University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire


Section 002: TR, 3 to 5 p.m., HHH 321

Spring 2002, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire


Office: HHH 425, (715) 836-4369

Office Hours: M, W, R 10-10:45 a.m., T 5:15-6:45 p.m, R 10-11:15 p.m.,

and By Appointment.


    English 190: Introduction to Film is an introduction to the critical study of film. This course is designed neither to teach you how to make your own films, nor to provide you with an opportunity simply to enjoy watching films. We will examine the ways in which films provide pleasure for their audiences. Yet our goal will not be simply to (re)experience these pleasures ourselves, describe what they feel like, and then offer merely impressionistic and purely opinionated reactions on top of these descriptions that recount how far we can or cannot personally identify with and relate to what the films depict and what they attempt to make us feel. Instead, our objective will be to seek to understand how and why films produce these pleasures in the ways that they do -- and also to understand what else always happens, simultaneous with the provision of pleasure, as a result of the kinds of pleasures and the ways of providing pleasures films characteristically offer.

    We will in fact give considerable attention to the many other effects -- other than providing pleasure -- that films can and do achieve, whether deliberately so or not. In particular, we will inquire into films as providing us valuable knowledge about the real historical societies and cultures out of which they emerge and into which they exert their impact -- even where offering this kind of insight does not constitute a conscious aim of the film makers themselves, and even when we must sharply critique the film's representations in order to produce this knowledge .

    Throughout the history of world cinema, three principal objectives have driven forward the production, distribution, exhibition, and reception of film:

1. the provision of entertainment, especially as diversion, distraction, and amusement;

2. artistic expression and communication - concerned with aesthetic issues such as capturing and conveying the felt experience of the ordinary and the extraordinary, the everyday and the unusual, and, especially, "the beautiful" and "the sublime" - in both the natural world and human society;


3. social critique - as contribution to, and instrument of, social change.

Many films, as well as many cinemas, aspire to meet two or three of these goals, often employing one as means toward the achievement of at least one of the other two (e.g., artistic expression as a vehicle of social critique). Yet it is still useful, in beginning to come to terms with the aims of different kinds of film and cinema, to recognize these as primarily oriented toward serving one of these three ends.

    The kinds of pleasures film can provide us in fact come in many forms, at times quite complicated and sophisticated, including those that usefully subvert culturally dominant ways of making sense. Yet Hollywood (along with other, allied sectors of the bottom-line profit-driven, corporate capitalist, multinational conglomerate mass media) often encourages us to approach the pleasure we experience from film primarily, if not exclusively, as a purely escapist form of entertainment. In other words, Hollywood frequently encourages us to retreat from, rather than to confront, understand, and strive to overcome life's problems and difficulties.

    Rarely does Hollywood inspire us to believe we can and should act as critical citizens. Critical citizens work both within their local communities and beyond the confines of local, regional, and even national boundaries by collaborating with others who share the same commitments. These commitments involve combating injustice, inequity, discrimination, prejudice, and the other socially systemic and institutionally entrenched forms of violent abuse which so many of our fellow human beings suffer every day of their lives - as well as striving to foster ecologically sustainable relations with the rest of the natural world that we as a species have so miserably failed to "steward."

    What's more, even when mainstream media productions do address serious issues, they often do so in reductively simplistic and sentimentally trivializing ways. Usually they don't extend messages quite as trite as "everything always turns out for the best," "don't worry, be happy," "crime never pays," or "good always triumphs over evil," yet they still usually embrace, rather than critique, cultural clichés. For example, a film might suggest that hard work and a positive outlook on life will overcome all obstacles, or that the support of a loving family and true friends should be all we ever need to pick us up when and if we are down and need help, or that heroic individuals can always defeat even the most brutal (ab)uses of state and corporate power.

    At the same time, another popular current in contemporary Hollywood film rejects, even mocks, these naive attitudes but does so only to support a cynical view of contemporary social existence as an alienated quest for survival in an essentially selfish, corrupt, and vicious world where might makes right, style (in the sense of superficial "flash" and "glitter") matters far more than substance, and maintaining an outward facade of cool, confident control, along with a pose of proudly defiant self-reliance, always trump manifestations of fellow feeling, shared concern, and social solidarity. In addition, of course, other common trends in contemporary Hollywood involve making films a.) that function as little more than opportunities to demonstrate the look, sound, and feel of the latest special effects technology, or b.) that delight in facile forms of pseudo-comedy - comedy devoid of wit, charm, and even humor - so as to revel in the gross, the mean, and the cruel.

