Robert Kolker, Film, Form, and Culture (McGraw-Hill, 1999)
Short Review essay (4-5 pages; 35%)
Term Essay (12-15 Pages; 65%)
A+ (96-100), A (93-95), A- (90-92), B+ (86-89), B (83-85), B- (80-82), etc.
Some of the films we will view contain graphic language, violence, and sexual behavior. If explicit works offend you, please investigate the film list to see whether this course suits you or not. A serious interest in film and an open mind are absolute prerequisites for this course.
This course will examine the work of filmmakers who have demonstrated strikingly innovative techniques and/or thematic issues in their films (or at least in the cinema of their early stages of development). We will focus on the ways in which these directors have reacted against traditional, mainstream filmmaking and, in so doing, have reshaped the art of film. The filmmakers we will study (subject to revision) include: Alfred Hitchcock, Joel Coen, Orson Welles, Martin Scorsese, Bernardo Bertolucci, Jane Campion, Sam Fuller, Lina Wertmüller, David Lynch, Spike Lee, Ken Russell, David Cronenberg, and possibly others.
The review essay should be a relatively short analysis/evaluation in which you examine a film by a rogue filmmaker, which could be one of the directors (but not a specific film) covered in the course or, in consultation with the instructor, you might deal with one the directors we have not covered (for example: Woody Allen, Robert Altman, Darren Aranovsky, Ingmar Bergman, Kathryn Bigelow, the Coen brothers, Jane Campion, Roger Corman, John Cassavettes, Ossie Davis, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Bob Fosse, Sam Pechinpah, Roman Polanski, Penelope Spheeris, and John Waters, to name a few other significant directors).
The term essay should examine one or more films (preferably films not discussed in the course) in terms of strikingly innovative contributions to filmmaking (technical and/or thematic). Early in the course you will be asked to indicate, however tentatively, the director(s) and film(s) you are examining. The long essay may be an outgrowth of the review essay.