HONORS 304, SECTION 501: INTRODUCTION TO WORLD CINEMA
This course offers an introduction to the history, theory, art, and politics of world cinema, from its origins in the 1890s through the present, including classic achievements in Cinema as Entertainment ("First Cinema"), Cinema as Art ("Second Cinema"), and Cinema as Instrument of Social Critique and Social Change ("Third Cinema"), with particular emphasis upon films from the latter two kinds of cinema as well as films that represent alternatives to contemporary Hollywood.
This course contributes to help meet the following UWEC academic goals:
1.) An appreciation of a liberal education.
2.) An appreciation of the university as a learning community.
3.) The ability to inquire, think, analyze.
4.) An historical consciousness.
5.) An appreciation of the arts.
6.) An understanding of values.
7.) An understanding of human behavior and human institutions.
This course is conceived to explore connections among- and across-a range of conventional academic disciplines; it will be taught as a seminar requiring extensive student input; students will engage in interpretation, evaluation, critique, and appreciation of a variety of films and cinemas, both in speech and in writing; students will study the place of film, and cinema, in history, as art, as ethical and political activity, and as reflection of and response to social conditions, forces, and relations.
It is important that we subject film to critical study because, over the course of the past 110 years, audio-visual texts, especially audio-visual texts organized around the moving image, have come to exert an extremely powerful impact upon the shape and substance of individuals' lived experience of their relationship to the conditions of their own existence. This impact is today prospectively as powerful, if not indeed often considerably more powerful, than that exerted by traditional print media. In fact, film, television, video, and "cyberspace" have become principal sites within our contemporary "global capitalist" society for the production and dissemination, as well as the reproduction and reinforcement, of meanings, values, ideas, ideologies, and social modes of thinking, understanding, feeling, believing, acting, and interacting, even when presented to us as "sheer entertainment."
1. Gazetas, Aristides. An Introduction to World Cinema. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2000. REQUIRED: AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE AT THE UWEC BOOKSTORE.
2. Cook, Pam and Mieke Bernink, eds. The Cinema Book. 2nd Edition. London: BFI, 1999. REQUIRED: AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE AT THE UWEC BOOKSTORE.
3. Guides, Outlines, Web and Other (Short) Supplementary Readings. To Be Announced. Available as Photocopied Handouts, as Documents and Links to External Websites on our Blackboard Electronic Classroom Website, and, possibly, through the Faculty-Student Shared Drive and on Electronic Reserve.
Readings will complement the screenings, providing context and perspective from which to develop a critical understanding and appreciation for the films as well as for major issues of concentration and contestation in the histories of a.) world cinema and b.) world cinema studies.
I will supply copies of all films, videos, and electronic texts screened for study in this class. We will screen these in DVD and VHS formats with large-screen projection and high-fidelity stereo sound reproduction. Most of the films I screen in the courses I teach at UWEC are my own personal copies (or copies I rent, without reimbursement, at prices that range well over $100 a shot), as this university at present maintains no regular source of funding to pay for films, videos, or DVDs used in classes. Therefore, I prefer not to loan out copies of titles screened in class for you to take home, unless absolutely necessary, and, in some cases (to be announced) this will be difficult to do as I will need to return these to libraries and distributors relatively soon after their screening and discussion in class.
Schedule of Classes
W 1/22 Introduction and Orientation. Early Cinema: Screening
and Discussion of Cinema Europe: The Other Hollywood, Part I: Where It
All Began; A Trip to the Moon; and The Great Train Robbery.
M 1/27 Screening, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Battleship Potemkin.
W 1/29 Discussion: From the Invention of Motion Pictures through German Expressionism and Soviet Montage, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and Battleship Potemkin.
Read for Class: 1.) Gazetas, 1-69 ("The Invention of Motion Pictures, 1895-1910," "Early Narratives and the Nickelodeons," "D.W. Griffith and Cinematic Language," "UFA and the German Studio System," and "'Caligari' by Siegfried Kracauer"); 2.) Cook and Bernink, 67-68 ("German Expressionism and the New German Cinema -Introduction" and "German Expressionism"), 74-76 ("Soviet Cinema"), 93-95 ("Early Cinema: After Brighton"), and 319-323 ("Looking at Film").
