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An Introduction to Film - 1st year


A cultural and artistic exploration of film genres. Students will critically analyze film as an art form as well as a reflector and instigator of cultural values. Questions considered will include: How does the visual language of film affect our perception? What innovative techniques are used to convey meaning? How does film fit into the twentieth century?



Objectives:

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate knowledge of the role of film in culture and explore its relationship to the world around it;

2. Analyze film as an art form through an examination of aesthetics and the internal structure of the art;

3. Demonstrate ability to decode the language of film;

4. Analyze and critique film by studying film as a series of narratives;

5. Through critical writing, analyze plot, character development, and setting demonstrate how form function interact to tell a story;

6. Conduct library research on a topic, as appropriate;

7. Formulate a critical argument related to film issues.

Topics:

Course topics will include the following:

1. Learn basic film vocabulary such as montage, mise-en-scene etc.

2. Examine significant film genres

3. Explore film within a cultural context specifically in relationship to other media (the
novel, theater, and the visual arts)

4. Study the aesthetic eye: basic theory regarding the camera’s role in shaping the
viewer’s perception

5. Examine narration and sequence: storyboard

6. Analyze the purposes and functions of film: (its aesthetic, socio-political, spiritual,
economic, expressive aspects)

Method of Instruction:

1. Watch films and videos.

2. Lecture

3. Class Discussion

4. Small group work

5. Student presentations

6. Library work

Types of Assignments:

1. Short reaction papers to film questions

2. Student Presentations

3. Homework practicing various skills

4. Research assignments in library

5. Quizzes, Midterm and Final


Sample Text:

1. Key Concepts in Cinema Studies (Susan Hayward)

2. How to Read a Film: The Art, Technology, Language, History, and Theory of Film
and Media (James Monaco)

3. Myth and the Movies: Discovering Mythic Structures of Fifty Unforgettable Films
(Stuart Boytilla)

4. The Bare Bones Camera Course for Film and Video (Tom Schroeppel)