Five College Film & Video Course Guide

SMITH COLLEGE  Spring 2009

N.B.  This version of the Guide is a work in progress.  Please see the websites www.umass.edu/film or www.fivecolleges.edu/sites/film for revisions and additions.

(updated 11/3/08)

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ART 280: SOUTH ASIAN FILM & ART HISTORY: BOLLYWOOD: CINEMA OF INTERRUPTIONS

Ajay Sinha

TTh01:30-02:50                       Credits: 4

How should we respond to Indian popular films, which are notorious for their distracting song and dance numbers, meandering storylines, and visually overblown spectacles? This colloquium will approach Indian films as what film scholar Lalitha Gopalan has called a "constellation of interruptions." Through critical responses to scholarly articles, close analysis of feature films, group projects and written assignments, we will develop historical and theoretical perspectives for understanding the visual as a major “interruption” distinguishing these films in the context of world cinema. Permission of the instructor required. Enrollment limited to 18. (E)

UMass Film Studies Certificate category:  IIB

5College Film Studies Major requirement: 5 (core)

 

FLS 241 (01) GENRE/PERIOD: AMERICAN CINEMA & CULTURE FROM THE DEPRESSION TO THE SIXTIES

Alexandra Keller

TTh 10:30-11:50, Screenings T 7-11, Seelye 201         {A/H} 4 credits

This course explores the relationship between film and culture during some of the most crucial decades of “The American Century.”  It looks at the evolving connection between films and their audiences, the extent to which films are symptomatic of as well as influential on historical periods, major events and social movements, and the ways in which film genres evolve in relation to both cultural change and the rise and fall of the Hollywood studio system.  Among the questions we’ll consider: How did the Depression have an impact on Hollywood film style and form?  How were evolving ideas about American motherhood puzzled out in American cinema of the period?  What were some of the important differences between the way mainstream U.S. cinema and European film represented World War II?  How did Civil Rights and the Red Scare become appropriate topics for Westerns?  Did the lighthearted veneer of the fluffy sex comedies of the sixties actually hide some serious questions about labor, independent female subjectivity and heteronormativity? Particular and sustained attention will be paid to relations among gender and genre, as well as race and class.

UMass Film Studies Certificate category:  IIB

5College Film Studies Major requirement: 5 (core)

 

FLS241 (02) GENRE/PERIOD: SCREWBALL COMEDY

Margaret Bruzelius

MW 2:30-4, Seelye 201                       (E)  4 credits

Classic screwball comedies were produced in a ten-year period, roughly from Capra’s It Happened One Night (34) to Sturges’s Miracle at Morgan’s Creek (44).  The class will focus on 20 films from these years, although it will include four later films: Wilder’s Some Like It Hot (1959), Mann’s Lover Come Back (1962), and the Coen Brothers’ Oh Brother Where Art Thou? (2000) and Intolerable Cruelty (2003).  We will examine the extraordinary efflorescence of these highly verbal and amusing films in their historical context. 

UMass Film Studies Certificate category:  IIB

5College Film Studies Major requirement: 4  (core)

 

FLS 280  INTRODUCTION TO VIDEO PRODUCTION

Lucretia Knapp

M 1:10-4:00, T07:00-09:00                 {A}  4 credits

This video production course introduces the history and contemporary practice of video art and provides the technical and conceptual skills to complete creative individual video projects.  Over the course of the semester, students will gain experience in pre-production, production and post-production techniques.  Projects are designed to develop basic technical proficiency in the video medium as well as practical skills for the completion of the creative project.   Prerequisite:  200 (which may be taken concurrently) or permission of instructor.  Enrollment limited to 13.  Priority given to Smith College Film Studies Minors and Five College Film Studies Majors. 

UMass Film Studies Certificate category:  V

5College Film Studies Major requirement: 8 (core)

 

FILM STUDIES 282: ADVANCED VIDEO SEMINAR: SPECIAL EFFECTS IN FILM & VIDEO PRODUCTION

Lucretia Knapp

W 1:10-4:00, M07:00-09:00   

Topics course.

This advanced video seminar focuses on the moving image as it relates to illusion, special effects and their antecedents. We will screen films that are low budget, as well as those that are high-end and effects-driven. Discussion and screenings will include early in-camera effects, stop-motion animation, chroma-keying and present-day digital compositing, including the films A Trip to the Moon, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Jason and the Argonauts, Eraserhead, Ed Wood, Waking Life and The Science of Sleep. In addition to his narrative film work, we will consider the music videos of Michel Gondry and the compressed world of visual shorts. (In addition we will briefly engage with the virtual landscape of New Media.) Readings will examine the relationship between the development of selected imagery/special effects and contemporaneous historical or political events. This course also involves hands-on examination of visual manipulation. There will be group exercises as well as individual experimentation, and projects. A significant part of the class will involve shooting and editing, animating and compositing in Final Cut Pro. Prerequisite: FLS 280 or permission of the instructor. Enrollment limited to 13.

