonstrated in essays and other forms of writing
• Helps students investigate how these films shape and reflect their particular contexts, including differences in treatment of socio-cultural, historical, and political issues across the time period covered
• Helps students engage with and develop investment in the films and related texts/criticism—using a range of assignments and resources, including online writing/discussions
• Helps students begin to engage in scholarly conversations about film, including learning the vocabulary of film studies and the application of that vocabulary—these conversations proceed with practice of focused, basic research skills and use of evidence to position themselves in dialogue with critical discussions
• To develop a greater understanding of the social and technological history of film, including a selective variety of films widely regarded as signficant in the historical development of film and claims for "excellence" in film
• Helps students to learn the formal techniques by which films make meaning and to evaluate the formal aspects of cinema in relation to analytic arguments that make specific claims about how a film's formal aspects can be argued to effect/affect meaning(s)
• Requires, and directs students in ways to write concise, sustained analytical essays (with selected research) that evidence close reading of the films to include well-developed theses/argument, selective, limited engagement with critical sources, and ability to ask meaningful questions of the film and its construction and contexts. Evaluation of students' written work includes instructor's use of a rubric to identify specific areas assessed
• Introduces and supports exploration of theoretical perspectives on film and cultural studies, enabling students to reflect upon, compose, and articulate the ways that they engage with critical theory and practice
•Helps students understand applications of film studies with references to contemporary events/situations that show similar problems depicted in the texts recurring in present day life and social relations
•Expects and monitors that students' writing exhibits correct usage of grammar and of MLA formats and citation conventions

• Fosters, if possible!, a profound, complex enjoyment of films through critical understanding, reflection, and engaged study of a good range of films and a lifelong fascination and pleasure with cinema

Evaluation/Assessment Rubric for Instructor's Written Responses to Critical Essay and Term Essay, with check mark along a scale of Excellent to Weak, with specific comments to supplement comments/feedback on the texts of the essays themselves:

Rubric for Initial Criteria for Evaluating Critical Writing/Essays:   Excellent          Very Good-Good          Competent-Fair          Weak
Note: Ultimately the evaluation of your work is holistic,
and therefore also intends to register the different, nuanced,
unexpected and evocative effects of your analysis,
exploration, creative expression/affect, and engagement
with learning and discovery.

1. Strength and clarity of (hypo)thesis/focus/introduction

2. Intellectual/conceptual strength and persuasiveness of
main claim as well as ensuing argument/logic/premises/
critical analysis/theory/ideas         

3. Cohesive and coherent development, logical
 organization, including well-structured paragraphs with
clear points and compelling, specific support/evidence

4. Analysis of film’s/topic’s relevant cultural/historical
 contexts and if specified, of related scholarship/criticism;
analysis of film’s rhetorical/persuasive strategies, structure

5. Topic’s depth/complexity, including explanation of
problem to be addressed, recognition of film’s
conflicts/contradictions (ideological/rhetorical),
creativity and sense of discovery/affective engagement
conveyed—the articulated sense of “what’s at stake, why
 all of it matters”

6. Significance/ conclusion

7. Effective sentences, syntax, verbs, diction,
punctuation, complexity, and suitable style: academic,
critical, appropriate to your understanding of the

8. MLA style—parenthetical citation of sources,
Works Cited; formatting; spelling ungraded but noted

University of Idaho Guidelines on Academic Dishonesty (including plagiarism)

Lessons on Style (general advice/quited dated handout but perhaps worth looking over) [pdf]

Quick Advice on Punctuation (also dated) [pdf]

Summary/Overview of Perspectives on Critical Theory

Online Writing Center Resources (from writing essays to grammar and usage advice):


Review Guide to Using MLA Style for Citing Sources [from OWL/Purdue, see esp. left side tab: formatting and style guide]


NY Times video series Anatomy of a Scene (very short videos that look at a scene from a 'recent' film)

Some selected films particularly recommended that are available on HuluPlus or Netflix streaming (see longer lists at link at top of this page):

Annie Hall (1977) --on Netflix streaming

Alice in the Cities (1974)--can view in HuluPlus in Criterion collection

Babette's Feast (1987)--can view this in HuluPlus Criterion collection

Chinatown (1974)--on Netflix streaming
(Nuovo) Cinema Paradiso (1988)--on Netflix streaming

