UMASS AMHERST  Film & Video Course Guide 

FALL 2008  (updated 4/5/08)

 

 

ANTH 106  CULTURE THROUGH FILM

71137  Tu 5:00PM - 9:00PM      Grayson Dormitory room 104

Enoch Page                  Cap 30

Exploration of different societies and cultures, and of the field of cultural anthropology through the medium of film. Ethnographic and documentary films; focus on gender roles, ethnicity, race, class, religion, politics, and social change.  (Gen.Ed. SB, G)  Open to Culture & Society RAP - Webster students only.

Five College Film Studies Major category:  6

 

ANTH 306  VISUAL ANTHROPOLOGY

77361  Tu-Th 11:15- 12:30  lecture/discussion,

78429  W 5:30-8:00 screening

Jacqueline Urla             Cap 20

This course examines the politics and poetics of visual representation in the field of anthropology, focusing primarily, but not exclusively, on the moving image.  We will consider the earliest forms of ethnographic displays in World’s Fairs, popular forms of representing non-western peoples and the various approaches anthropologists have developed for ethnographic film.

Lecture/discussion. Film screenings, film journal and essay exams.

Prerequisite: ANTHRO 104 or 106

Five College Film Studies Major category:  6

 

CHINESE  136 INTRO TO CHINESE CINEMA

78326  TuTh 11:15AM - 12:30PM          TBA    

78327  We 3:35PM - 5:30PM     Tobin Hall room 304

En Hua Zhang                           Cap 30

Chinese cinema, broadly defined to include films from Hong Kong and Taiwan, from its inception at the turn of the century to the present. Explores Chinese film as an art form, an instrument of political propaganda, and a medium of mass entertainment. No background required, although some knowledge of modern Chinese history is helpful. Conducted in English.  (Gen.Ed. AT, G)

Five College Film Studies Major category:  5

 

COMM 231:  FILM & TELEVISION PRODUCTION CONCEPTS

72474  TuTh 2:30PM - 3:45PM Herter Hall room 231    

Bruce Geisler                Cap 150

Lecture, discussion.  This class provides an overview of film and television production principles and processes from script to screen and also prepares students for later hands-on production courses. We will explore both the art and craft of film and video production, including the roles and functions of the major creative and technical personnel in the scripting/ pre-production, production and post-production phases. Technical aspects such as digital vs. analog media, lighting, lenses, types of film and videotape, crew organization and function, editing concepts, sound recording, etc. will be discussed, as well as creative functions such as dramatic and documentary structure, creating characters, acting for the screen, visualization and composition for the camera and more.  

Course Eligibility*: Open to COMM & Undeclared majors, or to students who have already taken COMM 118 or 121.

Course Notes:   Formerly numbered COMM 297D.  If you have already taken COMM 297D you cannot take this course.  Honors Colloquium available.

Five College Film Studies Major category:  8

 

 

COMM 240:  MODES OF FILM COMMUNICATION

72475  TuTh 11:15AM - 12:30PM          Herter Hall room 231 

72476  Tu 7:00PM - 9:30PM      Herter Hall room 231

Shimpach  410 Machmer                       Cap 150

Lecture, lab (screening).  The nature and functions of film, including narrative and non-narrative approaches to film communication.  Topics will include: the components of film expression (composition, movement, editing, sound, directing, and acting); designs in screen narrative; film's relationship to other arts and media; and the role of film as an instrument of social reflection and change.  

Course Eligibility*: Open to Seniors, Juniors & Sophomores only.

Five College Film Studies Major category:  1

 

COMM 296F:  INDSTU-FILM FESTIVAL

Ciecko  306 Machmer               Cap 50

72480  We 7:00PM - 10:00PM   School of Management rm 137

*1-credit Mandatory Pass/Fail course.  Does NOT count toward the UMass Film Studies Certificate

Film screening.  This semester's festival colloquium will be held in conjunction with the Arab Cinema Panorama series. To earn 1 credit (pass/fail), students are required to attend at least 7 festival events and complete surveys at the end of the screenings. 

