Courses / Undergraduate

Spring 2020

  • The Craft of Writing 2 – Film Genres

    R1B-002 | CCN: 19758

    Chi Li & Eliot Bessette

    4 Units

    Tu/Th 3:30pm-5pm, Location: Dwinelle 109

    Screening: Tu 6pm-9pm, Location: Wheeler 202

    Cinema is built on genres. Genres are not deviations from the norm of filmmaking: they are the norm. Many of the critical-consensus best films, no matter the country of origin, are straightforward genre films: The Seven Samurai (samurai) The Searchers (Western), The Godfather (crime/mafia), and Come and See (war). Genres are a way for studios and audiences to make sense of narratives, and a way for filmmakers to situate their works in a rich lineage of meaning-making.

    This course will cover four different film genres, each of which will receive about three weeks of our attention: horror, sci-fi, boxing, and the backstage film. Horror and sci-fi are what we might call “major” genres. Boxing and backstage films are what we might call “minor” genres, or perhaps “subgenres.” We will explore each of these genres in turn, asking how they have evolved, how (or whether) to draw boundaries around them, and how individual entries play with generic expectations. Our screenings will draw from American and international cinema, and course readings will span film history, philosophy, and theories of genre and categorization.

    This course fulfills the second part of the Reading and Composition requirement. Students will further develop the skills of formal analysis of films and close reading of written texts from the R1A level. They will also learn how to locate, evaluate, and cite theoretical and historical sources to support their own original and compelling arguments in several research papers.