Undergraduate Courses

Film 144: Novel Technologies

The history of communications technology is marked by momentous births and brutal deaths: “Television kills telephony,” James Joyce wrote in Finnegan’s Wake, fifty years before “Video Killed the Radio Star.” Since the early 18th century, the novel has both participated in and documented the history of technology, and this course pursues both aspects of the novel’s role in this trajectory. First, we examine the novel as a technology (for the production of fiction, most literally, but also as a means of communicating empathy, ideology, and critique). Second, we explore how authors from Ralph Ellison to Jennifer Egan have adapted the novel to document and domesticate new communication technologies. Starting with Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, we trace the novel’s rise—its emergence as a new technology—and follow its competition with, and assimilation of, other novelty forms, including cinema, radio, television, and the internet. We explore how the novel retains its novelty when fiction proliferates across media forms and platforms. Does it, after all, still merit its name?

Sophomore Seminar: Registration preference given to sophomores. Not normally open to first-year students.

Professor: Anna Shechtman
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2021
Day/Time: MW 2:30pm-3:45pm

FILM 160: Introduction to Media

Introduction to the long history of media as understood in classical and foundational (and even more recent experimental) theories. Topics involve the technologies of modernity, reproduction, and commodity, as well as questions regarding knowledge, representation, public spheres, and spectatorship. Special attention given to philosophies of language, visuality, and the environment, including how digital culture continues to shape these realms. 

1 Yale College course credit(s)
 
 
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2021
Day/Time: MW 10:30am-11:20am

FILM 162: Introductory Documentary Filmmaking

The art and craft of documentary filmmaking. Basic technological and creative tools for capturing and editing moving images. The processes of research, planning, interviewing, writing, and gathering of visual elements to tell a compelling story with integrity and responsibility toward the subject. The creation of nonfiction narratives. Issues include creative discipline, ethical questions, space, the recreation of time, and how to represent “the truth.” Course fee charged per term.

 
Professor: A.L. Steiner
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2021
Day/Time: M 1:30pm-5:20pm

The art and craft of documentary filmmaking. Basic technological and creative tools for capturing and editing moving images. The processes of research, planning, interviewing, writing, and gathering of visual elements to tell a compelling story with integrity and responsibility toward the subject. The creation of nonfiction narratives. Issues include creative discipline, ethical questions, space, the recreation of time, and how to represent “the truth.” Materials fee: $150.

1 Yale College course credit(s)
 
 

 

Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Fall 2018
Day/Time: M 1:30pm-5:20pm

FILM 232: Classical Hollywood Narrative 1920–1960

Survey of Classical Hollywood films. Topics include history of the studio system; origin and development of genres; the film classics of the Classical Hollywood period, and the producers, screenwriters, directors, and cinematographers who created them. 

1 Yale College course credit(s)
 
 
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2021
Day/Time: TTh 2:30pm-3:20pm

FILM 240: World Cinema

Development of ways to engage films from around the globe productively. Close analysis of a dozen complex films, with historical contextualization of their production and cultural functions. Attention to the development of critical skills. Includes weekly screenings, each followed immediately by discussion.

1 Yale College course credit(s)
 
 
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2021
Day/Time: MW 9:25am-10:15am

Film 241: Polish Communism and Postcommunism in Film

The Polish film school of the 1950s and the Polish New Wave of the 1960s. Pressures of politics, ideology, and censorship on cinema. Topics include gender roles in historical and contemporary narratives, identity, ethos of struggle, ethical dilemmas, and issues of power, status, and idealism. Films by Wajda, Munk, Polanski, Skolimowski, Kieslowski, Holland, and Kedzierzawska, as well as selected documentaries. Readings by Milosz, Andrzejewski, Mickiewicz, Maslowska, Haltoff, and others.

Readings and discussion in English.