    Contemporary Hollywood films often tend, moreover, to discourage us not only from questioning, challenging, and critiquing the social status quo but also from thinking for ourselves as we come to terms with what they represent to us in the course of our experience watching (and listening to) them. These films frequently tell tales that represent "the way things are" as simply "the way they have to be" - or, even more insidious, as "the only way they can and should be." They manufacture worlds that comfort us with infantilizing illusions that we are invited to accept, without question, at least for the duration of a film, as the simple equivalent of "reality" itself. They insert us into positions within the illusory worlds they construct such that we experience no incentive to reflect either upon the process of construction or the meaning of illusion, where we are reassuringly protected from having to confront any genuinely unsettling thoughts or feelings - i.e., thoughts or feelings that linger to trouble us long after the film has ended. These films, moreover, flatter us by providing us with a false sense of our omniscience - false because these films not only do our seeing and hearing for us but also because they attempt to take charge as well of our thinking, feeling, reacting, and responding in relation to virtually everything we encounter from the beginning to the end of the film's running time.

    In this course we will reflect critically upon the processes of manipulation I have just recounted as well as examine a number of alternative models of film production and reception that challenge this interpellation of the film spectator-auditor (viewer-listener) into the position of uncritical, passive consumer. We will also consider the contradictions involved in processes of film production, distribution, exhibition, and reception that spark usefully critical engagements with even the most "conservative," "mind-numbing," "desensitizing," and "trivializing" forms of mainstream Hollywood "blockbuster" film.

    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 Western societies 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."

    This course will begin, first, with an exploration of the problematics of representation and reality in film as well as the uses of narrative techniques in film. From that point, we will turn, second, to the early history of film, while studying the emergence and development of the classical Hollywood style. We will proceed from there to dissect the rudiments of Hollywood's enormous influence upon film makers and film audiences throughout the world. At the same time, we will begin, third, to learn about film makers' use (to express and communicate meaning) of techniques of a.) editing and cinematography, and b.) mise-en-scène and sound. We will here concentrate on particularly influential and innovative uses of these techniques, including representation from "independent" film makers working outside of Hollywood - and beyond the United States. After this, we will, fourth, inquire into different ways film makers, working within different types of cinema, construct and convey meaning, as well as how audiences respond to and make sense of film meaning, investigating, in particular, relations between film and culture, and film and ideology. Finally, we will, fifth, explore alternate directions for the future of the moving-image, along with that of moving-image cultural production and reception. In particular, we will here consider interrelations among film, video, television, and digital varieties of technology and media, especially as the last increasingly replaces analogue forms of the recording, storage, processing, and distribution of audio-visual information.

    The films I have selected to screen in this course represent a critically acclaimed and historically influential variety. As I see it, one of my principal responsibilities in teaching this course, as an expert in cinema studies, is to introduce you to titles of films, and kinds of film making - as well as ways of interpreting and evaluating films - that you have not encountered before. Most students in the many English 190: Introduction to Film classes I have now taught to date express considerable gratitude for me providing them with such an "eye-opening" experience. Therefore, to return to where I started (just in case I have not yet made this point quite evident), no, this is not a class where we simply watch a lot of popular, contemporary "movies" and then chat casually about them afterwards, focusing on what we "like" or not about them, or about how "cool" or not we find them. If you are interested in learning something new, serious, and substantial about film, this is the right place for you; if not, it isn't.