M 2/3 Screening, Un Chien Andalou, The Kid, and The General.
W 2/5 Discussion: From Dadaism and Surrealism through Hollywood Silent Films in the Jazz Age, Un Chien Andalou, The Kid, and The General.
Read for Class: 1.) Gazetas, 70-93 ("The French Avant-Garde Tradition and Surrealism" and "Hollywood Silent Films in the Jazz Age, 1919-1929)"; 2.) Cook and Bernink, 3-11 ("Classic Hollywood Cinema-Introduction" and "The Rise of the American Film Industry") and 114-115 ("Avant-Garde and Counter Cinema-Introduction" and "Surrealism").
M 2/10 Screening, Scarface, and Rules of the Game.
W 2/12 Discussion: From Hollywood and the Sound Films of the 1930s through French Films of the 1930s, Scarface and Rules of the Game.
Read for Class: 1.) Gazetas, 94-119 (("Hollywood and the Sound Films of the 1930s," "French Cinema of the 1930s," and "'The Evolution of the Language of Cinema' by André Bazin"); 2.) Cook and Bernink, 39-42 ("Classic Hollywood Narrative"), 45-53 ("Technology-Introduction," "Sound," "Colour," "Deep Focus," and "Lighting"); 235-236 ("Authorship and Cinema-Introduction," "Cinema as Art or Commodity," "The Artist as Creative Source," and "The Function of Authorship in the Cinema"), and 240-246 ("The Politique des Auteurs-Introduction," "André Bazin," "Auteurs Versus Metteurs-en-scène," Jean Renoir," and "Fritz Lang").
M 2/17 Screening, Shadow of a Doubt and Miracle in Milan.
W 2/19 Discussion: From the Hollywood Golden Years through Italian Neorealism, Shadow of a Doubt, and Miracle in Milan.
Read for Class: 1.) Gazetas, 120-150 ("The Hollywood Golden Years," "Italian Neo-Realist Cinema: 1945-1954," and "'Some Ideas on the Cinema' by Cesare Zavattini"); 2.) Cook and Bernink, 11-39 ("The Studios" and "Stars"), 76-80 ("Italian Neo-Realism"), and 246-250 ("Auteurs and Metteurs-en-Scène: Alfred Hitchcock and John Huston").
M 2/24 Screening, High Noon and Out of the Past.
W 2/26 Discussion: Hollywood at War through Post-War Paranoia, High Noon, and Out of the Past.
Read for Class: 1.) Gazetas, 151-160 ("Hollywood at War-Postwar Paranoia: 1940-1954"); 2.) Cook and Bernink, 137-154 ("History of Genre Criticism") and 157-191 ("Contemporary Crime" and "Film Noir").
M 3/3 Screening, Rashomon and Tokyo Story.
W 3/5 Discussion: Postwar Japanese Cinema, Rashomon, and Tokyo Story.
Read for Class: 1.) Gazetas, 161-170 ("Postwar Japanese Cinema: 1950-1990"); 2.) Cook and Bernink, 111-114 ("East Asian Cinema") and 323-330 ("Structuralism and Its Aftermath-Introduction," "Structural Linguistics: Ferdinand de Saussure," "The Early Work of Christian Metz: Applying Saussure," and "The Structural Study of Myth: Lévi-Strauss and Film Culture).
M 3/10 Screening, The Seventh Seal and The Exterminating Angel.
W 3/12 Discussion: Hollywood in Transition and Decline through Symbolist Traditions in the (European Art) Cinema, The Seventh Seal, and The Exterminating Angel.
Read for Class: 1.) Gazetas, 171-193 ("Hollywood in Transition and Decline: 1955-1962" and "Symbolist Traditions in the Cinema: 1950s-1970s"); 2.) Cook and Bernink, 115-117 ("The Postwar Avant-Garde"), 236-239 ("Authors in Art Cinema-Introduction" and "Ingmar Bergman"), and 330-335 ("Roland Barthes: the Analysis of Narrative" and "Narrative and Audience").
M 3/24 Screening, Last Year at Marienbad and Breathless.
W 3/26 Discussion: The French New Wave, Last Year at Marienbad, and Breathless.
