Amherst College

Five College Film & Video Course Guide

FALL 2009  (updated 4/6/09)

 

Note:  Course info may be subject to change and will be updated as more information becomes available.  All courses are 4 credits each unless otherwise noted.

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ENGLISH 24  SCREENWRITING

Visiting Lecturer Murray.

M 2-5

This is an introductory course in screenwriting with a focus on narrative.  We will look at film, adaptation, structure, and “the business,” with an emphasis on workshopping original screenplay.

Requisite:  At least one film course and/or one creative writing course at the college level recommended.  Limited to 15 students.  Preference given to juniors and seniors.

Undergraduate UMass Film Studies Certificate category:  V     

Five College Film Studies Major category:  8

 

ENGLISH 82 PRODUCTION WORKSHOP IN THE MOVING IMAGE 

Five College Professor Hillman.

W 2-4:50

The topic changes each time the course is taught.  In fall 2009 the topic will be “Narrative Cinema in a Global Context.”  This course will introduce students to a diverse range of approaches to narrative filmmaking.  Students will gain skills in videomaking and criticism through project assignments, readings and analysis of critical discourses that ground issues of production.  The course will include workshops in cinematography, sound recording, directing and editing.  Weekly screenings will include films and videos by Jia Zhangke, Claire Denis, Charles Burnett, Tsai Ming-liang, Abdellatif Kechiche, and Lucia Murat.  Students will complete three video projects.

Admission with consent of the instructor.  Limited to 12 students.  Recommended requisites:  Completed coursework in one of the following areas:  Film Studies, Visual or Performing Arts, Art History.  Please complete the questionnaire at https://cms.amherst.edu/academiclife/departments/english/events/questionnaire.

Undergraduate UMass Film Studies Certificate category:  V     

Five College Film Studies Major category: 8 

 

ENGLISH 83  THE NON-FICTION FILM 

Senior Lecturer von Schmidt.

TTh 11:30-12:50

The study of a range of non-fiction films, including (but not limited to) the “documentary,” ethnographic film, autobiographical film, the film essay.  Will include the work of Eisenstein, Vertov, Ivens, Franju, Ophüls, Leacock, Kopple, Gardner, Herzog, Chopra, Citron, Wiseman, Blank, Apted, Marker, Morris, Joslin, Riggs, McElwee.  Two film programs weekly. Readings will focus on issues of representation, of “truth” in documentary, and the ethical issues raised by the films.        Limited to 25 students.

Undergraduate UMass Film Studies Certificate category:  IIB   

Five College Film Studies Major category: 4, 6 

 

GERMAN 44  POPULAR CINEMA

Professor Rogowski.

TTh 10-11:20

From Fritz Lang’s thrilling detective mysteries to Tom Tykwer’s hip postmodern romp Run Lola Run, from Ernst Lubitsch’s satirical wit to the gender-bending comedies of Katja von Garnier, this course explores the rich legacy of popular and genre films in the German-speaking countries.  Topics to be covered include adventure films, comedies, and costume dramas of the silent period, including Fritz Lang’s Spiders (1919) and Joe May’s The Indian Tomb (1920); the musical comedies of the Weimar Republic and the “dream couple” Lilian Harvey and Willy Fritsch; Nazi movie stars and the “non-political” entertainment films of the Third Reich, such as Josef von Baky’s blockbuster Münchhausen (1943); the resurgence of genre films in the 1950s (“Heimatfilme,” romantic comedies, melodramas, etc.); the Cold War Westerns in the West (based on the novels by Karl May) and in the East (starring Gojko Mitic); the efforts to produce audience-oriented films in the politicized climate of the 1960s and 1970s; the big budget quasi-Hollywood productions by Wolfgang Petersen; and the recent spate of relationship comedies.  We will discuss the work of, among others, actors and performers Karl Valentin, Heinz Rühmann, Zarah Leander, Hans Albers, Heinz Erhardt, Romy Schneider, Loriot, and Otto, and directors including Ernst Lubitsch, Fritz Lang, Joe May, Wilhelm Thiele, May Spils, Katja von Garnier, Detlev Buck, Tom Tykwer, and Doris Dörrie.  Conducted in English, with German majors required to do a substantial portion of the reading in German.

Undergraduate UMass Film Studies Certificate category:  IIB   

Five College Film Studies Major category: 5 

 

GERMAN 60 / EUROPEAN STUDIES 60  PERFORMANCE

Professor Gilpin.

MW 12:30-1:50

What is performance?  What constitutes an event?  How can we address a phenomenon that has disappeared the moment we apprehend it?  How does memory operate in our critical perception of an event?  How does a body make meaning?  These are a few of the questions we will explore in this course, as we discuss critical, theoretical, and compositional approaches in a broad range of multidisciplinary performance phenomena emerging from European–primarily German–culture in the twentieth century.  We will focus on issues of performativity, composition, conceptualization, dramaturgy, identity construction, representation, space, gender, and dynamism.  Readings of performance theory, performance studies, gender studies, and critical/cultural studies, as well as literary, philosophical, and architectural texts will accompany close examination of performance material.  Students will develop performative projects in various media (video, performance, text, online) and deliver a number of critical oral and written presentations on various aspects of the course material and their own projects.  Performance material will be experienced live when possible, and in text, video, audio, digital media and online form, drawn from selected works of Dada and Surrealism, Bauhaus, German Expressionism, the Theater of the Absurd, Tanztheater, and Contemporary Theater, Performance, Dance, Opera, New Media, and Performance Art.  A number of films, including Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari, Oskar Schlemmer’s Das Triadische Ballett, Fernand Léger’s Ballet Mécanique, and Kurt Jooss’ Der Grüne Tisch, will be also screened.  Conducted in English, with German majors required to do a substantial portion of the reading in German.

Undergraduate UMass Film Studies Certificate category:  IV, V

Five College Film Studies Major category: 6, 7