Fall 2012 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
This course is designed to familiarize students with the history of cinema as a medium of expression and to enable them to become knowledgeable and sophisticated film viewers, evaluators, and cultural critics. Roughly eight weeks will be spent outlining the development of the major features and techniques of film as an art and a commercial mass medium (film form, narrative and narration, mise-en-scène and color, camerawork and cinematography, editing, sound). The remainder of the course will be devoted to exploring the many ways these elements have been employed by filmmakers working in Hollywood and elsewhere over the past hundred-plus years, through analysis of the meaning, significance, and theoretical basis of film genre; documentary filmmaking; European modes of production such as Italian neorealism, the French New Wave, art cinema; experimental filmmaking and the avant-garde; "independent production" and the post-studio American "blockbuster"; and the effect of digital technologies on film as a craft, a medium, and an ideological construct. Each class session will include both lecture and discussion components that consider the week's reading and screening assignments (most of which are classic or canonical films), and the approach to the material is primarily historical. This course is a prerequisite for all upper-level film courses.
David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson, Film Art: An Introduction, 7th edition (2004; ISBN 0072484551), 8th edition (2008; ISBN 0073310271), or 9th edition (2010; ISBN 9780073386164).
In addition, there are out-of-class screenings assigned throughout the semester (all films are available for viewing in the UTD library). These films are to be considered required texts as well. There are also some shorter additional readings that will be made available through eLearning.
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
One in-class exam, a presentation (performed with a partner), two critical papers (3-4 and 4-6 pages each), and consistent class attendance and participation in discussion.