This course introduces students to the historical principles and technical elements of film analysis. Beginning with an overview of how film developed into the foremost art form of the last 100 years, the course will examine how films use images and narrative structures to communicate a wide array of human emotions, experiences and meaning. Students will learn to analyze how photography, mise-en-scène, movement, editing, sound, and acting work together to produce layers of meaning in a film.
They will also examine how different narrative forms (classical, documentary, etc.), styles (realist, formalist, postmodern, etc.) and popular genres (musicals, westerns, science fictions, horror etc.) have developed both inside Hollywood and internationally. Special consideration also will be given to our experience of film as spectators and the different ways that movies have been produced, exhibited and enjoyed over the course of the last century. In addition, various theoretical perspectives (auteur theory, psychoanalytic theory, Marxism and feminism) will be addressed in order to assess the larger social and political implications of film for contemporary cultural experience. As we enter a new digital age of production and consumption, this course aims to broaden students’ perspectives on the medium of film as an art form of continuing social importance, and to make students self-reflexive about their esthetic experiences.