1 Yale College course credit(s
Course Type: Undergraduate
Day/Time: MW 1pm-2:15pm

Film 252: It Happened One Night on Beale Street: Rom Coms and Cinematic Romance

What draws us to the movies is love and, similarly, in the movies we find love. Perhaps more than any other affect or emotion, love (philia) is at the heart of cinema. This course probes the representation of love alongside a history of romance and romantic comedies to understand just what love has been made to look like. Invested in understanding generic conventions, the politics of representation, and the cultural construction of romance we’ll ask: what traits define the rom-com? Outside of humor how has love been represented? What does Black love look like on screen? How has the representation of love been shaped by historical and political contingencies? Can film provide a radical reconception of love that challenges us to rethink how we relate to one another? Rather than provide a comprehensive history of definitive rom coms, this course is split into concrete sections that focus on topics including “The Classical Hollywood Comedy of Remarriage” and “Black Love and Life.” By the end of this course, we learn not just to love movies but how cinematic romance has shaped and been structured by issues of class, gender, and community. Possible films and artists include: Claudine, It Happened One Night, Nora Ephron, Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday, Love Jones, James Baldwin, If Beale Street Could Talk, and In the Mood For Love.

1 Yale College course credit(s)
Professor: Nicholas Forster
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2021
Day/Time: TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

FILM 320: Close Analysis of Film

Close study of a range of major films from a variety of periods and places. Apart from developing tools for the close analysis of film, we consider such topics as genre and mode; the role of sound; cinema as a structure of gazes; remakes and adaptations; approaches to realism; narration and resistance to narration; film in relation to other moving image media; and the relationship of close analysis to historical contextualization and interpretation more generally.

Prerequisite: FILM 150.

1 Yale College course credit(s)
 
 
Professor: Moira Fradinger, Professor: John MacKay
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2021
Day/Time: T 3:30pm-5:20pm HTBA

Film 327/ Film 653: Studies in Documentary Film

This course examines key works, crucial texts, and fundamental concepts in the critical study of non-fiction cinema, exploring the participant-observer dialectic, the performative, and changing ideas of truth in documentary forms.

1 Yale College course credit(s)
Professor: Charles Musser
Course Type: Undergraduate, Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2021
Day/Time: M 1:30pm-3:20pm Su 7pm-10pm

Film 336: Social Change in Middle East Cinemas

This course invites students to explore how modern aesthetic forms such as cinemas from the Middle East and North Africa critique rigid social realities and imagine modern social experiences, thereby pushing boundaries towards social change. By chronologically examining Arabic, Turkish, Hebrew, and Persian films in different historical periods, we will explore how film as art reveals the nature of social myth and the role public intellectuals play in perpetuating or challenging that myth. In addition to weekly film screenings (with English subtitles), course material includes short readings on the modern history of the region, history of film production, and analysis of film as art. By the end of this course, students will learn about the history of filmmaking in the MENA region, the different questions (religion, class, language, gender, ethnicity, race, nationalism and colonialism) influencing the production and reception of film, the challenges facing the filmmaker as an artist and producer and more importantly how these challenges impact the imagination of social change on the screen.

1 Yale College course credit(s)
Professor: Heba Abdelfattah
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2021
Day/Time: M 9:25am-11:15am

Film 337: Cinema and Physics: When the Birth of Cinema and the Scientific Revolution Met

Taking up the parallelism between the evolution of art, science and technology at the turn of 19th and 20th centuries, this course explores the bidirectional relationship between the art of moving pictures and the science of fundamental physical laws. Such a dual perspective, based on a selection of particularly telling movies, presents some of the crucial ideas that science and art dealt with in the last hundred years. Among these topics, we address questions tied to the nature of time and space, the relativity of motion, the role of the observer in physical phenomena, the coexistence of the visible and invisible, the possible existence of parallel universes, as well as concepts like light and matter, fields and waves, chaos and order, uncertainty and chance, teleportation and quantum entanglement, boundlessness and infinity, space curvature and gravity. A radical question also accompanies us throughout the course: Can the humanistic and scientific forms of thinking converge and merge? Can they help each other to become more aware of themselves? And finally, can the rigorous exploration of the world, the language of poets, the pleasure of the performance, the magic of discoveries, productively work together? The first part of the course (weeks 1 to 7) explores the stylistic and narrative strategies of early cinema, in their attempt to depict a new reality of the world. The second part of the course (weeks 8 to 13) introduces and discusses  ideas  of contemporary physics that have found an echo in films. This course does not require detailed knowledge of calculus.

