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Film Studies: Film as Art

Course Number: ENG 195
Transcript Title: Film Studies: Film as Art
Created: September 1, 2012
Updated: September 25, 2013
Total Credits: 4
Lecture Hours: 40
Lecture / Lab Hours: 0
Lab Hours: 0
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: No
Satisfies General Education requirement: Yes
Grading options: A-F (default), P-NP, audit


WR 115 and RD 115 or equivalent placement test scores

Course Description

Enhances understanding of film through analysis of film history and form. Develops visual literacy and analysis skills by offering a range of tools to study any film. Analyze ways in which a film may both contribute and react to its time and culture; analyze film through studying the techniques by which it was made; and substantiate observations with examples taken from film tradition and from the film itself. Prerequisite: WR 115 and RD 115 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

Upon successful completion students should be able to:

  1. Use understanding of film technique and film as an art medium as tools to analyze film.
  2. Articulate a position, orally and in writing, by situating a film in a cultural context, and substantiating observations with examples taken from that tradition and from the film itself.
  3. Use reflective visual reading, writing, listening and speaking skills to recognize, develop and articulate personal standards, predispositions and theories regarding film and critical responses to film.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment tools may include informal responses to study questions; evaluation of small- and full-group discussion; in-class and out-of-class writing, including informal responses to study questions and other forms of informal writing; analysis of film reviews; frame and/or sequence analysis; presentations by individuals and groups; storyboards; screenplays; and short- and long-essay exams. Both instructor and peer evaluation may be incorporated in the assessment process.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes, Concepts and Issues

  • History of film as an art form
  • Silent film
  • Mise en scene
  • Cinematography
  • Editing
  • Sound
  • Film sources
  • Censorship
  • Film production
  • Film distribution
  • Types and functions of settings
  • Characters
  • Acting
  • Frame composition
  • Symmetrical and asymmetrical composition
  • Lighting
  • Use of space
  • Color and colorization
  • Camera distances
  • Perspective
  • Angles and point-of-view
  • Shots
  • Frame/the world outside the frame
  • Moving camera
  • Early film editing
  • Scenes
  • Sequences
  • Superimpositions
  • Juxtapositions
  • Action and reaction
  • Parallel editing
  • Fast and slow cutting
  • Montage
  • Slow motion
  • Early film sound
  • Sound effects
  • Music
  • Silence
  • Classical Hollywood cinema
  • Italian neorealism
  • French New Wave
  • Independent films
  • Avant-garde films
  • Conflicts
  • Plot
  • Storyboard
  • Screenplay
  • Chronological and non-chronological time
  • Narrative and non-narrative techniques
  • Documentary films
  • Horror
  • Westerns
  • War films
  • Thrillers
  • Hybrid films
  • Animation
  • Production Code of the Motion Picture Producers and Directors of America, Inc. - 1930-4
  • Explicit and implicit meaning
  • Auteur theory
  • Marxist film criticism
  • Feminist film criticism
  • Cinema verite
  • Viewer-response criticism
  • Reception theory
  • Genre criticism
  • Psychoanalytic criticism
  • Special effects
  • Gender issues
  • Stereotyping

Competencies and Skills

  • Analysis
  • Synthesis
  • Understanding films through contexts, such as society and politics; artistic conventions; financial constraints; multiple interpretations of a director; etc.
  • Writing about films.
  • Visual "reading".
  • Critical reading (for instance, of reviews and critical essays).
  • Understanding roles of cinematographer, director, etc.
  • Speaking and listening reflectively.
  • Small-group collaboration.