Read for Class:
1.) Gazetas, 194-202 ( "The French New Wave, Part One: 1957-1968")
and 211-219 ("'L'Année Dernière à Marienbad:
The Tradition of Narration' by Allen Thiher"); 2.) Cook and Bernink,
80-83 ("The French Nouvelle Vague"), 253-254 ("The French New Wave-Introduction"
and "Jean Luc-Godard"), 282-283 ("French Intellectual Context" ) and 285-286
("Early Structuralist Film Analysis").
M 3/31 Screening, Jules and Jim and This Sporting Life.
W 4/2 Discussion: The French New Wave through Postwar British Cinema, Jules and Jim, and This Sporting Life.
Read for Class: 1.) Gazetas, 203-210 ("The French New Wave, Part Two: 1959-1980) and 220-228 ("Postwar British Cinema: 1956-1972); 2.) Cook and Bernink, 83- 90 ("The British Film Industry"), 253-255 ("Francois Truffaut"), and 264-269 ("Auteur Theory and British Cinema-Introduction," "The British Critical Context: Movie," and "Free Cinema and British Social Realism").
M 4/7 Screening, Blow-Up and Teorema.
W 4/9 Discussion: Italian Cinema, The Swinging Sixties, Hollywood Revival and the Anti-Myth Era, Blow-Up and Teorema.
Read for Class: 1.) Gazetas, 229-266 ("The Italian Cinema of Fellini and Antonioni," "Hollywood Revival and the Anti-Myth Era: 1964-1976," "'Blow-Up, Swinging London, and the Film Generation' by Peter Lev," and "New Italian Cinema of Pasolini and Bertolucci"); 2.) Cook and Bernink, 106-111 ("Art Cinema"), 239-240 ("Federico Fellini") and 341-352 ("Psychoanalysis").
M 4/14 Screening, Germany in Autumn and Blue Velvet.
W 4/16 Discussion: Postwar German Cinema, New American Auteurs, and Revisiting Genres Films in the 1980s and 1990s, Germany in Autumn, and Blue Velvet.
Read for Class: 1.) Gazetas, 267-295 ("Postwar German Cinema"; "New American Auteurs: Allen, Altman, and Coppola, and "Revisiting Genre Films in the 1980s and 1990s"); 2.) Cook and Bernink, 58-64 ("Cameras," "Alternative Production Formats: 16mm, 8mm, and Video," "Editing," and "The 'New' Technologies"), 69-73 ("New German Cinema"), 98-106 ("New Hollywood"), 157-183 ("Melodrama), and 190-208 ("Science Fiction and Horror").
M 4/21 Screening, The Battle of Algiers and The Hour of the Furnaces.
W 4/23 Discussion: Third Cinema and Post-Colonial Narratives in Africa, Latin America, and Asia, The Battle of Algiers, and The Hour of the Furnaces.
Read for Class: 1.) Gazetas, 296-304 ("Third Cinema and Post-Colonial Narratives in Africa, Latin America, and Asia"); 2.) Cook and Bernink, 117-118 ("Godard and Counter-Cinema"), 120-130 ("Third World and Post-Colonial Cinema"), and 287-315 ("Cultural Politics," "Auteur Structuralism Under Attack," "Auteur Study After Structuralism," and "Auteurism in the 1990s").
M 4/28-F 5/2 No Classes: English Festival, Irish Film Festival, English 190 Group Project Presentations, and Prospective Visit, Screening and Discussion, as well as Class Workshops with Independent Filmmaker Jon Shear.
M 5/5 Screening, Salaam Bombay! and Surname Viet, Given Name Nam.
W 5/7 Discussion: Revisioning History: Contesting Colonialism, Salaam Bombay!, and Surname Viet, Given Name Nam.
Read for Class: 1.) Gazetas, 305-323 ("'From a Hybrid Place' by Trinh T. Minh-Ha with Judith Mayne") and "Revisioning History: Contesting Colonialism"); 2.) Cook and Bernink, 130-134 ("Hindi Cinema"), and 353-373 ("Feminist Film Theory" and "Spectatorship and Audience Research").
