Amherst College

Courses in Film and Video Arts   Fall 2010

[Spring 2010 Courses Archived]

English 16.  Coming to Terms:  Cinema.  Professor Cameron.
MW 2:00-3:20
An introduction to cinema studies through consideration of a few critical and descriptive terms together with a selection of various films (historical and contemporary, foreign and American) for illustration and discussion.  The terms for discussion will include, among others:  the moving image, montage, mise en scène, sound, genre, authorship, the gaze.
Recommended:  English 19 or another college-level film course.
Undergraduate UMass Film Studies Certificate category:  I
Five College Film Studies Major category: 1

English 84-01.  Topics in Film Study.  Knowing Television.  Professor Hastie.
TTh 2:00-3:20
The topic changes each time the course is taught.  In fall 2011 the topic will be “Knowing Television.”  For better or worse, U.S. broadcast television is a cultural form that is not commonly associated with knowledge.  This course will take what might seem a radical counter-position to such assumptions–looking at the ways television teaches us what it is and even trains us in potential critical practices for investigating it.  By considering its formal structure, its textual definitions, and the means through which we see it, we will map out how it is that we come to know television.
Prior coursework in Film and Media Studies is recommended, but not required.  Not open to first-year students.  Limited to 30 students.
Undergraduate UMass Film Studies Certificate category: 
Five College Film Studies Major category:  6

English 84-02.  Topics in Film Study.  The Romance.  Senior Lecturer von Schmidt.
TTh 10:00-11:20
The topic changes each time the course is taught.  In fall 2011 the topic will be “The Romance.”  The romance, and the generic forms it has taken, in Hollywood and elsewhere:  classical romance, melodrama, screwball comedy, romantic comedy, the musical.  How has the screen romance variously reflected and/or shaped our own attitudes?  We will look at examples representing a range of cultures and historical eras, from a range of critical positions.  Two screenings per week.
Undergraduate UMass Film Studies Certificate category:  IIB, V
Five College Film Studies Major category:  4

English 95-03.  Inventing Film Theory.  Professor Hastie.
Wed 2:00-5:00
As an upper-division seminar in film theory, this course will offer an in-depth examination of historically significant writings that analyze film form and its social functions and effects.  Our particular focus will be on the production of film theory in a collective setting:  the film/media journal.  Thus the course will be organized by five units, each centering on a particular journal in generally chronological order:  Close Up, Cahiers du Cinéma, Film Culture, Screen, and Camera Obscura.  Through this structure, we will consider how ideas have developed and transformed, often in dialogue with one another and on an international stage.  Our purpose will be threefold:  to understand the context for the production and development of film theories; to comprehend a wide range of changing theoretical notions and methodologies; and to create our own dialogue with these works, considering especially their impact on their own contemporaneous film viewers and on viewing positions today.  One three-hour class meeting and one film screening per week.
Prior coursework in Film and Media Studies is strongly recommended.  Limited to 15 students.
Undergraduate UMass Film Studies Certificate category:  IIA, IV, V
Five College Film Studies Major category: 3

Spanish 34.  Pedro Almodóvar.  Professor Crumbaugh of Mount Holyoke College.
Mon 2:00-4.30
This course studies the films of Spanish director and screenwriter Pedro Almodóvar.  Although he began as European cinema’s favorite bad boy, Almodóvar has since restyled himself and his “art” in accordance with traditional authorial discourse and has become one of the most acclaimed filmmakers in the world.  This process of evolution roughly coincides with–and must be studied in relation to–Spain’s period of rapid political and cultural transformation since the death of right-wing military dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.  The course also addresses the ways Almodóvar’s work addresses broader issues such as consumerism, ontology, gender, and film authorship itself.  This course requires once-per-week film screenings at a time to be determined.  Conducted in Spanish.
Requisite:  Spanish 07 or consent of the instructor.
Undergraduate UMass Film Studies Certificate category:  IIB, V
Five College Film Studies Major category: 4

Theater and Dance 62.  Performance Studio.  Professor Woodson.
Fri 1:00-4:00
An advanced course in the techniques of creating performance.  Each student will create and rehearse a performance piece that develops and incorporates original choreography, text, music, sound and/or video.  Experimental and collaborative structures and approaches among and within different media will be stressed.  The final performance pieces and events will be presented in the Holden Theater.  Can be taken more than once for credit.
Requisite:  Theater and Dance 35 or the equivalent and consent of the instructor.
Undergraduate UMass Film Studies Certificate category:  V
Five College Film Studies Major category:  8