AMHERST COLLEGE

 

ASIAN LANG&CIV 42 THE SUPERNATURAL IN JAPANESE FICTION, FILM AND ANIMATION

Professor Caddeau.

MW 12:30-1:50

This course begins by examining the role of the supernatural in Buddhist tales, popular legends, and lyric poetry from early Japan. We will then explore the supernatural as it appears in the literary and visual arts of the Edo period (1600-1868) and make our way to contemporary fiction, film, and animation. Major themes and topics of discussion include

realism and fantasy; tradition and modernity; war, peace and innocence; and violence and the gothic. Readings include works by Akinari, Kyoka, Ogai, Soseki, Tanizaki, Oe, and Murakami. Screenings include films directed by Ozu, Mizoguchi, Kurosawa, Honda, Masumura, Teshigahara, Miyazaki, Takahata, and Oshii. Attendance at weekly film screenings in addition to scheduled class time, is expected.

 

ENGLISH 19 FILM AND WRITING

Senior Lecturer von Schmidt.

TTh 10-11:20

A first course in reading films and writing about them. A varied selection of films for study and criticism, partly to illustrate the main elements of film language and partly to pose challenging texts for reading and writing. Frequent short papers. Two 90-minute class meetings and two screenings per week. Limited enrollment.

 

ENGLISH 24 SCREENWRITING

Visiting Lecturer Johnson.

TTh 11:30-12:50

This course is a first workshop in narrative screenplay writing. The “screenplay” is a unique and ephemeral form that exists as a blueprint for something else–a finished film. How do you convey this audio-visual medium (movies) on the page? In order to do that, the screenwriter must have some sense of what the “language of film” is, as well as some sense of what kinds of stories movies–as opposed to novels, plays, or short stories–tell well. This course will try to analyze both the language of film and the shape of film stories, as a means toward teaching the craft of screenwriting. Frequent exercises, readings, and screenings.

This course is limited in enrollment. Preregistration is not allowed. Please consult the Amherst College Creative Writing Center website for information on admission to this course: http://www.amherst.edu/~cwc/courses/courses.html.

 

ENGLISH 75-01 SEMINAR IN ENGLISH STUDIES: CINEMATIC REALISM

Professor Duerfahrd

MW 12:30-1:50

This course will examine the terms realism, the real, and reality in relation to various periods and movements in film history. The political and aesthetic implications of these terms will be investigated to articulate the construction and effects of a realist style, its relation to filmic mediation, narrative, and acting. Particular areas under discussion will include the films of Edison and the Lumires, surrealism, post-war neorealism, cinema verité, documentary journalism, the snuff film, and more recent trends in international cinema and “reality television.”

 

ENGLISH 84 TOPICS IN FILM STUDY

Professor Cameron

TTh 11:30-12:50

The topic changes each time the course is taught. In spring 2005 the topic will be “American Film from 1960 to 1980.” It is the period of post classic Hollywood film, from Psycho to Raging Bull, a period when, as Pauline Kael said, “movies still mattered.” It is also a period when a generation of underground, experimental and avant-garde filmmakers flourished, opening up an alternative cinema in New York, San Francisco and elsewhere. Attention will be paid to the situation of film culture(s) within the artistic, social and political culture at large. Three class hours and two screenings per week.

Requisite: Another film course at the college level. Limited to 30 students.

 

ENGLISH 89 PRODUCTION SEMINAR IN THE MOVING IMAGE

Five College Professor Hey

M 1-6

The topic changes each time the course is taught. In spring 2005 the topic will be “Private Video/Public Video.” Using a “learning by doing” approach we will artfully experiment with, explore, and ultimately challenge the conventional and mainstream theatrical notions of the moving image medium. Through screenings, readings, and production assignments we will examine the history of avant-garde moving image making and experiment with digital technologies. Students will initially work independently on creative assignments dealing with first person perspectives that examine the cultural construction(s) of self. Later they will work in small groups to research the history of and the artists within video performance/installation. The final project will utilize video within an installation and/or performance that takes place within a public place.

Requisite: English 82 (or its equivalent). Limited to 15 students. Admission with consent of the instructor.time tba

 

ENGLISH 92 PHOTOGRAPHY AND THE PHOTOGRAPHIC

Professor Duerfahrd

TTh 2-3:20

This course surveys the history of photography: its origins, movements, styles, and artist figures. We will explore the range of personal and political purposes of the photograph in documentary, crime scenes, medicine, legal identity, portraiture, war reportage, aerial surveillance, colonization, pornography, journalism, and advertisement. Particular attention will be given to the work of Atget, Nadar, Anonymous, WeeGee, Cartier-Bresson, Stieglitz, Frank, Winogrand, Kruger, Arbus, and Mapplethorpe. Periods under examination include the New Realism, the Photo-Secession, Surrealism, Postmodernism, and the Direct Style. The specific goal of the class will be for students to discover a way to relate to photographs and to develop ways of speaking and writing about them. Works by Sontag, Benjamin, Barthes, and writings by the photographers will help us learn to understand the photographic moment in an analytical and creative fashion. The more general ambition of the class will be to explore questions of evidence, blur, focus, the caption, memory and nostalgia. We will raise these issues through our investigation of both the evolution of photography and of other media in which the photographic effect is readable: in painting (the photo-realists, Warhol and Richter), film (Antonioni, Marker, and Farocki), and literature (Sebald and Breton).