Course Eligibility*:   All majors; no prerequisites

 

COMM 331:  PROGRAM PROCESS IN TELEVISION  

Staff                             Cap 12 x 3 sections = 36

Course Director:  David Maxcy, 120 South College

72387  We 10:10AM - 11:00AM, location TBA

72388  Mo 1:25PM - 4:25PM     South College room 120

72389  We 1:25PM - 4:25PM     South College room 120

72390  Fr 9:05AM - 12:05PM     South College room 120

Lecture, studio. Introduction to concepts and techniques of television production, through lectures, lab exercises, and guided production projects.   All 3 sections will meet together once a week for a 50-minute lecture with the course director.    Each section (@12 students) will then meet once a week for a 3-hour lab session. 

Course Eligibility*:  Open to Senior, Junior & Sophomore Communication majors

Five College Film Studies Major category:  8

 

COMM 340:  FILM HISTORY I

Norden  409 Machmer               Cap 50

72391  TuTh 2:30PM - 3:45PM Machmer Hall room E-37

72392  Tu 4:00PM - 6:00PM      Machmer Hall room E-37

Lecture, lab (screening).  A survey of key events and representative films that mark the history of motion pictures in the United States and other countries to 1950.  In addition to identifying and providing access to major works, the course is designed to facilitate the study of the various influences (industrial, technological, aesthetic, social, cultural, and political) that have shaped the evolution of the medium to the advent of television. Course Eligibility*:  Open to Senior & Junior Communication majors

Five College Film Studies Major category:  2

 

COMM 397B:  SPECIAL TOPIC-INTRODUCTION TO STUDIO DIRECTING

Maxcy  120 South College                     Cap 10

72463  Tu 11:15AM - 3:15PM    Herter TV Studio

Lecture, studio.  Students will learn basic concepts and techniques of studio television production, with a focus on directing live programs in a full-scale studio facility on the UMASS campus.  The course includes lecture presentations, production exercises, script-writing projects, and studio production projects.   Each student will write, produce, and direct two live studio productions.

Course Eligibility*:  Open to Senior, Junior & Sophomore Communication majors only.

Course Notes:  If have taken COMM 433 you CANNOT take this course. 

Five College Film Studies Major category:  8

 

COMM 397UU:  SPECIAL TOPIC-WOMEN IN DOCUMENTARIES

Ades   406 Machmer                 Cap 25

78086  Th 4:00PM - 6:55PM, location TBA        

Lecture, discussion.  This course examines women in documentary film--as subjects and as storytellers. How does gender influence filmmaking? How and why are particular stories told? Why are women drawn to non-fiction filmmaking?  How does documentary film provide a voice for marginalized topics? With these questions in mind, we explore the history of women in non-fiction film, methods and approaches to documentary filmmaking, and how social, political and cultural movements have shaped and been shaped by women’s storytelling.  Among the issues and themes addressed by the films screened in this course are: health and environment, beauty and body image, sexuality, popular culture, coming of age, mothers and daughters, war and human rights. Film selections range from Leni Riefenstahl’s Olympiad to Kate Davis’s Southern Comfort to Barbara Kopple’s Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing.  Course Eligibility*:  Open to Senior & Junior Communication majors only

Course Notes:  Other students may take the course with the permission of the instructor.

Five College Film Studies Major category:  4

 

COMM 441:  PRINCIPLES & TECHNIQUES OF FILM-STYLE PRODUCTION

Geisler  411 Machmer               Cap 12

72399  We 2:30PM - 6:25PM     South College room 108

Lecture, studio.  A hands-on introduction to single-camera filmmaking using digital video camcorders (electronic field production) and non-linear (computer-based) editing.  Students will learn concepts of pre-production, shot composition, lighting, visual storytelling, continuity editing, and production & post production audio as they plan, shoot and edit exercises and complete projects.  A "real world" editing project (scenes from an episode of "Highlander") will also be included.  Students are cautioned that the workload for this course is very heavy and deadline driven. 

