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Film History and Theory

Class at Faculty of Arts |



This seminar is a select survey of film history and theory from the beginnings down to the present day. The first semester will focus on films before 1947, and the second semester will focus on movies after 1947. Special emphasis will be given to the relation of these director?s strategies of presentation to the cinematic meaning and to the cinematic enjoyment their films afford viewers. In this context, questions of aesthetics (beauty), of epistemology (knowledge and the production of truth), of ethics, of micro- and macropolitical implications, of ontology (subjectivity and selfhood) and of spectatorship, will be broached. We shall also locate those cinematic moments that might teach us new viewing strategies and new ways of engaging with perhaps the most important new cultural form of the last one hundred years in our audiovisual societies. All films are either in English or have English inter-titles or sub-titles. Clips and special features from the DVDs will also be shown. The course is conducted in English and stands on its own as a separate seminar from other international cinema seminars I have given.


DVD and VHS tapes: see schedule

Extracts from the following critical and theoretical texts will be available in a course-reader:

Bersani, Leo and Ulysse Dutoit: Arts of Impoverishment: Beckett, Rothko, Resnais(Harvard, 1993).

Cook, David A.: A History of Narrative Film (Norton, 1996).

Deleuze, Gilles: Cinema 1: The Movement-Image, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam (Minnesota, 1986). _____. Cinema 2: The Time-Image, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta (Minnesota, 1989).

Lambert, Gregg: ?Cinema and the Outside? and ?The Brain is the Screen: An Interview with Gilles Deleuze? in Flaxman, Gregory, ed., The Brain is the Screen: Deleuze and the Philosophy of Cinema (Minnesota, 2000).

Gilbey, Ryan: ?Terrence Malick? in It Don?t Worry Me: The Revolutionary American Films of the Seventies (Faber and Faber, 2003).

Roraback, Erik S.: essays from a work in progress: Meaning and Enjoyment in the Cinematographic Image: 1916-98.


To receive credit for the seminar students must have no more than three absences, must give one oral presentation on a film and on the required text(s) for that week (or on a text on a related topic)--which must be approved by the instructor--must submit a mid-term essay and a final exam (first semester) and final essay (second semester) in response to one of several subjects/questions that will be given two weeks before the essay is due. In addition to these requirements for the first semester, intercultural studies students from Charles English must produce a mid-term essay of 2500 words (not 1000) for zap. and 3500 words for p.p.; during the second semester intercultural studies students must produce a final essay of 2500 words for zap., and 3500 for p.p.