Organization and Conduct of Class Sessions
We will conduct this course as a seminar in which I will expect students to make extensive, substantial input to our class discussions, and to collective learning, even as I maintain overall responsibility for directing the course of our inquiries.
On Monday evenings we will hold screening sessions. We will take a brief break of 5 to 10 minutes between the screening of each film that evening. Students are welcome to bring pillows, blankets, and folding lounge chairs to use if you find these more comfortable than the classroom chairs while attending screenings. You may also bring snacks as long as you take care to eat and drink quietly as well as not to spill anything on the classroom carpet. And you may bring friends to these sessions as well, as long as they are respectful of the need for the rest of us to pay close and careful attention to what we see and hear while playing these videos and DVDs. Please note well that occasionally screening sessions will run longer than three and one-half hours, and occasionally they will run shorter; students are expected to stay through the end of screening sessions that run late, yet may leave as soon as screening sessions that run short end-the time commitment will all balance out in the end.
On Wednesday evenings we will discuss topics in film, video, and moving-image culture study based upon the assigned readings for the week. We will also discuss the films screened the preceding Monday night. Frequently, I will show clips from the films screened the preceding Monday night as well as DVD extras to initiate and stimulate discussion. I will also, from time to time, show clips from other videos, DVDs, websites, CD-Roms, and DVD-Roms to help explain and illustrate key concepts, as well as occasional additional short films of relevance to our week's focus for discussion.
At times I will offer some extended comments as well as short, informal presentations of my own. However, I will always ask you to help out as I introduce and explain positions, concepts, methods, and practices. I plan to combine only brief and informal presentations with extensive questioning of and discussion with students. Discussion will follow a variety of formats, although in each case we will refer to students' brief response papers, posted on our Blackboard Electronic Classroom Website, by Tuesday evening at 7 p.m., 24 hours prior to our Wednesday evening discussions.
General Expectations of Students
There are no prerequisites for this course but I do expect students to be sincerely interested in learning about the subject matter, and to be consistently intellectually serious as well as academically diligent in their pursuit of this learning. I expect students to strive to bring actively and extensively to bear-in their essays and contributions to class discussion-insights they gain through their engagement with the texts and topics addressed as part of this course, and I expect students to strive at the same time to relate these texts and topics as closely and as fully as possible to subjects of genuine interest and concern in their own lives. Finally, I expect students to let me know right away when and if they have any questions or problems about any aspect of how they are doing in and with the course, so that I can do everything I possibly can to help answer these questions and solve these problems.
Specific Requirements for the Course Grade
In a small-enrollment course like this, and especially one that covers an extensive historical period and considerable range of styles and approaches from week to week, attendance is extremely important. Students should plan to attend all classes. If you need to miss a class due to illness or some other emergency or special need, I understand that this can (and will) happen, but please let me know, if possible, ahead of time, and please ask me, and your classmates, if there is any way that you can do some extra work to help make up for your absence.
Learning and Class Contribution
My foremost aim in teaching this course is to help you to learn something of significance and value; I will judge you to a significant degree on what you learn, how-and how hard-you strive to learn, and on how-as well as how well-you contribute to the learning for the rest of the class.
You cannot learn or help others learn if you do not contribute. If you don't contribute to the work of this class not only will you fail to derive as much gain from it as would be the case if you did contribute, but also you will deprive everyone else of the benefit of your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values, knowledge, and experience.
Class participation represents an important opportunity to learn, not just a place in which to demonstrate what you have learned. By raising questions, testing and trying out ideas, taking risks and making mistakes you learn a great deal-and help others learn a great deal as well. You learn through talking, not just talk to show what you have learned. Don't hesitate to speak forth in class if you have anything at all to throw into the mix. You may also contribute to class by talking with me outside of class and by engaging in discussion with your classmates outside of class and by conducting independent threaded discussions on our Blackboard Electronic Classroom Website. In addition, bringing to our attention additional resources related to films screened and topics discussed in class- including results of your own research, prior and other knowledge, and additional links to interesting and useful websites-will also count in your favor as well.
