UC Berkeley Department of Film and Media

Department of Film & Media UC Berkeley

Courses / Undergraduate

Fall 2018

R1B-002 | CCN: 21530

The Craft of Writing

Renée Pastel & Harry Burson

4 Units

M/W/F 11:00-12PM, Dwinelle 209; W 5:00-8:00 Screening, Dwinelle 109

“The sheer ubiquity of moving images has steadily undermined the standards people once had both for cinema as art and for cinema as popular entertainment.” --Susan Sontag, “The Decay of Cinema”
 

With the rise of the digital in the 1990s, anxieties around the decay and death of cinema as an art form have resulted in commentary on the medium’s impending disappearance. By focusing on self-reflexive films, this course will investigate how cinema has understood its own history, the innovations it has encompassed, and its response to the threat of decline. We will think through formal elements of film with works that address questions of medium specificity, technology, and reception. How has cinema survived in the Internet Age, and why do we still go to the movies? (Do you still go?) Pairing our film and television screenings with readings drawn from film theory, history, and philosophy, this course will encourage students to reconsider their understanding of film as both an art form and product of popular culture.

This course fulfills the second part of the Reading and Composition requirement, with an emphasis on research. Students will learn to generate research topics, locate and evaluate sources, and write analytical, original paper with arguments supported by those sources. Students will base their writings on close readings of filmic texts.