Film History and Theory Office: Annenberg 132
Fall 2006 Phone: 14812
Tuesdays, 5:10-9:00 Office Hours: Tues. 10-noon, or by appt
This course surveys the body of critical cinema studies scholarship in order to give an introduction to the positions, issues, and concerns of film theory and film history. It comprises three parts. The first will examine central concepts in film theory, particularly what has come to be known as 70s film theory: concepts such as realism, spectatorship, narrative space, and textual contradiction. The second will follow more recent trends in film theory which have been taken up by mediamakers themselves. Examining themes of time, the body and the archive, we will juxtapose the critical scholarship with the experimental, documentary and even narrative work that thematizes them. The third section surveys the history of cinema, with an eye to how film historians approach the cinema. Each week will offer a different case study that both ties to larger historical narrative of the development of cinema and also offers a chance to look at film scholarship in its historical specificity.
Kristin Thompson and David Bordwell, Film History
Mary Ann Doane, Emergence of Cinematic Time
Donald Crafton, The Talkies: American Cinema's Transition to Sound
Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen, Film Theory and Criticism, fifth or sixth edition (suggested)
Philip Rosen, Change Mummified (suggested)
Additional readings by electronic reserve
In addition to in-class screenings, students will be asked to watch the following on their own time, according to their own schedule, by the dates listed:
9/12 Klute (Alan Pakula, 1971, 114m)
9/26 any Douglas Sirk film – All That Heaven Allows (Sirk, 1955, 89m) is a good starting place
10/10 any Italian neorealist film
10/31 Forrest Gump (Robert Zemeckis, 1994, 142m), if one has not seen before
11/7 Fall of the House of Usher (Jean Epstein, 1928, 63m)
11/28 …And God Created Woman (Roger Vadim, 1956, 92m)
The syllabus and relevant class material will be posted on BLACKBOARD. Students should check the course blackboard posting on a weekly basis for course updates and changes.
The main project and assignment of the seminar will be a substantial body of writing. Students have the choice of A) one 20-page seminar paper due at the end of semester, with an annotated bibliography due earlier; or B) two 10-page shorter papers, one due at semester-end, one due earlier, each with a shorter bibliography. The paper or papers will comprise the majority (70%) of the final grade. Details on topics and due dates will be forthcoming as the semester progresses.
Discussion is the mainstay of the seminar. Up to two absences are allowed; however, I urge full attendance and regular participation. The remainder (30%) of the final grade will come from class participation and weekly response papers on one of each week’s readings (marked with asterisks below – subject to change). I will allow for two missed response papers; otherwise papers should be sent electronically to the instructor by Monday noon. The first week’s can be brought in hard copy to the September 5 class.
It is Temple University’s policy to provide reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities under the American Disabilities Act (ADA). At the beginning of each semester, any student with a disability should inform the course instructor if instructional accommodations or academic adjustments will be needed. For more information about the ADA and academic accommodations or adjustments, contact the Office of Disability Resources and Services (215-204-1280 or http://www.temple.edu/disability/).
1. The Emergence of Classical Narrative
Thomas Edison shorts (W.K.L. Dickson, Billy Bitzer, or Edwin S. Porter cameraman/director, US)
1894-1985: Edison kinetoscopic record of a sneeze, January 7, 1894
Imperial Japanese dance
Fire rescue scene
Dickson experimental sound film
Annabelle serpentine dance
The execution of Mary, Queen of Scots
1896-1897: The John C. Rice-May Irwin kiss
Fatima, muscle dancer
Inventor Edison sketched by world artist
Watermelon eating contest
The lone fisherman
Feeding the doves
A morning bath
Mounted police charge
1901-1902: What happened on Twenty-Third Street, New York City (1 min., 30 sec.) –
Trapeze disrobing act (2 min.)
The burning of Durland's Riding Academy (3 min., 30 sec.)
1903: Electrocuting an elephant (1 min., 30 sec.)
The life of an American fireman (7 min.)
The gay shoe clerk (1 min.)
What happened in the tunnel (1 min.)
The great train robbery (12 min.)
1904-1905: How a French nobleman got a wife through the New York Herald personal columns (9 min.)
Coney Island at night (4 min.)
1907: The "Teddy" bears (14 min.)