The following two required texts are available at the UWEC Bookstore:

1. Kolker, Robert. Film, Form, and Culture. 2nd Edition. With 3rdEdition CD-Rom. McGraw-Hill, 2001. Purchase.

2. Phillips, William H. Film: an Introduction. 2nd Edition. Bedford/St. Martin's, 2002. Rental.

* I will supply you with photocopied handouts of all supplementary readings used in the course. These will include packets for each film we will screen in class containing a full credits listing, a plot summary, sample reviews and critiques, as well as, occasionally, interviews with film makers and short articles and excerpts on related issues. I strongly recommend you buy a 3" wide, letter-sized (8" X 11") notebook as well as a paper punch in which to keep photocopied handouts from the course. This will help you greatly in keeping organized. And keep in mind, we use all recycled and recyclable paper here at UWEC; these handouts make readily available to you, for free, information that you would otherwise have to seek out, and at times pay for, on your own; providing these photocopies to you demonstrates my commitment to making sure that I provide you with a range of materials to help you learn that could not possibly be found in any single published textbook. *

** I will also periodically post study guides and other learning materials on my UWEC faculty website - - as well as make resources available to you at an internet classroom I have created for this course. In addition, we may also make use of the UWEC faculty-student shared computer drive and electronic reserve through McIntyre Library. I will explain how to use these facilities in class. **

*** Finally, I will supply copies of all films screened in 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, as this university at present maintains no regular source of funding to pay for films, videos, or DVDs used in classes. Therefore, if you miss a class where we watch a film not readily available at a local library or video store, I prefer to schedule a make-up screening session on campus rather than loaning out a copy for you to take home. ***


T 1/22 Introduction and Orientation.

R 1/24 Screening, Memento.

T 1/29, R 1/31 Discussion: Memento; Representation and Reality; Techniques of Narrative.

Read for Class, T 1/29:

a.) Kolker, "Introduction," pp. xv-xxiii, and "Chapter 1: Image and Reality," pp. 1-16.

b.) Kolker CD-Rom, "Introduction."

c.) (Selections from) Phillips, "Chapter 8: Narrative Components of Fictional Films," pp. 261-281 (Introduction, Narratives, Structure, and Time).

d.) Photocopy Packet: Memento.

T 2/5 Screening, The Big Sleep.

R 2/7, T 2/12 Discussion: The Big Sleep; Classic Hollywood Style; The Shot and the Cut.

Read for Class, R 2/7:

a.) Kolker, (Selections from) "Chapter 2: Formal Structures: How Films Tell Their Stories," pp. 18-43 (The Image, the World, and the Beginning of the Studios; The Economics of the Image; The Classical Hollywood Style; The Shot; The Cut).

b.) Kolker CD-Rom, "Continuity."

c.) (Selections from) Phillips, "Chapter 3: Editing," pp. 99-117 (Introduction, Early Film Editing, Building Blocks, Continuity Editing).

d.) Photocopy Packet: The Big Sleep.

T 2/12: Learning and Contribution Reflection Paper #1 Assigned.

R 2/14 Screening, Citizen Kane.

T 2/19, R 2/21 Discussion: Citizen Kane; Techniques of Cinematography.

Read for Class, T 2/19:

a.) Kolker, (Selections from) "Chapter 2: Formal Structures: How Films Tell Their Stories," pp. 44-49 (Resistance to Convention) and 55-57 (The Long Take in Citizen Kane).

b.) Kolker CD-Rom, "Camera Movement" and "The Long Take."

c.) Phillips, (Selections from) "Chapter 2: Cinematography," pp. 55-64 (Film Stock), 72-83 (The Camera: Lenses and Focus, Camera Distance, and Perspective), 86-92 (Moving Camera), and (Selection from) "Chapter 6: Narrative Components of Fictional Films," pp.288-290 (The Plot and Fabula of Citizen Kane).

d.) Photocopy Packet: Citizen Kane.

T 2/19: Learning and Contribution Reflection Paper #1 Due.

T 2/26 Screening, Urbania.

R 2/28, T 3/5 Discussion: Urbania; Alternatives to Classic Hollywood Style: Techniques of Cinematography and Editing.

Read for Class, R 2/28:

a.) Kolker, (Selections from) Chapter 2, "Formal Structures: How Films Tell Their Stories," pp. 50-52 (Eisensteinian Montage) and p. 63 (Convention and Consciousness).

b.) CD-Rom, "Montage" and "Lighting."

c.) Phillips, (Selections from) Chapter 2, "Cinematography," pp. 65-72 (Lighting), pp. 83-86 (Angles and Point-of-View Shots), and "Digital Cinematography," pp. 92-94; (Selections from) Chapter 3, "Editing," pp. 117-138 (Image on Image and Image After Image, Pace and Time, and Digital Editing).

d.) Photocopy Packet: Urbania.

