ENGL245 - Film Form and Culture

Cross-listed with FILM245. Credit only granted for: ENGL245 or FILM245. Introduction to film as art form and how films create meaning. Basic film terminology; fundamental principles of film form, film narrative, and film history. Examination of film technique and style over past one hundred years. Social and economic functions of film within broader institutional, economic, and cultural contexts.

This course is designed as an introduction to the analytical language you ‘ll require for ongoing study in film and film theory.  When we speak of film ‘studies’, it is in reference to our critical and philosophical position as film viewers; how we process a film, who makes films and to what end, and how these works of art position themselves in the larger discourse of what exactly makes constructive cinema. 

As such, it seems apt for an introductory course to begin with our changing understanding of ‘popular’ form, high and low culture, and what a formalist language of cinema can do for the media we consume most regularly.  When I speak of the popular, I do not necessarily mean the highest grossing box office, or the most acclaimed films of any given era (although there will be intersections here and there). Rather, audience reception, reinforcement of cinematic language, and conversation with genre are going to be at the forefront of our examination of popular film form.  Come the end of this class, you will develop a sophisticated understanding of shot, frame, cinematography, narrative, meta-conversations, the role of practical and digital technology, as well as representation on and off screen.  Ultimately, thorough knowledge these tools will allow you to be more critical of the media with which you’re most familiar and why exactly it became familiar in the first place.