FMA1172                                                                                       Course Instructor: Dr. Chris Cagle

Introduction to Film and Video Analysis                      

 

 

                                                     

What does it mean to "read" a film or video? How can we analyze moving image media in the manner that we interpret literary texts or appreciate form in the fine arts? What are the differences between film, video and these older media? How does film communicate meaning? This course introduces basic analytical tools and concepts to begin to answer these questions. It surveys the broad artistic, social and political dimensions of the cinema, with some attention to newer moving image media.

 

While not a historical survey or a film appreciation course of great "masterworks," screenings will be inclusive and broad, pulling examples from across historical eras, genres and national contexts. Whether challenging or entertaining, high art or popular culture, the examples will illustrate the nature and breadth of cinematic and video expression. Not all films and screenings will appeal to everyone or be equally entertaining, so students should approach all screenings with an open mind and a scholarly curiosity.

 

REQUIRED TEXT

Maria Pramaggiore and Tom Wallis, Film: A Critical Introduction 2nd ed. (FCI, for short, below)

Supplemental readings on Blackboard

 

SCHEDULE OF ASSIGNMENTS

 

W 1/20. Introduction

Screening:  Collateral (Michael Mann, US, 2004, 120m)

 

F 1/22. Lecture: Thematic Reading

FCI, chs. 1, 2: “Introduction,” “An Approach to Film Analysis”

Greg M. Smith, “It’s Just a Movie” (Blackboard)

 

M 1/25. Discussion Section

sample analysis of Collateral (Blackboard)

PLOT SYNOPSIS ASSIGNMENT DUE MONDAY, JANUARY 25

 

 

W 1/27. Lecture: Narrative Form

FCI, ch. 3, 4:  “Writing About Film” and “Narrative Form”

 

F 1/29.  Screening: Wall Street (Oliver Stone, US, 1988, 126m)

 

M 2/1.  Discussion Section

SCREENING NOTES DUE MONDAY, FEBRUARY 1

 

 

W 2/3. Lecture: Ideology / National Cinema

FCI, ch. 11: “Film and Ideology”

Roy Smith, from The Money Wars

Screening: War Game (Mai Zetterling, Sweden/UK, 1961, 15m)

 

F 2/5. Screening: La Ciénaga [The Swamp] (Lucrecia Martel, 2001, Argentina, 103m)

 

M 2/8.  Discussion Section

PAPER # 1 DUE MONDAY, FEBRUARY 8

 

 

W 2/10. Lecture: Sound Design / Types of Narrative

FCI, ch. 8, 10: “Sound” and “Social Context and Film Style”

Dominique Russell, “Lucrecia Martel - 'a decidedly polyphonic cinema'” (Blackboard)

TEST #1

 

F 2/12. Screening: Klute (Alan Pakula, US, 1971, 114m)

 

M 2/15. Discussion Section

 

 

W 2/17. Lecture: Cinematography I: Narrative Film Language

FCI, ch. 6, “Cinematography,” esp. pp. 134-163

FCI, chs. 5: “Mise-en-ScŹne” pp.

 

F 2/19. Screening: Workers Leaving the Factory (Lumiere Brothers, France, 1895, 1m); Trip to the Moon/Le Voyage dans la Lune (George Melies, France, 1902, 14m); Laura (Otto Preminger, US, 1944, 88m)

 

M 2/22.  Discussion Section

sample analysis of Collateral and Klute (Blackboard)

 

 

W 2/24. Lecture: Mise-en-scŹne

FCI, chs. 5: “Mise-en-ScŹne”

Siegfried Kracauer, “Basic Concepts” (Blackboard)

 

F 2/26. Screening: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Pedro Almodovar, Spain, 1988, 88m)

 

M 3/1.  Discussion Section

sample analysis of Laura (Blackboard)

PAPER #2 DUE MONDAY, MARCH 1

 

 

W 3/3. Lecture: Cinematography II: Qualities of the Cinematic Image / Experimental Film

Screening: Cat’s Cradle  (Stan Brakhage, US, 1959, 6m); Rain (Joris Ivens, Netherlands, 1929, 18m); La Glace ą trois faces/Three-Way Mirror (Jean Epstein, 1927, France, 30m)

FCI, ch. 6, “Cinematography” esp. pp. 129-133, 164-189

FCI, ch. 9. “Alternatives to Narrative Fiction Film: Avant-garde Films,” pp. 293-307

Andre Bazin, “Ontology of the Photographic Image” (Blackboard)

Viktor Shklovsky, from "Art as Technique" (Blackboard)                                   

 

F 3/5.  Screening/Discussion: Sink or Swim (Su Friedrich, US, 1986, 48m)

sample analysis of Rain

TEST #2

 

 

SPRING BREAK

 

 

M 3/15. NO CLASS

W 3/17. Screening: The Awful Truth (Leo McCarey, US, 1937, 92m)

 

F 3/19. Screening: An Unmarried Woman (Paul Mazursky, US, 1977, 124m)

 

M 3/22. Discussion Section

 

 

W 3/24. Editing I: Classical and Postclassical Storytelling

FCI, ch. 7: “Editing"

 

F 3/26. Screening: Sleepless in Seattle (Nora Ephron, US, 2006, 112m)

 

M 3/29. Discussion Section

 

 

W 3/31. Lecture: Genre

FCI, ch. 13: “Genre”

Tamar Jeffers McDonald, “The Radical Romantic Comedy” (Blackboard)

Tamar Jeffers McDonald, “The Neo-Traditional Romantic Comedy” (Blackboard)

 

F 4/2. TEST #3 AND DECOUPAGE

 

M 4/5. Discussion Section

 

 

W 4/7. Lecture: Editing II: Montage

Screening: October (Sergei Eisenstein, USSR, 1929, excerpt); Report (Bruce Conner, US, 1967, 15m)

Sergei Eisenstein, "Cinematographic Practice and the Ideogram" (Blackboard)

 

F 4/9. Screening: The Lonely Boy (Wolf Koenig and Roman Kroitor, Canada, 1962, 27m); Helvetica (Gary Hustwit, US, 2007, 80m)

 

M 4/12. Discussion Section

 

 

W 4/14. Lecture: Documentary

FCI, ch. 9. “Alternatives to Narrative Fiction Film: Documentary,” pp. 279-293

John Grierson, “First Principles of Documentary” (Blackboard)

Richard Leacock, “For an Uncontrolled Cinema” (Blackboard)

 

F 4/16. Screening: Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog, US/Germany, 2005, 103m)

 

M 4/19. Discussion Section

Sample analysis of Helvetica (Blackboard)

PAPER #3 DUE MONDAY, APRIL 19

 

 

W 4/21. Lecture: Star Image / Film Research

FCI, ch. 12: “Film Stardom as a Cultural Phenomenon”

Maria Pramaggiore, “Jane Fonda: From Graylist to A-list”

 

F 4/23. Screening: The China Syndrome (James Bridges, US, 1979, 123m)

 

M 4/25. Discussion Section

 

 

W 4/28. Screening: Close-Up (Abbas Kiarostami, Iran, 1989, 97m)

 

F 4/30. Lecture: Film Analysis and Film Criticism

Dossier of film criticism (Blackboard)

SCREENING JOURNAL DUE FRIDAY, APRIL 28

 

M 5/3. Discussion section

RESEARCH ASSIGNMENT DUE MONDAY, MAY 3

 

FINAL EXAM (TEST #4) in TU 101, FRIDAY MAY 7, 10:30 AM