R 3/7, T 3/12 Screening, Bent and Divided We Fall .

R 3/14, T 3/19 Discussion: Bent; Divided We Fall ; Techniques of Mise-en-Scène and Sound.

Read for Class, R 3/14:

a.) Phillips, "Chapter 1: Mise-en-Scène," pp. 9-51, and "Chapter 4: Sound," pp 141-165.

b.) Kolker, (Selections from) "Chapter 2: Formal Structures: How Films Tell Their Stories," pp. 52-55 (Depending on the Shot, Mise-en-Scène) and pp. 57-60 (Other Resisters).

c.) Kolker, CD-Rom, "Mise-en-Scène," "Point of View," and "Music."

d.) Photocopy Packets: Bent and Divided We Fall .

R 3/21: Mid-Term Examination.

R 3/21: Learning and Contribution Reflection Paper #2 Assigned.

T 4/2, R 4/4 Screening, The Battle of Algiers. Discussion: The Battle of Algiers; Alternatives to Classic Hollywood Style: Techniques of Mise-en-Scène and Sound.

Read for Class, T 4/2: Photocopy Packet, The Battle of Algiers.

R 4/4: Learning and Contribution Reflection Paper #2 Due.

T 4/9, R 4/11, T 4/16 Screening, The Truman Show, Bread and Roses, and Stranger with a Camera.

R 4/18, T 4/23 Discussion: The Truman Show, Bread and Roses, Stranger with a Camera; Meaning, Culture, and Ideology.

Read for Class, R 4/18:

a.) Kolker, "Chapter 3: Film as Cultural Practice," pp. 115-150.

b.) Phillips, "Chapter 11: Understanding Films Through Contexts," pp. 365-398, and "Chapter 12: Thinking About Films," pp. 403-440.

c.) Photocopy Packets: The Truman Show, Bread and Roses , and Stranger with a Camera.

R 4/18: Learning and Contribution Reflection Paper #3 Assigned.

R 4/25, T 4/30, R 5/2 Screening, Run, Lola, Run; The Celebration; and American Movie.

R 4/25: Learning and Contribution Reflection Paper #3 Due.

T 5/7, R 5/9 Discussion: Run, Lola, Run; The Celebration ; American Movie; and Other Screens/The Future of the Image.

Read for Class, T 5/7:

a.) Kolker, "Chapter 6: Other Screens: The Future of the Image," pp. 209-232.

b.) Phillips, "Chapter 9: Alternatives to Live-Action Films," pp. 299-348, and (Selection from) "Chapter 8: Narrative Components of Fictional Films," pp. 282-283 (Structure of Run, Lola, Run).

c.) Photocopy Packets: Run, Lola, Run; The Celebration ; and American Movie.

R 5/9: Learning and Contribution Reflection Paper #4 Assigned.

* Final Examination: W 5/15, 5-7 p.m. *

** Learning and Contribution Reflection Paper #4 Due R 5/16 by 3 p.m., in my English Department mailbox, HHH 405. **




When we are not spending time in class watching and listening to films, we will engage in discussion of these films and of issues raised from the required reading for class. I will direct this discussion, and, as useful, combine discussion with some extended comments and 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. In other words, I do not plan formally to lecture at any point in this class; I instead plan to combine largely brief and informal presentations with extensive questioning of and discussion with students. This discussion will likely follow a variety of formats. I also expect to screen and re-screen film clips periodically during discussion classes, including from titles we have not previously screened together in class as well as from some where we have done so. We will also refer from time to time in class to passages from the CD-Rom required for this course and, potentially, to other CD-Roms and Internet (World Wide Web) sites of relevance and use.


