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Cinema Studies

CIN270 Introduction to Cinema Studies

Though it's barely a century old, the medium of cinema has quickly become one of the most popular and influential of all the arts, and has played a major role in shaping modern civilization. Because it shares many of the main qualities of novels (it tells stories); of painting (it involves framed images); of theater (actions are presented before an audience); and even of dreams (it gives us fantasies while we relax in the dark), cinema is also perhaps the richest of all art forms. This course surveys the first 100 years of movie making with emphasis on four related issues: the characteristics of the cinema medium; cinema history; authorship in literature and film; and implications of cinema as a cultural institution. Films may include foreign and American films of both the silent and the sound eras.

CIN370 Selected Topics in Cinema Studies

Cinema is often considered the most significant art form of the 20th century. Because of its importance and complexity, there are many ways of approaching films. They may be seen as escapist fantasies with a powerful influence on people's lives; as expressions of the attitudes of a culture; as works of art shaped by a great director; or as commercial and industrial products. Focuses on one or another of this wide range of subjects. In recent years, topics have included: The Films of Alfred Hitchcock; Feminism and Film; Horror Movies; European Art Cinema; and Romantic Comedy. Allows repetition for credit.

CIN371 Great Directors

This course focuses on the work of a single director or a group of related directors, investigating their characteristic themes and concerns, and their special ways of using the medium of cinema to tell a story. One recent version of this course was devoted entirely to Hitchcock; a second examined four great directors: Fellini, Bergman, Truffaut and Altman. Other directors to whom the course might be devoted include: Wilder, Lang and Lubitsch; Scorsese, Ford and Hawks; and Orson Welles.

CIN372 Genre Studies

This course, focusing on a single genre, will be concerned with identifying the characteristic themes and techniques of specific genres, and exploring the meaning of different genres and the function that these genres play in organizing our social or psychic lives. The specific genre studied will very from year to year and will include such significant genres as mysteries, westerns, musicals, Film Noir, comedy and romantic comedy and horror.

CIN375 Women and Film

This course focuses on the major contributions that women have made to cinema, as characters in the stories being told, as actresses playing the parts, as filmmakers directing and producing films, and as critics who have, in the past 30 years, substantially reshaped the way we think about, talk about, and even make films. The specific emphasis will vary from semester to semester, but each version of this course will pay special attention to the issue of gender in cinema.

CIN376 International Cinema

This course focuses on one of the wide varieties of important national cinemas or film movements that have played a major role in the development of film as a virtually universal artistic language. Topics to which the course might be devoted include German Expressionism; Soviet Cinema and Montage Theory; Post-war Italian Cinema, Rosellini through Bertolucci and beyond; the French New Wave; Japanese Cinema; and Bollywood and the development of film in India.

CIN378 Hollywood Genres: Classical Forms and Contemporary Re-Inventions

This course focuses on the historical forms of Hollywood genres from the classical period of the studio system in the 1930s to the present. Class readings consider the different factors that define genres in particular cases, such as the production standards that shaped Westerns, the thematic and stylistic features that characterize film noir, and the reception patterns that exemplify cult film. The course material also examines the specific ways that different genres create audience expectations and promote particular interpretive strategies. In general, the class will look at two examples of each genre, a film from the studio period and a contemporary example. Class discussions will focus on what features characterize the earlier film, and what changes (if any) are evident in contemporary instance.

CIN380 The Male Image in American Film

This course examines how masculinity functions in cinematic narratives centered on Hollywood's "leading men." Students identify and critique notions about what makes a male protagonist heroic, or even more simply what makes him a functional citizen. This critique necessarily leads to a larger discussion about the evolving concepts of American culture, and how and why mainstream film champions the popular cultural impulse of rebellion. The course emphasizes the theoretical approaches of formalism (close reading) and deconstruction to relate a gendered reading of each character to these larger social concerns. Films examined may include "High Noon", "Strangers on a Train", "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", "Midnight Cowboy", "The Shining", "American Beauty", and "Collateral."

CIN381 Wonder Women (formerly )

From the preternatural strength of Buffy Summers to the sultry confidence of Jackie Brown, heroic women characters often have a profound and lasting impact on the cultural imagination. But when is "girl power" really challenging staid notions about gender roles, and when does it simply serve as a fantasy reinscription of old premises about women as servants, caregivers or sex objects? This course applies these critical concerns to a number of heroic, superheroic and antiheroic women characters in television and cinema.

CIN382 The City in American Film

This course examines the image of the city in American film. Close attention is paid to issues of race and sexual orientation amid the multiple, sometimes conflicting, portrayals of urban centers as places of refuge and violence, liberalism and intolerance, prosperity and poverty. While setting provides the conceptual theme of the course, students are invited to analyze these films from the widest possible array of perspectives, grounded in the critical approaches relevant to the discipline of cinema studies and interpretation of narrative meanings.

CIN383 Youth Culture in International Cinema

Note: Formerly taught under CIN 376.

This course is a focused study of youth cultures in international cinema. We study films primarily as documents of youth culture: as explorations of the ways in which youth occupy urban and non-urban spaces, how they experience the local and the international, and how their identities and lives are represented in media, old and “new.” Assigned films will function as case studies enabling discussion of major issues: youth self-fashioning and identities, family, tradition and social change, violence, gang culture, fashion, technology, education, poverty, gender and sexuality. Our study of the films will be supplemented by extended scholarly essays that add depth and context, framing our study within broader critical discourses on culture and within scholarship in transnational film studies..

CIN401 Directed Study in CIN Studies

A Directed Study is designed for highly qualified students who, under the direction of a member of the sponsoring academic department, engage in an agreed upon, in-depth independent examination, investigation or analysis of a specialized topic.