Spring 2014 Class Schedule (Atlas)

FILM 501: Seminar in Authorship: Lubitsch


F 10-1, Rich 103

Mandatory film screening TH 6:00-9:00, Rich 103

Course Description and Objectives: Only two émigré directors during the American film industry¿s classical studio era retained the same pre-eminent stature that they had originally enjoyed abroad: the British Alfred Hitchcock and German Ernst Lubitsch.  Indeed, rather than muting his authorial voice, Hollywood¿s highly industrialized mode of production only brought Lubitsch¿s identity as a stylist known for his light comic ¿touch¿ into sharper focus.  This seminar will use the prism of authorship to explore a variety of questions raised by Lubitsch and his films including film authorship¿s relationship to 1) national (and Jewish) identity; 2) shifting industrial practices; 3) evolving genre associations; 4) screen adaptation; 5) film¿s transition to sound; 6) industrial self-censorship and 7) the `biographical reflex¿.  In addition to addressing historiographic issues raised by evolving Lubitsch scholarship we will examine different theoretical questions surrounding the general notion of film authorship. 

Course Readings / Required Texts: Screenings will stretch from Lubitsch¿s time as an actor in comedy shorts during the First World War, through the early Weimar years as a director of historical epics to his transition to Hollywood as an adapter of drawing room comedies and operettas.  While a final reading list is still being assembled the course will try to remain flexible enough to accommodate student interests.   

Course Requirements: Students will 1) write up and share with the entire class their thoughts on both the readings and Thursday night¿s film screenings prior to Friday¿s class; 2) lead one week¿s class discussion; 3) complete a 20-25 page term paper on a subject they have developed with the professor; 4) make significant contributions to all discussions;  5) see some of the most brilliantly crafted and shimmering comedies Hollywood has ever produced.


FILM 502: Seminar in Genre/ Criticism: Gender and Genre


M 1-4, Rich 103

Mandatory film screening W 4:30-7:00, WH 205

Course Description:  

In this course we will examine the ways in which particular film and television genres have been conceived of as ¿feminine¿ or ¿masculine¿ as well as the ways in which they have experimented with or subverted these gender associations. Focusing on the Western, the Detective Film/Film Noir, and the Woman¿s Film we will trace how genres evolve throughout film history and make their way into television, and how gender expectations ebb and flow in accordance with cultural, political and industrial changes.  We will also read key works in genre theory and trace how genre has been defined historically within film studies and how it is currently being discussed in light of our rapidly changing transmedia landscape.




Grade Breakdown:

Discussion Facilitation     20%

Final Project Proposal      10%

Final Project Outline       20%

Final Project Presentation 20%

Final Project Final Draft   30%


FILM 503: Seminar in History/National Cinemas: Postwar Soviet Cinema


W 1-4, Rich 103

Mandatory film screening Tu 7:30-10:00, WH 205

Course Description: The postwar Soviet film industry offers a rich case study in national cinemas, insofar as it was organized under state socialism and was an explicitly multinational entity.  Topics to be considered include: film industry practices within Socialist systems; artist-state relations, especially censorship; cinematic representations of World War II; popular Soviet film genres; Soviet art cinema such as the ¿poetic school¿; glasnost and perestroika; and the post-Soviet Russian film industry. Course assignments will be geared toward strengthening skills in the practice of film history and preparing for larger research projects such as M.A. theses or dissertations. Filmmakers we may study include: Ivan Pyriev, Mikhail Kalatozov, Marlen Khutsiev, Andrei Tarkovsky, Sergei Parajanov, Kira Muratova, Vladimir Menshov, Alexei German, Tengiz Abuladze, Rashid Nugmanov and Alexei Balabanov.

Required Texts:

Beumers, Birgit. A History of Russian Cinema. Oxford: Berg, 2009. ISBN-10: 1845202155; ISBN-13: 978-1845202156.

Beumers, Birgit, ed. The Cinema of Russia and the Former Soviet Union. (24 Frames series) London: Wallflower Press, 2007. ISBN-10: 1904764983; ISBN-13: 978-1904764984.

Faraday, George. Revolt of the Filmmakers: The Struggle for Artistic Autonomy and the Fall of the Soviet Film Industry. University Park, PA: Penn State University Press, 2000. ISBN-10: 0271019832; ISBN-13: 978-0271019833.

Steffen, James. The Cinema of Sergei Parajanov. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2013. ISBN-10: 0299296547; ISBN-13: 978-0299296544.

Woll, Josephine. The Cranes Are Flying: A Film Companion. London: I. B. Tauris., 2003. ISBN-10: 1860645046; ISBN-13: 978-1860645044.

FILM 582: Contemporary Film and Media Theory


MWF 10:00-10:50

Mandatory film screening M 8:00-10:00pm

Course Description:  This course considers key methodological approaches that have shaped contemporary thinking about film and media.  These include semiotics, narratology, psychoanalysis, feminist and critical theory.

Objectives:  By the end of this class you will be able to:

  • Identify and describe key trends of Western film theory and criticism written after 1960
  • Use, and critique, the methods of semiology, narratology, psychoanalysis, critical and cultural theory as ways of understanding contemporary film and media.


FILM 597: Directed Study


A supervised project in an area of study to be determined by instructor and student.  This could involve a topic in film authorship, genre, antional cinema, or other area.  Permission of the instructor required.

FILM 598: Graduate Colloquium


Th 4:00-6:00, Rich 103

This course, which is required for the completion of the M.A. in Film Studies, consists of bi monthly talks by Film Studies and affiliated faculty and advanced graduate students.  It is designed for the presentation of new research and the professionalization of graduate students in the Film Studies program.  One credit hour.

FILM 599:  Thesis Research


Permission of the Director of Graduate Studies in Film Studies required prior to registration.