I expect students in this course to seek to engage as critical students of film, and not as mere movie "fans" - nor as would-be Hollywood film technicians. Although I expect that students enrolled in this course do appreciate and enjoy watching films (as I most certainly do), and although I also suspect that a number of you may have already had some experience in film production or may wish to pursue this work in the future, as participants within this course students should be sincerely interested in learning about the critical study of film. In short, unless you are interested in going beyond merely (uncritically) appreciating and enjoying films, you should not be taking this course. I expect students in this course to be consistently intellectually serious as well as academically diligent. I expect students to strive to bring actively and extensively to bear -- in your writing for class essays and your contributions to class discussion -- insights you gain through your engagement with the films we screen, the required readings, and the topics these films and readings raise for our consideration. Finally, I expect students to let me know right away when and if you have any questions or problems about any aspect of how you 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.



In evaluating all work done for this course, I will take account of how carefully, seriously, intelligently, enthusiastically, and imaginatively students engage with the concepts, issues, positions, and arguments addressed in the course and represented by the films we screen, the texts we read, by me, and by each other.


This course cannot contribute effectively to your education as critical students of film if you do not attend class. What happens in class is an indispensable part of this course. I will take note of student attendance and therefore I expect students to adhere to the following attendance policy for this course:

Learning and 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. In fact, to remain passively silent in class exploits the work of others who actively engage.
    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.

    At the same time, just talking a great deal does not necessarily mean that you are making a quality contribution to the class by aiding the learning that we aim to accomplish. Quality of participation is much more important than quantity, although a sufficient quantity is indispensable to insure quality.

    Quality class participation does not, moreover, involve merely asking questions of me and responding to my questions; quality class participation requires you to work as assiduously as you can to advance a serious and substantial discussion with your peers as well as with me about the texts and topics subject to discussion. Students should, therefore, be prepared to engage with and respond to each other in class discussion, and I will take particular note of how well you do so.

Alternative Forms of Contribution

    Contribution to the class certainly can extend far beyond mere speaking in class: itmay include a variety of ways in which you can bring to bear your insights to help yourself, as well as all of the rest of us gain from the experience of this course. If you believe that you can make significant contributions to the success of our class in ways other than by speaking in our class meetings, please arrange to talk with me about this in a conference as early in the semester as possible. I will be glad to support these efforts if they seem potentially productive to me, but I need to know about them and to discuss with you what I think about them in order to endorse them. I certainly understand some people enter college better prepared and more confident speaking in class than others, but I would like to engage with what each one of you is thinking and feeling as we proceed through the semester, so if you tend to be somewhat shy in class, make up for this by coming to talk with me outside of class and by sending me questions and comments over e-mail.

    Also, on the internet classroom site I have created for this course, you will be able to "conference" (in other words, "chat") with fellow students on topics you raise related to course readings, screenings, and discussions; I will encourage students to

use this "conference" space to share ideas and to discuss - and debate - issues of interest with each other; if you find it easier to "talk" in this way that in class itself, I strongly urge you to take advantage of it. This way you can help each other as you grapple with the readings and screenings, including by discovering areas where you and others would like to ask me additional questions to help you out as you work to understand new kinds of film and new ways of thinking about film.

Learning and Contribution Reflection Papers/ Learning and Contribution Grades

    I will divide your learning and contribution grade into four parts: one to cover the period from 1/22 to 2/12, one to cover the period from through 2/14 through 3/21, one to cover the period from 4/2 through 4/18, and one to cover the period from 4/23 through 5/9. At the end of each of the four learning and contribution periods I will ask you to prepare a learning and contribution reflection paper, 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.) explain key concepts in your own words, b.) apply these to the analysis of films screened in the course, c.) refer to and engage with the required reading, including the film packets, and d.) 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 should aim for an approximate average target length of approximately 1500 to 2000 words per reflection paper (roughly the equivalent of six to eight double-spaced, typed pages). Each learning and contribution reflection paper will be worth 10% of the overall course grade, for a combined total of 40% of the overall course grade.

Group Projects and Class Conference

    Early in the semester (probably by the end of the third or fourth week of classes), students will sign-up to participate in a project group; each group will involve no more than four students. Each group will work together from that point to prepare a group presentation in relation to two films: one selected by the group (subject to my approval) and one selected by the instructor. Each student group must select a film for which they can confidently argue on behalf of its artistic, historical, social, and/or political significance. I strongly recommend that student groups consider selecting films fitting this preceding characterization that are discussed in Film, Form, and Culture and Film: an Introduction. (You may not select a film that we will screen in class as part of this course.) I will make suggestions of films to investigate and critique as well as help students obtain access to video and/or dvd copies.

