Special Topics in Film: The Cinema of Intimacy
140 | CCN: 31720
What do we mean when we talk about intimacy in, or with, the cinema? What are the cinema’s discourses about friendship, love, birth, and death? Perhaps more troublingly, how is the cinema, as an art form and an industry, intimately present for its audiences in relationships of fandom, nostalgia, activism, or therapy? These questions are points of departure for this course, which introduces students to theories of intimacy in and around the cinema. Through close engagement with key texts from such thinkers as Lauren Berlant, Janice Radway, Susan Stewart, Sara Ahmed, and Judith Butler, students will examine how intimacy has been theorized within the academy, and address the institutions and texts that produce normative notions of what it means to be intimate, “close,” or kin. We will also examine how cinema helps us to locate intimacy in unexpected zones: in experiences of frustrated desire, violence, loss, and lostness. We will conclude by asking what role our intimacy with cinema plays in shaping the public culture of emotion in the West.