Course Eligibility*:  Open to Senior & Junior Communication majors

Course Prerequisites:  COMM 297D/231 or COMM 331 or permission of instructor.

Course Notes:  Junior and Senior COMM majors who have completed either COMM 231 (formerly COMM 297D) or COMM 331 may add this course through Spire.  Others may add only by permission of the instructor.

Five College Film Studies Major category:  8

 

COMM 493E/1:   SEMINAR-SCREENWRITING  

Norden  409 Machmer                           Cap 20

72400  TuTh 9:30AM - 10:45AM           South College room 108

Lecture, discussion.  An examination of the art, craft, and business of screenwriting from theoretical and practical perspectives.  Topics include screenplay format and structure, story, plot and character development, dialog and scene description, visual storytelling, pace and rhythm, analysis of professional and student scripts and films, and more.  Written work includes three screenwriting projects.  The focus is on writing for narrative films and, to a limited extent, TV programs. 

Course Eligibility*:  Open to Senior & Junior Communication majors only.

Five College Film Studies Major category:  8

 

COMM 493E/2:  SEMINAR-SCREENWRITiNG

Geisler  411 Machmer               Cap 20

77408  TuTh 11:15AM - 12:30PM, location TBA

Lecture, discussion.  An examination of the art, craft, and business of screenwriting from theoretical and practical perspectives.  Topics include screenplay format and structure, story, plot and character development, dialog and scene description, visual storytelling, pace and rhythm, analysis of professional and student scripts and films, and more.  Written work includes three screenwriting projects.  The focus is on writing for narrative films and, to a limited extent, TV programs.  

Course Eligibility*:  Open to Senior & Junior Communication majors only.

Five College Film Studies Major category:  8

 

COMM 497OO:  SPECIAL TOPIC-ARAB CINEMA

Ciecko  306 Machmer               Cap 25

77411  TuTh 1:00PM - 2:15PM, location TBA

Lecture, lab, discussion.  This film studies course focuses on diverse cinematic productions from Arab states and communities—including Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, and diasporic Arab filmmaking in North America and Europe. Readings and lecture material will address historical background and development of Arab cinemas with emphasis on contemporary trends; aesthetics and formal strategies of narrative filmmaking (including the important relationships between cinema and other cultural forms such as music, literature, visual arts, and oral storytelling); and modes of production, exhibition, distribution, and audience/reception. Topics to be discussed also include cultural politics and state policies; multiethnicity, religion, and language/dialect; national and pan-Arab/transnational identities; gender issues; Orientalism and media stereotypes; colonialism, postcolonialism and neocolonialism; film financing, international co-productions, regional film markets, cross-over audiences, and international film festivals as showcases for Arab cinema. The emphasis in this course will be on Arab feature films (a sampling of vintage classics, and numerous commercially-produced and independent contemporary features), but we will also examine some narrative and experimental shorts and documentary work. 

Course Eligibility*:  Open to Seniors & Juniors

Five College Film Studies Major category:  5, 7

 

COMLIT 381 SELF-REFLEXIVE AVANT-GARDE FILM

(AT) Levine                  Cap 120

Lec. 1 – M 3:35-7:00 – Levine, location TBA

Dis. 1 – Tu 2:30-3:45, location TBA

Dis. 2 – Tu 2:30-3:45, location TBA

Dis. 3 – Tu 4:00-5:15, location TBA

Dis. 4 – Tu 7:00-8:15, location TBA

Lecture, discussion.  Explores modern origin of film experimentation in avant-garde modes such as Expressionism, Surrealism and contemporary results of this heritage.  Trying to determine if film is the most resolutely modern of the media, we'll look at cinema as the result of two obsessive concerns:  1) the poetic, dreamlike and fantastic, 2) the factual, realistic and socially critical or anarchistic.  Thus, we'll attempt to discover how modern culture deals with avant-garde imperatives to always "make it new.”  Films and filmmakers such as Breathless (Godard), My Own Private Idaho (Lang), The American Soldier (Fassbinder), others.  Requirements:  one 5-page paper for midterm, ten-page final paper or project; attendance.