I will ask you to prepare three learning and contribution reflection papers, demonstrating as well as critiquing your learning and contribution over the course of the preceding period of the semester. I will give you specific instructions on what I would like you to address with each paper assignment, yet in each case I will ask that you a.) refer to and engage with the required readings and screenings, and b.) summarize and evaluate what you have learned as well as what, how, and how well you have contributed. You may here include thoughts in reaction to issues raised in class discussion that you did not have the opportunity or did not feel comfortable enough to share in class; these additional reflections will help me get a better sense of what you have been thinking about and how you have been responding to class discussions, as well as to the readings and screenings.
I ask that you type these papers, double-space, on singles sides of standard white letter (8" X 11") paper. Your margins should be standard-length, your name should be at the top of the first page, and you should staple the separate pages of the paper together before turning this in to me for a grade. You may use any standard font you prefer and your print size may range between 10 and 12 points. I also ask that you try to follow rules and conventions of Standard Written English as closely as possible; at the least, I expect you will strive to write clearly, precisely, and coherently. You will receive a higher grade the more cleanly and effectively you communicate your ideas. Also, I would like you to make clear all sources to which you refer in your paper, including film titles, and to fully document any outside sources you use (sources other than those used in and assigned for this class). I recommend following MLA guidelines for proper documentation of outside sources, yet I will accept other formats as long as your documentation is adequately comprehensive and you follow a consistent documentation pattern. You will have one week to complete work on each of these papers before they are due.
You should aim for an approximate minimum average target length of approximately 1500 to 2000 words per reflection paper (roughly the equivalent of six to eight double-spaced, typed pages).
Short Response Papers
By each Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. students should post a short response paper, addressing a topic related to the week's readings and screenings, on our Blackboard Electronic Classroom Website. These should be a minimum average of approximately 500 words in length. The assignment will be posted by Monday, prior to the week's screening session, on Blackboard. Students should review your peers' contributions prior to our Wednesday discussion class session, and we will use these papers to help provide us points of departure, and return, as we conduct this discussion. Students should post three of these papers from weeks 1-5, three from weeks 6-10, and three from weeks 11-15. In short, you will not need to do this every week.
Each learning and contribution reflection paper, as well as each short response paper, will contribute significantly to your learning and contribution grade for the period of the semester the paper covers. Your total learning and contribution grade will be worth 75% of the overall course grade: 25% for weeks 1-5, 25% for weeks 6-10, and 25% for weeks 11-15.
During final examination week (Monday 5/12 through Friday 5/16), each student will offer an individual presentation, including the presentation of her or his research findings, and critical analysis, on a specific film, group of films, and/or topic in the history of world cinema of the student's own choosing, not directly addressed in the preceding course readings and screenings, in consultation with (and assisted by) the instructor. You will have 45 minutes for your presentation, including the screening of short clips from the film or films you address, followed by 35 minutes for subsequent discussion. These presentations (and discussions) will be open to interested members of the public. Students in this class will be required to attend at least one other presentation besides her or his own. The final presentation will be worth 25% of the overall class grade.
Extra Credit Opportunities
Students may earn extra credit in the following forms.
1. In a UWEC Combined Film Classes Field Trip to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival (English 190-001, English 190-002, English 381-001, English 395-017, and Honors 304-501), Saturday April 12, 2003. 2.5% Extra Credit.
2.) As an Active Audience in an English 190-002 Group Project Presentation and Discussion Session or Sessions (Week of 4/28-5/2). 1.5% Extra Credit.
3.) As an Active Audience in an Irish Film Festival Session or Sessions (TBA: 4/25-5/4). 1.5% Extra Credit.
4.) Assisting in the Production of the Irish Film Festival, and/or Presenting at the English Festival on a Topic related to Work in this Course. 3.5% Extra Credit.
5.) As an Active Audience during a Public Screening and Discussion Session and/or a Class Workshop with Independent Film maker Jon Shear, director of Urbania, during the latter's prospective campus visit (TBA: 4/25-5/4). 2% Extra Credit.B. Additional Response Papers:
1% Extra Credit for Each Additional Response Paper Beyond the Nine Required. (There will be thirteen assignments, so students may write up to four additional response papers.)
The following statement was approved by the English Department as a recommendation that faculty include in their syllabi or otherwise share with their students at the beginning of the semester at our initial department meeting of the 2002-2003 academic year this past August of 2002. Although none of this is likely to be unexpected (or unwelcome) for students enrolled in an upper-level Honors Program seminar, I will share it with you nonetheless.
