UC Berkeley Department of Film and Media

Department of Film & Media UC Berkeley

Courses / Undergraduate

Spring 2018

R1B - 001 | CCN: 24280

The Craft of Writing: The Myth of Romantic Love in Hollywood and World Cinema

Dolores McElroy & Kelly Norris

4 Units

The focus of this course is to advance students' analytical writing skills, and to give them the tools to incorporate original research into their writing. As a springboard for the completion of these goals, we will be addressing the topic of romantic love in Hollywood and world cinema throughout the past century of film-making. Students will learn how to analyze films, as well as engage with historical and theoretical arguments, and cross-cultural analyses on the topic of “love.” What do we mean when we use the word “love,” a notoriously murky and unspecific concept, one that has had many, often contradictory, meanings throughout history, and from culture to culture? Roland Barthes’ concept of “myth” – something that isn’t necessarily untrue, but which often makes seem “natural” and unchanging that which is actually culturally and historically specific in order to uphold the status quo – will be the major theoretical framing of the course. Some questions we will consider are: How do popular films define "love?" What realities or ideas do those definitions include and exclude? How does the representation of romantic love change significantly from culture to culture, and throughout different time periods? What interests do these representations serve?