City of God (2002)--on Netflix streaming 

Diabolique (1955)--can view this via HuluPlus

L'Eclisse (1962)--can view this via online streaming with subscription to HuluPlus
Fanny & Alexander (1982--in theatrical version but ALSO in television version)--can view this on HuluPlus Criterion Collection

Fresh (1994)--on Netflix streaming

His Girl Friday (1940)--on Netflix streaming

Hoop Dreams (1994)--on HuluPlus Criterion Collection

Ida (2014)--on Netflix streaming

Jackie Brown (1997)--on Netflix streaming

Knife in the Water (Nóz w wodzie, 1962)--can view this on HuluPlus Criterion Collection 

L'Atalante (1934)--ranked #12 all time film in Sight & Sound 2012 poll. Can view this on HuluPlus Criterion Collection.

Let the Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in, 2008)--on Netflix streaming

M (1931,1933) --can view this on HuluPlus Criterion Collection
Major Barbara (1941)--can view this on HuluPlus Criterion Collection

My Dinner With Andre (1981)--can view this on HuluPlus Criterion Collection

Persona (1967)  --ranked #17 all time film in Sight & Sound 2012 poll--on HuluPlus Criterion Collection

Purple Noon (1960)--can view this on HuluPlus Criterion Collection

Pygmalion (1938)--can view this on HuluPlus Criterion Collection

Rome Open City (1945)--view this on HuluPlus Criterion Collection

Seven Samurai (1956)--ranked #17 all time film in Sight & Sound 2012 poll--on HuluPlus Criterion Collection

7 Up/28 Up (1985) to 49 Up--on Netflix streaming

Stranger Than Paradise (1984)--can view this on HuluPlus Criterion Collection

The Great Beauty (2013) "La grande bellezza"--can view this on HuluPlus Criterion Collection

Three Colours: BLUE(1993), Three Colours: WHITE (1994), Three Colours: RED(1994)--can view these on HuluPlus Criterion Collection

Wild Strawberries (1959)--can view this on HuluPlus Criterion Collection   
Wings of Desire (1988)--can view this on HuluPlus Criterion Collection    

See this weblink to my favorite films/books/music

which includes these favorite films:

Films (most dates accurate):

8 1⁄2 (1963, including excellent commentary in Criterion collection release) --HuluPlus Criterion Collection     
Annie Hall (1977)----on Netflix streaming
Before Sunrise (1995, first in director Linklater's romantic/sentimentally intelligent trilogy, followed by Before Sunset and Before Midnight, spanning 18 years, with Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke)
Before Midnight (2013)
Before Sunset (2004)
Bicycle Thieves (1948)
Birdman (2014)
Breaking Away (1979)
Bullitt (1968)
Casablanca (1942)
L'Eclisse (1962)--HuluPlus Criterion Collection
Fargo (1996)----on Netflix streaming
Fresh (1994)--on Netflix streaming
Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)   
Her (2013)  
Holiday (1938)
In the Heat of the Night (1967)
Kill Bill: Vols. 1 and 2 (2003/2004)----on Netflix streaming
Manhattan (1979)
Man with a Movie Camera (1929)
My Dinner With Andre (1981)--HuluPlus Criterion Collection
North by Northwest (1959)        
Persona (1967)--HuluPlus Criterion Collection           
Pulp Fiction (1994)----on Netflix streaming  
Rachel Getting Married (2008)     
Roman Holiday (1953)   
Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Stop Making Sense (1984)    
The 400 Blows (1959, Les Quatre cents coups, including excellent Criterion Collection critic's commentary)
Three Colours: BLUE(1993), Three Colours: WHITE (1993), Three Colours: RED(1994) in HuluPlus Criterion Collection
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)             
Top Hat (1935)
Two Days, One Night (2014)--on Netflix
12 Angry Men (1957, see also 1997 remake, plus "12", a fascinating 2007 Russian version)
Wait Until Dark (1967)

Or see this list that combines my list of recommended films with some overlaps and additions from the National Society of Film Critics list of 100 Essential Films

Want to compare with an avid cinephile closer to your own generation? Check out my son's list of 'great' films (he also keeps track of 'good' films and all films that he's seen)--this is current to 2013: Ben's List of Great Movies

It's interesting to browse through this list of animated movies,from a Time Out poll

And see the somewhat unevenly or less? rigorous Time Out poll/list of 100 Best Movies of All Time!