Film Studies


Unit Essential Questions Content Skills and Processes Assessment Resources Multicultural Dimension
Film Studies

*How do we read a film?
*What conventions characterize the classic Hollywood cinema?
*How do those conventions compare with the characteristics of other national film traditions (Soviet Expressionism, French New Wave), as well as contemporary film making?
*What do classic American films teach us about the social and cultural representation of American life, possibilities, and values, as well as the technical possibilities of film narrative?

*Development of American film from silent era to present through consideration of a variety of American (as well as two foreign) films
*Technical vocabulary of film grammar
*Analyze the way in which script, production, and directorial decisions contribute to film meaning
*Parallels between concerns of Hollywood, larger questions of identity, community, and values in American culture

*Develop planning and presentation abilities
*Teach two classes per term
*Peer review
*Metacritical essays
(All writing assignments are submitted for peer review and require a metacritical essay)

*Student class presentations are debriefed in conference with the instructor
*All student writing assignments are reviewed in conference

Bordwell and Thompson's Film Art (6th ed.)
Griffith's The Birth of a Nation
Eisenstein's Strike
Hawks' His Girl Friday
Welles' Citizen Kane
Capra's It's a Wonderful Life
Hawks' Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Ford's Stagecoach and The Searchers
Houston's The Maltese Falcon
Godard's Breathless
Penn's Bonnie and Clyde
Hitchcock's Rear Window and Vertigo
Lynch's Blue Velvet
Lee's Jungle Fever
various class handouts, including both cast lists and critical articles

Examination of Griffith's The Birth of a Nation, Ford's Stagecoach and The Searchers, and Lee's Jungle Fever allow an examination of race and racism in classic Hollywood cinema. Questions of gender and class difference are foregrounded throughout the term.