1 Yale College course credit(s)
Professor: Francesco Casetti, Professor: Michel Devoret
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2021
Day/Time: MW 9am-10:15am

Film 341: Weird Greek Wave Cinema

The course examines the cinematic production of Greece in the last fifteen years or so and looks critically at the popular term “weird Greek wave” applied to it. Noted for their absurd tropes, bizarre narratives, and quirky characters, the films question and disturb traditional gender and social roles, as well as international viewers’ expectations of national stereotypes of classical luminosity―the proverbial “Greek light”―Dionysian exuberance, or touristic leisure. Instead, these works frustrate not only a wholistic reading of Greece as a unified and coherent social construct, but also the physical or aesthetic pleasure of its landscape and its ‘quaint’ people with their insistence on grotesque, violent, or otherwise disturbing images or themes (incest, sexual otherness and violence, aggression, corporeality, and xenophobia). The course also pays particular attention on the economic and political climate of the Greek financial crisis during which these films are produced and consumed and to which they partake.

1 Yale College course credit(s)
Professor: George Syrimis
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2021
Day/Time: F 1:30pm-3:20pm

FILM 350: Screenwriting

A beginning course in screenplay writing. Foundations of the craft introduced through the reading of professional scripts and the analysis of classic films. A series of classroom exercises culminates in intensive scene work.

Prerequisite: FILM 150. Not open to freshmen.

1 Yale College course credit(s)
 
 
Professor: Marc Lapadula
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2021
Day/Time: M 3:30pm-5:20pm

A beginning course in screenplay writing. Foundations of the craft introduced through the reading of professional scripts and the analysis of classic films. A series of classroom exercises culminates in intensive scene work.

Prerequisite: FILM 150. Not open to freshmen.

1 Yale College course credit(s)
 
 
Professor: Marc Lapadula
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Fall 2018
Day/Time: M 3:30pm-5:20pm

FILM 355: Intermediate Film Writing and Directing

Students explore the storytelling potential of the film medium by making documentary art. The class concentrates on finding and capturing intriguing, complex scenarios in the world and then adapting them to the film form. Questions of truth, objectivity, style, and the filmmaker’s ethics are considered using examples of students’ work. Exercises in storytelling principles. Course fee charged per term.

Limited enrollment. Priority to majors in Art and in Film & Media Studies. Prerequisites: ART 141 or 142, and FILM 150.

1 Yale College course credit(s)
 
 
 
Professor: Jonathan Andrews
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2021
Day/Time: Th 8:25am-12:20pm

Film 359: Introduction to Sound Studies

A broad introduction to sound studies, an emerging field that analyzes both the technologies and the cultural techniques involved in the production, reception, and meaning of sound and listening. Topics include soundscapes, voice, modes of listening, audio technologies, electronic music, and noise. How sound studies intersects with more traditional methods of music studies.

1 Yale College course credit(s)
Professor: Brian Kane
Course Type: Undergraduate
Day/Time: M 3:30pm-5:20pm HTBA

Film 364: Milos Forman and His Films

An in-depth examination of selected films by Milos Forman and representatives of the New Wave, cinéma vérité in Czech filmmaking. Special attention to Forman’s artistic and aesthetic development as a Hollywood director in such films as Hair, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ragtime, and Amadeus.

Screenings and discussion in English.

1 Yale College course credit(s)
Professor: Karen von Kunes
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2021
Day/Time: Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

FILM 395: Intermediate Screenwriting

A workshop in writing short screenplays. Frequent revisions of each student’s script focus on uniting narrative, well-delineated characters, dramatic action, tone, and dialogue into a polished final screenplay.

Prerequisite: FILM 350. Priority to majors in Film & Media Studies.

1 Yale College course credit(s)
 
 
Professor: Marc Lapadula
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2021
Day/Time: M 7pm-8:50pm

FILM 397: Writing about the Performing Arts

Introduction to journalistic reporting on performances as current events, with attention to writing in newspapers, magazines, and the blogosphere. The idea of the audience explored in relation to both a live act or screening and a piece of writing about such an event. Students attend screenings and live professional performances of plays, music concerts, and dance events.

1 Yale College course credit(s)
 
 
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2019
Day/Time: TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

Film 401: Writing Screenplay Adaptaions

A workshop on the art of screenplay adaptation. Students read short stories, novels, and non-fiction; the screenplays based on that source material; and view and analyze the final product, the films themselves. Instruction focuses on the form, economy, and structure specific to screenwriting. Weekly writing exercises supplement the creation of a final project: a short screenplay based on source material of the student’s choosing.
 

Previous experience in writing for film or stage would be advantageous but is not required. Restricted to juniors and seniors, or by permission of the instructor.

