FILM 363: Radical Cinemas of Latin America
Introduction to Latin American cinema, with an emphasis on post–World War II films produced in Cuba, Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. Examination of each film in its historical and aesthetic aspects, and in light of questions concerning national cinema and “third cinema.” Examples from both pre-1945 and contemporary films.
Conducted in English; knowledge of Spanish and Portuguese helpful but not required.
FILM 366: Spotlight on Sicily in Literature and Film
Sicily has always occupied a privileged place in the Italian imagination. The course focuses on a series of fictional works and films―from the early 20th century until today―which reveal how this island has served as a vital space for cinematic experimentation and artistic self-discovery. Topics range from unification history, the Mafia, the migrant crisis, environmental issues, gender, and social/sexual mores. The course is taught in English, but those who wish to enroll for credit towards the certificate in Italian, or the major, can make arrangements to do so.
FILM 419: German New Waves in Cold War Europe
Comparative study of New Wave cinema in East and West Germany, with a focus on aesthetic ferment, institutional barriers, and transformation. Berlin as the best place to follow Europe’s emerging cinematic New Waves before 1961. Distinctive approaches developed by young filmmakers in East and West Germany to political and documentary filmmaking, to the Nazi past and the Cold War, and to class, gender, and social transformation.
Knowledge of German helpful but not necessary.
FILM 422: Screening China from the Margins
This seminar challenges mainstream understandings of contemporary China by focusing on films concerned with the people who exist on its margins. The course is divided into three units: sexuality, socio-economic inequality, and ethnicity. Students are introduced to the terms of film analysis and of contemporary Chinese history and social issues. Films are drawn from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, and represent both major studio directors, such as Wang Kar-wai and Ang Lee, and independent directors, such as Pema Tseden and Jia Zhangke. Students have the option of creating short videos/films in lieu of certain written assignments. All films and readings are available in English. No previous knowledge of Chinese language or culture is required.
FILM 429: War in Literature and Film
Representations of war in literature and film; reasons for changes over time in portrayals of war. Texts by Stendahl, Tolstoy, Juenger, Remarque, Malraux, and Vonnegut; films by Eisenstein, Tarkovsky, Joris Ivens, Coppola, Spielberg, and Altman.
FILM 433: Family Narratives/Cultural Shifts
This course looks at films that are redefining ideas around family and family narratives in relation to larger social movements. We focus on personal films by filmmakers who consider themselves artists, activists, or agents of change but are united in their use of the nonfiction format to speak truth to power. In different ways, these films use media to build community and build family and ultimately, to build family albums and archives that future generations can use to build their own practices. Just as the family album seeks to unite people across time, space, and difference, the films and texts explored in this course are also journeys that culminate in linkages, helping us understand nuances of identity while illuminating personal relationships to larger cultural, social, and historical movements.
FILM 453: Introduction to Documentary Studies
An introduction to documentary film, photography, and radio for students interested in doing documentary work, as well as for those who simply wish to study the history of the documentary as a cultural form.
FILM 455: 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.
FILM 470: Women Filmmakers
The seminar surveys the extraordinary contributions that female filmmakers have made to cinema and to film theory, ranging from the beginning of cinema to the most recent examples, from narrative cinema to experimental practice. We examine films by Lois Weber, Alice Guy Blaché, Germaine Dulac, Leontine Sagan, Leni Riefenstahl, Dorothy Arzner, Ida Lupino, Maya Deren, Agnès Varda, Věra Chytilová, Barbara Hammer, Julie Dash, Claire Denis, Lucrecia Martel, Kelly Reichardt, Sofia Coppola, Alice Rohrwacher, Céline Sciamma, Ana Lily Amirpour, and Mati Diop. We read texts written by women writer, filmmakers, and critics such as Germaine Dulac, Maya Deren, Barbara Hammer, Julie Dash, Colette, Virginia Woolf, Laura Mulvey, and Manohla Dargis. The cinema is approached from a variety of historical and theoretical discourses such as production history, feminism, world cinema, and post-colonial studies among others. There will be an option for a practical component that might include a curatorial project, an interview with a filmmaker, or an audio-visual essay (in consultation with the instructor).
