UC Berkeley Department of Film and Media

Department of Film & Media UC Berkeley

Courses / Undergraduate

Fall 2018

R1B - 003 | CCN: 32701

The Craft of Writing: The Monster, the Criminal, the Stranger

Katherine Guerra & Althea Wasow

4 Units

T/Th 3:30-5:00pm, T 5:00-8:00pm; Barrows 587

“The stranger, like the poor and sundry ‘inner enemies,’ is an element of the group itself,” Georg Simmel observed in Germany in 1908. “His position as a full-fledged member,” he wrote, “involves both being outside [the group] and confronting it.” This course will investigate the production and circulation of knowledge about the monster, the criminal, and the stranger and interrogate the significance of these figures in popular narratives in global modernity. We will put silent film and contemporary cinema in conversation by focusing on a range of media from 19th-century photography to early single-shot films to German and Mexican silent cinema classics to recent American and international horror. Readings will include Carol Clover, Michel Foucault, Sigmund Freud, Tom Gunning, Anton Kaes, Jacqueline Najuma Stewart, and Linda Williams. The theoretical issues with which the films and texts grapple, including: the history of science and scientific truth, the production of sexual and racial difference, the visible body, the masses, urban modernity, policing, surveillance, trauma, xenophobia—connect with aesthetic, social, and political concerns that are still with us. Throughout the course, we will analyze the monster, the criminal, and the stranger as discursive force fields to which we can contribute our own original scholarship. Assignments (including two significant writing projects) will develop students’ analytical writing skills, knowledge and practice of research methods, and ability to formulate effective arguments.

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.