Five College Film Studies Major category:  4, 6

 

COMLIT 381H SELF-REFLEXIVE AVANT-GARDE FILM (Honors section)

(AT) Levine                  Cap 6

Lec. 1 – M 3:35-7:00 , location TBA

Dis. 1 – tu 2:30-5:30, location TBA

 Levine Commonwealth College Honors section

We will apply ourselves to the problem of vision itself as an acquired skill, learning to distinguish the various ways in which Hollywood normative cinema has constructed a code both visual and narrative which we accept, uncritically, as the standard by which reality gets transposed to the screen.  This code is examined – how it differs from what we actually see with the “naked” eye and how it, in turn, influences what we see (what we can see, what we look for) in the world.  Various forms of avant-garde film are examined so that we come to imagine how it might be otherwise (films by directors such as Dreyer, Lang, Man Ray, Bunuel, Vertov, Godard, Fassbinder, Egoyan, and Van Sent).  Students will attend a large lecture and film screening: (once a week) and the next day, an intensive seminar-style section of 2-3 hours.  Here we present and discuss new material, some from readings, and, occasionally, screenings of additional films and film clips.  The course is incremental and there is thus, an absolute attendance requirement.   There will be a take-home mid-term essay (5 pages) and final essay (10 pages), two 2-page analyses of specific shots or scenes.  This course differs from ComLit 381 in the length of the section (2-3 hours per week instead of 75 minutes), extra work-load and additional readings.  Recommended only for students (at all levels) who have a keen interest in film.

Five College Film Studies Major category:  4, 6

 

COMLIT 385 RUSSIAN THEMES IN WORLD CINEMA

Dienes, 405 Herter Hall             Cap 30

Lec. 1 – M 7:00-10:00, location TBA

Dis. 1 Tu 2:30-3:45, location TBA

Lecture/screening/discussion.  A general introduction to the art of cinema through Russian themes in Western films (mostly American, French, and Italian) inspired by Russian culture, particularly by Russian literary works from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  Some emphasis also on selected contemporary themes (violence, youth culture, race and gender issues), and on comparisons of Russian and Western approaches to film art.  Requirements include electronic quizzes, short papers, and presentations. Prerequisites: none other than an OIT computer account; no prior knowledge of things Russian (language, history, literature) is expected.  A significant portion of the course will use resources on the Web; students will be expected to do some of the coursework electronically.

Five College Film Studies Major category:  5

 

COMLIT 499D CAPSTONE COURSE

Levine, 428 Herter Hall                         Cap 12

Eligibility; Junior And Senior Honors Students Only

Lec. 1 – M 3:35-7:00, location TBA

Dis. 1 Tu 2:30-5:30, location TBA

This 6-credit Capstone Course fulfills the Commonwealth college culminating- experience requirement.    We apply ourselves to the problem of cinematic vision as both process and acquired skill. We learn to distinguish the ways in which Hollywood normative cinema has constructed a visual language which we accept, uncritically, as the look reality has when screened. In turn, this "look" is examined to see how it differs from what we may see with the “naked” eye, and how it informs what we, see (what we can see, what we look for) in the world. Recommended for students who have a keen interest in film. Students attend a large lecture and film screening (once a week), an intensive seminar-style section of 2-3 hours the next day, on Thursday a film-making component for 3 hours. There will be a take-home mid-term essay (six pages) and final essay (ten pages), a two page scene analysis, and an intensive final film project (20 minutes). Students investigate aspects of film-making (such as shot formation, camera movement, editing approaches) by collaboratively exploring a range of expressive -possibilities on video. Working in groups of three or four, students start off the semester alternating roles of writer/director, camera -person, editor, etc., in constructing brief scenes. No prior film experience necessary. This 6 credit course may qualify students for high Latin Honors, if they have fulfilled other specific requirements. See a Commonwealth College advisor for more information. Preference in registration given to seniors using this course toward their culminating experience requirement, others as space permits. Contact Commonwealth College 504 Goodell to register.