1 Yale College course credit(s)
Professor: Donald Margulies
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2021
Day/Time: T 1:30pm-4:30pm

Film 402/Film 810: Visual Kinship, Families, and Photography

Exploration of the history and practice of family photography from an interdisciplinary perspective. Study of family photographs from the analog to the digital era, from snapshots to portraits, and from instrumental images to art exhibitions. Particular attention to the ways in which family photographs have helped establish gendered and racial hierarchies and examination of recent ways of reconceiving these images.

1 Yale College course credit(s)
Professor: Laura Wexler
Course Type: Undergraduate, Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2021
Day/Time: F 1:30pm-3:20pm

Film 411: The Films of Alfred Hitchcock

An examination of Hitchcock’s career as a filmmaker from Blackmail to Frenzy, with close attention to the wide variety of critical and theoretical approaches to his work. Topics include the status of the image; the representation of the feminine and of the body; spectatorship; painterliness and theatricality; generic and psychoanalytic issues.

1 Yale College course credit(s)
Professor: Brigitte Peucker
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2021
Day/Time: W 3:30pm-5:20pm

Film 416/ Film 755: French Cinema through the New Wave

Cinema is uniquely prominent in French culture. Painters, writers, philosophers engage it. Its ambitions took off after WWII, when teen-age film fanatics Truffaut, Godard, and Rohmer, developed into feared critics at Cahiers du Cinema, then began making world famous New Wave films in 1959. This seminar examines the directors they admired (Renoir, Bresson) or eviscerated in order to capture the “idea of cinema” they injected into their own productions—romantic, existentialist, finally political—right up through the events of May ’68 in which cinema played a key role. The feminism of the 70s, (Varda, Duras, Akerman), challenged and expanded the New Wave idea which has been carried into the 21st c. by actors like Catherine Deneuve, Gerard Depardieu, Juliet Binoche and Isabel Huppert and by passionate philosophical directors like Claire Denis and Olivier Assayas. We study the politics of culture that fosters such ambitious cinema, while each participant explores one director or trend in depth.

1 Yale College course credit(s)
Professor: Dudley Andrew
Course Type: Undergraduate, Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2021
Day/Time: TTh 4pm-5:15pm

Film 430: Golden Age of Television

Less than a century old, television is one of the youngest but most influential mediums to shape politics, pop culture, and American society. For years, scholars, critics, and fans looked back at the sitcoms and dramas made between 1947-1960 as representative of a “Golden Age of Television” that engaged with a changing society that followed the trauma of World War II. Decades later, in the early 2000s, premium cable shows like The Sopranos, The Wire, Breaking Bad, and Oz suggested that a new Golden Age of Television had arrived. This course pairs these two eras of television to ask: Are there similarities between these two eras of television? How do these stories, represented visually on television, relate to the world outside of the screen? How has the rise of streaming reconfigured our viewing habits and the ways that we understand the world? By looking at two eras of television we work to see what some of the major tropes or threads are, and understand how certain shows that are considered a part of either “Golden Age of Television” create meaning and interest in viewers. Programs include: I Love Lucy, Roots, The Twilight Zone, The Wire, Deadwood, and How to Get Away with Murder.

1 Yale College course credit(s)
Professor: Nicholas Forster
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2021
Day/Time: TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm

FILM 434: Archive Aesthetics and Community Storytelling

Exploration of the history and practice of family photography from an interdisciplinary perspective. Study of family photographs from the analog to the digital era, from snapshots to portraits, and from instrumental images to art exhibitions. Particular attention to the ways in which family photographs have helped establish gendered and racial hierarchies and examination of recent ways of reconceiving these images.

1 Yale College course credit(s)
 
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2021
Day/Time: F 1:30pm-3:20pm

Film 449/Film 691: Structural Transformations of the Public Sphere

An in-depth discussion of the idea, the structure and the recent radical transformations of the “critical public sphere,” considered a cornerstone of liberal-democratic society. We explore the modern emergence of the critical public sphere from the public forums of critique and literary-critical discourse, followed by the two waves of “structural transformations of the public sphere” (Habermas). (1) Transformation through mass media and consumer culture, and (2) the most recent transformations of the public sphere through social media. These transformations have been welcomed as a democratization of public life, but at the same time may endanger the emancipatory ideals of enlightenment and critique at the heart of the public sphere. The ambivalent character of the recent changes, the fragmentation, capitalization, and surveillance of public life as well as strategies of resistance are highlighted.