UMass Film Studies Certificate category:  V

5College Film Studies Major requirement: 8 (core)

 

FILM STUDIES 351: FILM THEORY

Alexandra Keller

T01:00-02:50, Seelye 312       

This seminar will explore central currents in film theory, including formalist, realist, auteurist, structuralist, psychoanalytic, feminist, poststructuralist, genre studies, queer studies and cultural studies approaches to questions regarding the nature, function, and possibilities of cinema. Film theory readings will be understood through the socio-cultural context in which they are developed. Particular attention will also be given to the history of film theory: how theories exist in conversation with each other, as well as how other intellectual and cultural theories influence the development, nature and mission of theories of the moving image. We will emphasize written texts (Bazin, Eisenstein, Kracauer, Vertov, Metz, Mulvey, DeLauretis, Doty, Hall, Cahiers du Cinema, the Dogme Collective, etc.), but will also look at instantiations of film theory that are themselves acts of cinema (Man with a Movie Camera, Rock Hudson's Home Movies, The Meeting of Two Queens). The course is designed as an advanced introduction and assumes no prior exposure to film theory. Fulfills film theory requirement for the major and minor. Priority given to seniors, then juniors. Enrollment limited to 12. Prerequisite: 200 or the equivalent. Priority given to Smith College Film Studies Minors and Five College Film Studies Majors. Priority given to senior, then juniors.

UMass Film Studies Certificate category:  IIA, IV

5College Film Studies Major requirement: 3, 7  (core)

 

FRENCH STUDIES 244: FRENCH CINEMA: "ON THE MOVE": RESTLESSNESS IN FRENCH CINEMA

Martine Gantrel-Ford

TTh10:30-11:50, M07:30-09:30                      Credits: 4  {A}{F}{L}

Even before the "road movie" became a cinematic genre, the French New Wave made restlessness its signature theme. In the first half of the term, we will explore how the French New Wave used restlessness both as a theme and a narrative device to frame the existential quest and the crisis of meaning experienced by its young and attractive protagonists.  In the second half of the semester, we will investigate the new meanings today's cinema has put on restlessness and the various ways in which it has built upon the formal innovations of the New Wave. Works by directors such as Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Agnes Varda, Claire Denis, and Manuel Poirier. Readings in film criticism and film history. Students will be encouraged to develop a specifically cinematic discourse through close analysis of individual films. Papers and weekly screenings required. Course taught in French. Prerequisite: FRN 230 or permission of the instructor.
UMass Film Studies Certificate category:  IIB

5College Film Studies Major requirement:  5  (core)

 

ITALIAN LANG & LITERATURE 280: ITALIAN CINEMA: ART MATTERS: THE POWER OF THE AESTHETIC IN ITALIAN CINEMA

Anna Botta

MW11:00-12:10, M07:00-09:00                     Credits: 4  {A}{L}

Examining Italian cinema from neorealism to today, this course will investigate how major directors have negotiated two apparently independent postwar traditions: the aesthetic of realism (which purports to show Italian society and landscape without embellishments) and that search for beauty and style which has historically characterized Italian civilization and become its trademark in today's global culture (Made in Italy). Directors include Amelio, Antonioni, Bertolucci, De Santis, De Sica, Germi, Moretti, Ozpetek, Pasolini, Visconti. Conducted in English.  Films with English subtitles.

UMass Film Studies Certificate category:  IIB

5College Film Studies Major requirement: 5  (core)

 

LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES 201: COLLOQUIUM IN LATIN AMERICAN & LATINO/A STUDIES: "THE BRONZE SCREEN": PERFORMING LATINA/O ON FILM AND IN LITERATURE

Nancy Sternbach

MW09:00-09:50          Credits: 4         {A}{L}

This course examines the representation of Latinas/os in contemporary film contrasted with contemporary Latina/o literature. One of our efforts will be to learn to cast a critical eye on those performances and the stereotypes portrayed in them and to articulate those experiences in written work. We will examine the special circumstances of each of the three main Latino groups, as well as contrast the dominant culture's portrayal of Latinas/os with their own self-representation both in literature and film. Questions of ethnicity, class, political participation, privilege and gender will also inform our readings and viewings. Class discussions will be in English, but bilingualism will be encouraged throughout the course.

UMass Film Studies Certificate category:  IIB

5College Film Studies Major requirement: 5, COMPONENT COURSE

 

SPANISH & PORTUGUESE 221: TOPICS IN PORTUGUESE & BRAZILIAN LITERATURE & CULTURE: ENVISIONING LUSOFONIA: A FOCUS ON FILM FROM THE PORTUGUESE-SPEAKING WORLD

Malcolm McNee

MWF01:10-02:30        Credits: 4         {A}{F}{L}

This course will introduce the intertwined histories and diverse cultures of Portuguese-speaking communities spread across three continents through a survey of films from Brazil, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, and Portugal. We will discuss through these films and a selection of short, critical readings, questions of colonialism and post-colonialism, immigration and diaspora, and the historical and contemporary contours of a Portuguese-language globalization. Course taught in Portuguese.

UMass Film Studies Certificate category:  IIB

5College Film Studies Major requirement: 5  (core)