    Your group should research background information about the production, distribution, exhibition, and reception as well as study reviews and critiques of your two films in the course of developing your own critical analysis (including comparison and contrast) of the two. Toward the end of the semester, each group will offer a presentation of its research findings and critical analysis as part of a final class conference. Each group will have a maximum of one and one-half hours to offer its presentation and engage with questions and comments from a public audience in a subsequent discussion of the group's presentation. The presentation should include a summary of the group's research findings, an elaboration of the group's own critical analysis, and an illustration of the group's key points by means of the screening of short clips from the films the group is addressing; this should take a maximum of 45 minutes and the subsequent discussion should take a maximum of 45 minutes as well. All students are urged to attend and participate in discussion of as many of their fellow students' presentations as possible, and the conference will itself be advertised around campus as open to other interested members of the campus community.

    After students have signed-up for a group you should meet in your groups to select the film upon which you yourselves wish to focus. You should do this as quickly as possible so that you can let me know which film you have chosen and so that I can then select the other film which I will ask you to address together with the film you have selected. My aim is for each group to know its two films by spring break - at the latest.

    After your group knows the two films with which it will be working, you should arrange to meet with me as a group in a mandatory pre-presentation conference to discuss directions and ideas for your work on this project, and so that I can offer helpful suggestions and recommendations. Individual students and student groups may feel free to consult with me more than once in conference if, and as, this seems likely to prove helpful as you work on your group project. Further details and helpful advice on the group project will be announced and explained in class. The group project will be worth 20% of the overall course grade .

Mid-Term and Final Examinations

    The mid-term examination will be held in class on R 3/21. The final examination will be held W 5/15 from 2 to 4 p.m. - in HHH 321. In the case of both exams, you will write short essay responses to a series of questions related to the readings and screenings from the preceding half of the semester. These will be "open-book" examinations, meaning you may use any texts, notes, guides, outlines, et. al. you want as you write your essays. Further information concerning each examination will be explained in class. Each examination will be worth 20% of the overall course grade, for a combined total of 40% of the overall course grade.


    If you are able and interested, I strongly recommend attending a screening or screenings at the University Film Society's Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival in April (specific dates - and films - to be announced). The festival provides a wonderful opportunity for anyone seriously interested in film to attend screenings of many exceptionally high-quality productions from around the world and from film makers whose work in many cases will not enjoy wide distribution elsewhere. I will give extra credit to students who do so, and who subsequently arrange to come talk with me in an informal conference about what they attended, discussing with me what you make of these films. Also, I am seeking to arrange a "field trip" with the two other sections of English 190, as well as other interested teachers and students, to travel together on a Saturday to attend a day at the festival; joining us on this occasion will also enable you to earn extra credit. More information about this prospective field trip will be announced in class.


This university is, as many of you know, a liberal arts institution; education in the liberal arts (and sciences) represents the historic and central commitment of what we do together on this UW campus - not vocational training and pre-professional development. The university administration and faculty support this commitment so strongly that they have asked that all syllabi elaborate the official goals of the baccalaureate, as well as identify which ones the course in question will help you achieve. According to the UWEC administration, the baccalaureate degree shall work to develop the following for UWEC students:

1.    an understanding of a liberal education.

2.    an appreciation of the University as a learning community.

3.    an ability to inquire, think, analyze.

4.    an ability to write, read, speak, listen.

5.    an understanding of numerical data.

6.    a historical consciousness.

7.    international and intercultural experience.

8.    an understanding of science and scientific methods.

9.    an appreciation of the arts.

10.    an understanding of values.

11.    an understanding of human behavior and human institutions.

UWEC strives to help you meet these objectives in the course of the higher education you pursue here. Please note that in making these our foremost aims, we at UWEC clearly distinguish ourselves from technical colleges as well as from all other UW schools, especially places like Stout, River Falls, and Stevens Point. This section of English 190, Introduction to Film will contribute to you meeting goals 1-4, 6, and 9-11.


    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 working 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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Professor Bob Nowlan

Last Updated January 15, 2002