1 Yale College course credit(s)
Professor: Kirk Wetters, Professor: Thomas Khurana
Course Type: Undergraduate, Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2021
Day/Time: Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

FILM 456/ FILM 736: Documentary Film Workshop

A yearlong workshop designed primarily for majors in Film and Media Studies or American Studies who are making documentaries as senior projects.

Seniors in other majors admitted as space permits.

1 Yale College course credit(s)

Professor: Charles Musser
Course Type: Undergraduate, Course Type: Graduate
Term: Spring 2021
Day/Time: T 7pm-10pm; W 10:30am-1:20pm

FILM 457: Italian Film from Postwar to Postmodern

A study of important Italian films from World War II to the present. Consideration of works that typify major directors and trends. Topics include neorealism, self-reflexivity and metacinema, fascism and war, and postmodernism. Films by Fellini, Antonioni, Rossellini, De Sica, Visconti, Pasolini, Bertolucci, Wertmuller, Tornatore, and Moretti.

Most films in Italian with English subtitles.

1 Yale College course credit(s)
 
 
Professor: Millicent Marcus
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2021
Day/Time: TTh 4pm-5:15pm

FILM 471: Independent Directed Study

For students who wish to explore an aspect of film and media studies not covered by existing courses. The course may be used for research or directed readings and should include one lengthy essay or several short ones as well as regular meetings with the adviser. To apply, students should present a prospectus, a bibliography for the work proposed, and a letter of support from the adviser to the director of undergraduate studies. Term credit for independent research or reading may be granted and applied to any of the requisite areas upon application and approval by the director of undergraduate studies.

1 Yale College course credit(s)
 
 
Professor: Katerina Clark
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2021

FILM 471: Independent Directed Study

For students who wish to explore an aspect of film and media studies not covered by existing courses. The course may be used for research or directed readings and should include one lengthy essay or several short ones as well as regular meetings with the adviser. To apply, students should present a prospectus, a bibliography for the work proposed, and a letter of support from the adviser to the director of undergraduate studies. Term credit for independent research or reading may be granted and applied to any of the requisite areas upon application and approval by the director of undergraduate studies.

1 Yale College course credit(s)
 
 
Professor: Katerina Clark
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Fall 2021

FILM 484: Advanced Film Writing and Directing

A yearlong workshop designed primarily for majors in Art and in Film & Media Studies making senior projects.Each student writes and directs a short fiction film. The first term focuses on the screenplay, production schedule, storyboards, casting, budget, and locations. In the second term students rehearse, shoot, edit, and screen the film. Materials fee: $150.

Enrollment limited to 8. Priority to majors in Art and in Film & Media Studies. Prerequisite: ART 341.

1 Yale College course credit(s)
 
 
Professor: Jonathan Andrews
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2021
Day/Time: T 1:30pm-5:20pm HTBA

FILM 488: Advanced Screenwriting

Students write a feature-length screenplay. Emphasis on multiple drafts and revision. Admission in the fall term based on acceptance of a complete step-sheet outline for the story to be written during the coming year.

Primarily for Film & Media Studies majors working on senior projects. Prerequisite: FILM 395 or permission of instructor.

1 Yale College course credit(s)
 
 
Professor: Marc Lapadula
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2021
Day/Time: M 1:30pm-3:20pm

FILM 492: The Senior Essay

An independent writing and research project. A prospectus signed by the student’s adviser must be submitted to the director of undergraduate studies by the end of the second week of the term in which the essay project is to commence. A rough draft must be submitted to the adviser and the director of undergraduate studies approximately one month before the final draft is due. Essays are normally thirty-five pages long (one term) or fifty pages (two terms).

1 Yale College course credit(s)
 
 
Professor: Katerina Clark
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2021

FILM 494: The Senior Project

For students making a film or video, either fiction or nonfiction, as their senior project. Senior projects require the approval of the Film and Media Studies Committee and are based on proposals submitted at the end of the junior year. An interim project review takes place at the end of the fall term, and permission to complete the senior project can be withdrawn if satisfactory progress has not been made. For guidelines, consult the director of undergraduate studies.

Does not count toward the fourteen courses required for the major when taken in conjunction with FILM 455, 456 or FILM 483, 484.

1 Yale College course credit(s)
 
 
Professor: Katerina Clark
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2021