Five College Film Studies Major category:  4,6,7, 8

 

FRENCHST  350 FRENCH FILM

73661 Mo 3:30PM - 6:00PM, lecture      Herter Hall room 227     Donald Maddox             Cap 120

73662  Tu 9:30AM - 10:45AM   location TBA    Staff

73663  Tu 11:15AM - 12:30PM location TBA     Staff

73664  Tu 1:00PM - 2:15PM      location TBA    Staff

73665  Tu 2:30PM - 3:45PM      location TBA    Staff

Taught entirely in English with no assumption of prior knowledge of French, this course is a survey of the historical development of French cinema from its beginnings around 1895 to the present, with emphasis on works from the New Wave movement of the late 1950s forward.  Among the selections for screening are films from France as well as from other Francophone countries.  Several new films will also receive special attention.  All films shown are subtitled in English.  A special Honors section is available for

students who wish to earn one extra credit and complete a project in French.  (Gen.Ed. AT)

Five College Film Studies Major category:  5

 

GERMAN 304  FROM BERLIN TO HOLLYWOOD

78436 time, location TBA

78437  Mo 6:00PM - 9:00PM     Hasbrouck Laboratory room 134           

Barton Byg                   Cap 30

A survey of prewar German cinema, including works of great directors who emigrated to the U.S., such as Lang, Murnau, and Lubitsch, followed by the Nazi cinema, post-war cinema in both German states, and in the international media context since German reunification.  Conducted in English. (Gen.Ed. AT)

Five College Film Studies Major category:  5

 

MUSIC 170H MUSIC IN FILM

76882  TuTh 2:30PM - 3:45PM Fine Arts Center rm 157           

Roger Rideout               Cap 25

The use of music in film, a "grand tour" of the aesthetics and dramatic techniques of film music since 1895.  Excerpts from "silent era" and sound films will be viewed and studied as examples of film music development and the composer's art.  (Gen.Ed. AT)

Restrictions:  Explorations Honors RAP

Five College Film Studies Major category:  6

 

SPANISH 497PP ST-SPANISH CINEMA: FROM BUNUEL TO ALMODOVAR

75971  TuTh 4:00PM - 6:30PM location  TBA    

Jose Ornelas                 Cap 35

Description TBA

Five College Film Studies Major category:  5

 

************************************************************************

<<  FALL 2008  GRADUATE FILM & VIDEO COURSES – UMASS AMHERST  >>

************************************************************************

 

COMLIT 695A  INTERNATIONAL FILM NOIR 

Levine

W 3:35-7:35, location TBA

Lecture.  Often referred to as the only indigenous American film style, "film noir" in its very appellation reveals that its major effects (for certain modern conceptions of cinema) lay elsewhere.  We will examine film noir in its American heyday (1945-1957) and how it came to be a major propelling force in the new European cinema of the 1960's (Godard, and the Cahiers du cinema).  How film noir displaces American social mores and their constitution of "reality" within the imaginary and symbolic fields, and within the symptomatic concretization of those fields that is normative (dominant) cinema.  How film noir both makes film different and allows already latent difference to be manifested.   How film noir takes shape in the U.S. as expression of the inexpressible (and the ‘unheimlich”) or, at least, of the allusion to it; which in the lens and on the screen of directors such as Godard and Fassbinder becomes pseudomorphic, presenting a critique of American imperialism both public (political) and private (psychic) – the American way of death and love (or, as the title of one work would have it, Love & Napalm: Export USA). Films by:  American directors such as Aldritch, Ray, Fuller, Kubrick, Welles; Foreign agents such as Lang, Ophuls, Siodmak, Sirk, Von Sternberg; European directors such as Godard, Fassbinder, Wenders.  Prerequisite: 2 prior film courses or permission of

Instructor.