 

FRENCH 61 EUROPEAN FILM

Professor Caplan.

MW 12:30-1:50

A study of issues concerning European film, with a particular focus announced each time the course is offered. In the spring of 2005, the course will provide an introduction to French film from the 1930s to the present. Among the directors and films to be covered are: Jean Renoir (Grand Illusion, Rules of the Game), Marcel Carné (Hotel du Nord), Jean-Pierre Melville (Bob le flambeur), Alain Resnais (Hiroshima mon amour, Last Year at Marienbad), François Truffaut (The 400 Blows), Jean-Luc Godard (Breathless, My Life to Live, Contempt), Robert Bresson, Agns Varda, Chantal Akerman, Leos Carax (Lovers on the Bridge) and Mathieu Kassovitz (Hate). The course will also serve as an introduction to film analysis. Conducted in English.

 

GERMAN 47 WEIMAR CINEMA: THE “GOLDEN AGE” OF GERMAN FILM

Professor Rogowski.

TTh 2:00-3:20

This course examines the German contribution to the emergence of film as both a distinctly modern art form and as a product of mass culture. The international success of Robert Wiene’s Expressionist phantasmagoria, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), heralded the beginning of a period of unparalleled artistic exploration, prior to the advent of Hitler, during which the ground was laid for many of the filmic genres familiar today: horror film (F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu), detective thriller (Fritz Lang’s M), satirical comedy (Ernst Lubitsch’s The Oyster Princess), psychological drama (G.W. Pabst’s Pandora’s Box), science fiction (Lang’s Metropolis), social melodrama (Pabst’s The Joyless Street), historical costume film (Lubitsch’s Passion), political propaganda (Slatan Dudow’s Kuhle Wampe), anti-war epic (Pabst’s Westfront 1918), documentary montage (Walther Ruttmann’s Berlin–Symphony of a Big City), and the distinctly German genre of the “mountain film” (Leni Riefenstahl’s The Blue Light). Readings, including Siegfried Kracauer, Walter Benjamin, Lotte H. Eisner, Béla Balzs, and Rudolf Arnheim, will address questions of technology and modernity, gender relations after World War I, the intersection of politics and film, and the impact of German and Austrian exiles on Hollywood. Conducted in English, with German majors required to do a substantial portion of the reading in German.

 

GERMAN 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 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, WWW) 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, digital media and Internet 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 Ballett Mécanique, and Kurt Jooss’ Der Grüne Tisch, will also be screened. Conducted in English, with German majors required to do a substantial portion of the reading in German.

 

RUSSIAN 29 RUSSIAN AND SOVIET FILM

Professor J. Taubman

TTh 11:30-12:50

Lenin declared “Cinema is the most important art” and the young Bolshevik regime threw its support behind a brilliant group of film pioneers (Eisenstein, Vertov, Kuleshov, Pudovkin, Dovzhenko) who worked out the fundamentals of film language. Under Stalin, historical epics and musical comedies, not unlike those produced in Hollywood, became the favored genres. The innovative Soviet directors of the sixties and seventies (Tarkovsky, Parajanov, Abuladze, Muratova) moved away from politics and even narrative toward “film poetry.” Post-Soviet Russian cinema has struggled to define a new identity, and may finally be succeeding. This course will introduce the student to the great Russian and Soviet film tradition. Frequent short writing assignments. Conducted in English. Two class meetings and one or two required screenings a week.

 

THEATER AND DANCE 50 VIDEO AND PERFORMANCE

Professor Woodson.

TTh 2-4

This course will give students an opportunity to explore various relationships between live performance and video. Experiments will include creating short performance pieces and/or choreography specifically designed for the video medium; creating short pieces that include both live performance and projected video; and creating short experimental video pieces that emphasize a sense of motion in their conceptualization and realization. Techniques and languages from dance and theater composition will be used to expand and inform approaches to video production and vice-versa. Sessions include studio practice (working with digital cameras and Final Cut Pro digital editing) and regular viewing and critiques. Students will work both independently and in collaborative teams according to interest and expertise.

Requisite: Previous experience in theater, dance, music composition, and/or video production or consent of the instructor. Limited to 10 students.