The Country Doctor (D.W. Griffith, 1909, 14m)
The Lonedale Operator (D.W. Griffith, 1911, 17m)
Thompson/Bordwell, FH, ch.1-2
NoĎl Burch, “Primitivism and the Avant-Garde” *
Machorka-Muff (Jean-Marie Straub, 1962, 18m)
Gertrud (Carl-Theodor Dreyer, 1964, 120m)
Eisenstein, from Film Form (FTC)
Eisenstein, "Dickens, Griffith, and Ourselves" (FTC)
3. The Realist Text
Colin McCabe, "Realism in the Cinema: Some Brechtian Theses"
Christine Gledhill, "Klute: an Investigation" *
Christian Metz, "Story/Discourse, Two Kinds of Voyeurism"
Roland Barthes, from S/Z
4. Subject Position, Narration, and Spectatorship
Gilda (Charles Vidor, 1945, 110m)
Meshes of the Afternoon (Maya Deren, 1943, 18m)
Nick Browne, "Spectator-in-the-Text: Rhetoric of Stagecoach" (FTC)
Pascal Bonitzer, "Film and the Labyrinth"
Laura Mulvey, "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" (FTC)
Stephen Heath, "Narrative Space" *
Jacques Lacan, “The Mirror Stage…”
5. Melodrama, Contradiction
Musketeers of Pig Alley (D.W. Griffith, 1912, 17m)
Far From Heaven (Todd Haynes, 2002, 107m)
Paul Willemen, "Towards an Analysis of the Sirkian System", "Distanciation and Douglas Sirk"
Cahiers du Cinema, "Cinema/ Ideology/Criticism" (FTC)
Cinema Journal debate on Stella Dallas
Berthold Brecht, from Brecht on Theater
Rick Altman, "Dickens, Griffith and Film Theory Today" *
Pumping Iron II (George Butler, 1985, excerpt)
Seconds (John Frankenheimer, 1966, 100m)
Judith Butler, Bodies That Matter
Chris Holmlund, "Visible Difference and Flex Appeal" *
Richard Meyer, "Rock Hudson's Body"
Richard Dyer, "Marilyn Monroe" from Heavenly Bodies
Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (Sergio Martino, 1971, 94m)
Linda Williams, "Body Genres" *
Rick Altman, from Film/Genre
Carol Glover, “Her Body, Himself”
Menilmontant (Dimitri Kirsanoff, 1926, 38m)
Smiling Madame Beudet (Germaine Dulac, 1922, 53m)
Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929, excerpt)
Mary Ann Doane, The Emergence of Cinematic Time, selections TBD *
Alan Sekula, "The Body and the Archive"
Andre Gaudreault, "The Cinematograph" *
Philip Rosen, "Document and Documentary"
Pascal Bonitzer, "Silences of the Voice"
Hayden White, “The Value of Narrativity in the Representation of Reality”
A Movie (Bruce Conner, 1963-1967, 16mm, 13m)
Tribulation 99 (Craig Baldwin, 1991, 48m)
Point of Order (Emile de Antonio, 1964, 93m)
Fredric Jameson, "Postmodernism and Consumer Society" *
Jean Baudrillard, from Simulations
Michael Zryd, "Found Footage Film as Discursive Metahistory: Craig Baldwin's Tribulation 99"
Thomas Waugh, "Beyond Verite: Emile de Antonio and the New Documentary of the Seventies"
Troubles of a Grass Widower (Max Linder, 1908, 10m )
Judex (Louis Feuillade, 1912, episode, 30m)
Quai des Brumes (Marcel Carne, 1938, 91m)
Thompson/Bordwell, FH, ch. 3- 6, 13
Ernst Renan, "What is a Nation"
Benedict Anderson, from Imagined Communities
Andrew Higson, "The Concept of National Cinema" *
12. Industrial History: The Case of Sound's Arrival
The Jazz Singer (Alan Crosland, 1927, 88m)
Douglas Gomery, “Writing the History of the American Film Industry”
Thompson/Bordwell, FH, ch. 7, 9
Donald Crafton, The Talkies, selections TBD *
13. Economic Organization: Hollywood from Classicism to the New Hollywood
Out of the Past (Jacques Tourneur, 1947, 97m)
Thompson/Bordwell, FH, ch. 10, 15, 22, 27
Paul Kerr, "Out of What Past?"
Michael Conant, from Antitrust in the Motion Picture Industry
14. Art Cinema as Institution
Il Posto (Ermanno Olmi, 1961, 90m)
Steve Neale, "Art Cinema as Institution"
Thompson/Bordwell, FH, ch. 16 - 20
Mark Betz, "Name Below the (Sub)title" *
Thomas Guback, from The International Film Industry: Western Europe and America since 1945
Ceddo (Ousmane Sembene, 1977, 120m)
Philip Rosen, "Toward a Radical Historicity: Making a Nation in Sembene's Ceddo" *
Thompson/Bordwell, FH, ch. 23, 26, 28
Robert Stam and Louise Spence, "Colonialism, Racism and Representation" (FTC)