The English Department aims to provide you with an intellectually challenging education. This means we will often include texts and introduce topics in our courses that candidly explore adult issues, including ones that offer representations that may, on occasion, prove unsettling, disturbing, and even offensive to some of you.
The higher educational academy is not a "safe space" separate from the rest of the "real world" where you can expect to be sheltered from encountering anything you might find disagreeable or objectionable. On the contrary, we expect you to take up the challenge to confront these kinds of texts and topics in a mature, responsible way, and that means bringing directly to bear your negative reactions-including your reactions of shock, dismay, and discontent-in class discussions and in your writings and presentations for class. If you find a position or practice represented in a text or topic included in the assigned readings or screenings for class to be objectionable, it is therefore of crucial importance that you raise your objections openly and honestly, not simply claim personal exemption from having to see, hear, or talk, read, and write about these kinds of matters. After all, disturbing positions and practices exist extensively outside of the classroom as well as in what we read, see, hear, and otherwise confront in and for class; what we do confront in class exists in this institutional space as symptomatic of positions and practices that operate beyond the confines of the classroom, the course, and the university. If and when you find any text or topic genuinely appalling, you maintain the ethical responsibility, as a mature adult and as a responsible citizen, not simply to try to hide from these positions and practices but rather to work to critique and change them.
Students should expect therefore that you may well on occasion encounter representations that you will find troubling, in this UWEC course and in many others as well; within this Department you will receive no right of exemption from engaging with these and no welcome for simply complaining (especially to a higher administrative authority) about their inclusion. Instead you should bring your objections forthrightly to bear in your contributions to class discussion. Finally, to conclude this particular point of discussion, a professor differs from a high school teacher in many respects, but one key difference is that we maintain a principal professional, ethical responsibility forthrightly to represent the most advanced knowledges in our fields of expertise and to proceed from there to work toward their further development and dissemination. In short, we must create, advocate for, and profess these knowledges; you should expect that your professors may from time to time take strong and indeed controversial positions on difficult and challenging issues, eschewing the pretense of disinterested neutrality. To do anything less than assume this responsibility, and to do so with alacrity, would be to shirk our professorial responsibility and to render ourselves unworthy of maintaining our professorial position.
I encourage you to meet with me in conference during office hours or at another mutually convenient time to discuss any issue of interest or concern related to what we are doing in this course. Learning that takes place in conferences can at times be equally as important, and in fact occasionally even more important, than what takes place in class. Please do not hesitate to meet with me during office hours or to ask for an appointment at any time you think this might be helpful; I regard making myself available for conferences with you outside of class to be an indispensable part of my responsibility as your teacher. Moreover, I always sincerely do welcome getting to know and work with my students outside as well as inside of class. I am ready to do whatever I can to help you in your understanding of issues addressed in discussions, readings, and screenings, as well as to help you in your writing for and participation in this course. I want to make sure that I do all that I can to help you succeed in this course and I want to help you, as far as I can, to gain as much out of it as possible through your participation in and work for it. You may also feel free to write me via e-mail, and to call me-or leave a message for me on the answering machine-at my office. I enjoy meeting and working with students outside as well as inside of class; I really do. I would rather talk with you during my office hours than do anything else, so please do not worry about "disturbing" me in coming to talk with me; my office hours are time that I have set aside to meet, talk, and work with you. PLEASE DO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS OPPORTUNITY! And, remember, once again, taking the time to meet and talk with me periodically in conference is a great way to contribute to the class.
I strive to be as responsible and as accountable to my students as possible. I believe it is crucial that students become aware of the ideas and the values which shape and direct their education, and I believe students should expect that all of their teachers will be prepared to explain why they teach as they do. Please, therefore, take the time, as early as you can this semester, to read through and think carefully about my "Statement of Teaching Philosophy" that I have posted on my UWEC faculty website:
This statement explains WHY I teach as I do. I think it is extremely important that you know and understand where your teachers are coming from in teaching you as they do. You will find me one who trusts you sufficiently always to be frank and honest about this with you.
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