New Curriculum General Course Descriptions

  • FILM AESTHETICS (formerly Film 25B)


    The goal of this course is to focus on particular issues in film aesthetics and the relationships between film and culture in more depth. Film Aesthetics familiarizes the students with some of the major technological and aesthetic innovations of the past 80 years which have given rise to the cinema as we know it today. Goals of the course include: fostering students’ awareness of the aesthetic, economic, social, and political contexts in which sound cinema developed and the impact which cinema had, in turn, on nations, cultures, and historical events; helping students acquire a conceptual vocabulary to describe and analyze the formal strategies of films and the way they construct meaning; introducing students to the theoretical frameworks that have shaped thinking about the cinema; to give students a clear sense of some of the major movements in sound cinema (including classical and post-classical Hollywood cinema, documentary, Italian Neo-Realism, the French New Wave, Third Cinema, Political Cinema of the 1960s-‘70s, and film in the era of global multimedia) and how those movements intertwined with critical, theoretical, and popular responses to the medium: and developing tools for analyzing the way film texts not only provide entertainment, but also produce cultural meanings and generate modes of experience (for example, of race, class, gender, sexuality, nation) and of social interaction. The material and emphases of the course will change with each instructor (the primary course function is not to provide a complete historical survey) but in all cases the course will cover the skills necessary to dissect and analyze films, film movements, and the cultural/historical contexts of the cinema, with an emphasis on examples from selected cinema movements from the second half of the twentieth century to the present.