ENGL329R - Special Topics in Film Studies; The Cinema of Steven Spielberg
Syllabus:
Section(s):
0101 - Paul Cote

With films like Jaws (1975) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Steven Spielberg played a pivotal role in creating the modern studio blockbuster as we know it today.  This course will demonstrate, however, that Spielberg’s popular instincts frequently mask a far more challenging mode of filmmaking than his even his most seemingly superficial entertainments initially suggest.  In this course, students will explore ways in which Spielberg has mined tension between the popular and the provocative.  We will study ways in which Spielberg has drawn upon both the nostalgic traditions of Classic Hollywood and the anxieties of 1970s New Hollywood, creating in the process a mode of commercial filmmaking that has virtually transformed the industry.  In addition to studying famous Spielberg films like Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and E.T. (1982) students in this course will also learn to contextualize these films by studying a diverse array of influences that have shaped Spielberg’s voice as a director, ranging from filmmakers like Howard Hawks and Francois Truffaut, composers like Bernard Herrmann and Miklos Rozsa, to animators like Chuck Jones and Carl Barks.