UC Berkeley Department of Film and Media

Department of Film & Media UC Berkeley

Courses / Undergraduate

Fall 2018

108 | CCN: 32301

Film Genre: Romantic Comedy

Emily Carpenter,

4 Units

M/W 11:00am-12:30pm; W 3:30-6:30pm, Dwinelle 188


Although its lovers are legion, romantic comedy is frequently considered to be without value: a “low” cultural form that, like horror or science fiction film, provides pleasures that are simple at worst and guilty at best because they often depend on “tired” or “outdated” generic conventions. Indeed, these conventions have become so transparent for audiences and filmmakers alike that many of the most recent romantic comedies have built their success around a parody or satire of the genre. As the social practices through which we define romance shift rapidly in the early 21st century, and with so many cultural critics crying out that the romantic comedy is dead, this course will aim to re-vivify contemporary romantic comedy as a site at which cultural conversations about desire and intimacy are taking place. In order to do so, we will ask what makes love – or cinema's and television’s approximation thereof – funny: why comedy is such a popular mode for the consumption of narratives about romantic attraction and intimacy. Beginning with the history of romantic comedy in its literary and cinematic forms, we will study a series of cultural shifts that revise and extend what romantic comedy offers its audiences – especially in the form of claims about gender, race, and class.

This course will cover a variety of 16mm filmmaking techniques, including hand-painted film, cinematography, and digital transfer with an emphasis on the avant-garde. Through readings, hands-on workshops, and individual projects, students will learn about exposure, the photochemical process, various film stocks, and digital editing. This course is intended to provide an historical perspective of film technology before the invention of video, a foundational understanding of cinematography as it is still used in video today, and an introduction to motion picture film as a professional medium of choice for contemporary filmmakers. Students will shoot and edit traditional 16mm film as well as digital transfers of film to video. This is a studio-based film production course that will utilize a range of equipment including: 16mm film cameras, video cameras and software, and audio and lighting instruments. The work created in class will culminate in a final screening/performance of individual and group assignments.