CIS 220 Intro to Film and Media Studies
M/W/F 10:30 - 11:30
Film screenings Sunday evenings at 7pm
An introduction to film history and analysis, with an equal emphasis on film language (cinematic means of expression) and thematics. Viewing and discussion of films from a wide variety of national traditions and genres, supplemented by discussion of analytical and theoretical texts.
*Required course for fulfilling the Film and Media Studies concentration.
CIS 315 / FRE 365 MASTERPIECES OF FRENCH CINEMA (in English)
T/R 1:40 - 2:55
Film screenings Thursday evenings at 7:30 in CH 2164
Overview of the most important movements and key films of classical French cinema from its origins in 1895, with an emphasis on poetic realism in the 1930s and the New Wave in the late 50s and early 60s, followed by a selection of more recent French films. Emphasis will be placed on honing skills in film analysis including both aesthetic and thematic elements. Weekly evening screenings of films by pioneers such as Lumière, Méliès, Buñuel and Dalí and by iconic French filmmakers like Renoir, Carné, Clément, Tati, Bresson, Truffaut, Godard, Resnais, Malle, Rohmer, and Varda, as well as more recent directors such as Collard and Kassovitz.
*Counts toward the Film and Media Studies Concentration.
*Prerequisites and Notes: Taught in English. Readings and all written work, as well as additional weekly oral discussion, may be done in French for credit toward the major.
CIS 321 / Interactive Digital Narratives
T/R 1:40 - 2:55
New technologies have often led to new ways of telling stories, whether the technology was the printing press, motion photography, or the microchip. (Indeed, Henry Jenkins has suggested that games have been to the PC what NASA was to the mainframe-a critical spark for innovation and experimentation.) This course will study the impact of digital technology on narrative in recent decades, focusing on the ways that readers and reading have been transformed through an emphasis on interactivity. Video games in particular have come to rival film and television as important forms of media that can command our attention and that demand our close study. This course will study a number of interactive digital narratives using an interdisciplinary blend of methodologies culled from cultural studies, film theory, literary criticism, and history.
This class will cover basic critical terminology and concepts associated with ludology (the study of video games). We will consider the history of video games while studying some of the overlapping that has occurred between film theory and video game theory. The course will require the playing of several video games, from some of the earliest experiments in text adventures to some of the most recent achievements in hyper-realistic first-person simulations. There will be a variety of writing assignments and presentations; there will not be any creation of video games. Ideally you will leave this course with a sophisticated set of critical tools for thinking, talking, and writing about video games.
*Prerequisite: CIS 220 or ENG 293; this course will count as the capstone course for the concentration in Film and Media Studies.
MUS 380 / Herrmann and Hitchcock
W 1:30 - 4:20
Film screenings Wednesday evenings at 7pm
The extraordinarily fruitful collaboration of Bernard Herrmann (1910-1975) and Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980) from 1955-66 remains one of the more remarkable achievements in film and music history. Not only did it yield some of Hitchcock's most daring films and Herrmann's best-known scores-Vertigo (1958), North by Northwest (1959), Psycho (1960)-but their apparently complementary aesthetic vision was achieved in spite of their often conflicting personalities. Although of different cultural backgrounds (Hitchcock a British Catholic and Herrmann an American Jew), both men were notoriously opinionated and unyielding. Indeed, the collaboration should arguably have been doomed from the start-it is not by chance that Hitchcock rarely worked with the same composer on consecutive films (the exceptions are Louis Levy [mid-1930s] and Dimitri Tiomkin [early 1950s]). Yet, beginning with The Trouble with Harry (1955), Hitchcock employed no other composer until the two parted suddenly and acrimoniously in 1966, following Hitchcock's rejection of Herrmann's score for Torn Curtain. The end of the collaboration, as scholars have often noted, marked the end of both men's most productive period, and although both continued to work, neither regained the critical plaudits or popular acclaim that they formerly enjoyed.
This seminar will concentrate on the nine films and film scores stemming from this remarkable team, striving for close readings of the films as well as reflection upon what we can learn from their collaborative process. After an introductory section on each man, where we will read, watch, and listen to examples of their earlier work, we will then proceed chronologically through their nine films, ending with a brief examination of their legacy for future filmmakers and composers (i.e., Williams/Spielberg, Elfman/Burton, etc.). Student responsibilities will include: weekly reading and listening assignments; weekly screenings; some short papers and class presentations leading up to one longer seminar paper.
*Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Normally students will have had at least one prior semester of college-level music or film study. Satisfies a major requirement in Music as well as Film and Media Studies concentration credit.
•The Trouble with Harry (1955)
•The Man Who Knew Too Much (1955)
•The Wrong Man (1956)
•North by Northwest (1959)
•The Birds (1963)
•Torn Curtain (1966)