FILM 483: 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. This course is a curricular collaboration with The Center for Collaborative Arts and Media at Yale (CCAM). Course fee charged per term.
Enrollment limited to 8. Priority to majors in Art and in Film & Media Studies. Prerequisite: ART 341.
FILM 487: 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.
FILM 491: 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).
FILM 493: 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.
FILM 021: Sports and Media
This course develops critical thinking about sports in contemporary media culture. The social aspect of playing, watching, and talking about sports has always involved media; media likewise inflect the meaning of athletic events. “Media” here designates cinema, television, radio, print, and social media. We analyze the ways mass media and sports have shaped identity: gender, race, class, age, geography, and ideology. The background for considering these social phenomena is a general understanding of the commercial and civic nature of major sports, although some attention is also paid to amateur media and alternative sports. Our scope extends from the U.S. toward the globe, observing how international networks (Olympics, World Cup) act in specific national cultures. Principal readings are drawn from recent scholarship on sports and media, and criticism of films. Historically significant and contemporary films introduce the history of sports in media culture, from the Corbett-Courtney Fight (1894) to Rocky, Paper Lion, The Armstrong Lie, Invictus, Venus and Serena, and Chariots of Fire. Classroom activities include mini-lectures, discussion, group analysis of texts, and brief student presentations.
FILM 150: Introduction to Film Studies
A survey of film studies concentrating on theory, analysis, and criticism. Students learn the critical and technical vocabulary of the subject and study important films in weekly screenings.
Prerequisite for the major.
FILM 161: Introductory Film Writing and Directing
Problems and aesthetics of film studied in practice as well as in theory. In addition to exploring movement, image, montage, point of view, and narrative structure, students photograph and edit their own short videotapes. Emphasis on the writing and production of short dramatic scenes. Priority to majors in Art and in Film & Media Studies. This course is a curricular collaboration with The Center for Collaborative Arts and Media at Yale (CCAM). Course fee charged per term.
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.
FILM 246: Introduction to African American Cinema
This course examines the history of African American cinema from the turn of the twentieth century through the present. In recent years, there has been a growing sense that, after decades of unequal hiring practices, black filmmakers have carved a space for artistic creation within Hollywood. This feeling was emboldened when Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther became the highest grossing film of the 2018, seemingly heralding a new age of black-authored and black-focused cinema. This course examines the long history of black cinema that led to the financial and critical success of filmmakers like Coogler, Ava DuVernay, and Jordan Peele. In this course, we survey the expansive work of black American cinema and ask: is there such a category as black film/cinema? If so, is that category based on the director, the actor, the subject matter or ideology of the film? What political, aesthetic, social, and personal value does the category of black film/cinema offer? Some of the filmmakers include Barry Jenkins, Kathleen Collins, Spike Lee, Julie Dash„ Oscar Micheaux, Ava Duvernay, and Charles Burnett.
FILM 289: Nineteenth-Century Media (as/and Literature)
In the nineteenth century it is as if someone poured Miracle-Gro on the technological world. This class studies nineteenth-century media and their imaginative consequences. It follows a broad definition of media as material apparatuses that record, transmit, and process the world. Steam, photography, telegraphy, sound-recording, and cinema were only some of the ways people found their worlds disrupted, both excitingly and distressingly. Literature is, of course, itself a medium, and as a first-rate archive of media history it serves as our chief, but not exclusive, entry-point. Readings include works of literature, recent scholarship, and primary documents or artifacts from the arts and sciences. We may look at paintings, pianos, and weather reports as well as telegrams, photographs, and séances. We work within a long nineteenth century (1789-1914) though mostly focus on the 1830s to 1890s. Our geographical center of gravity is the the UK and US, with occasional side trips to the continent. Questions of empire of course take us elsewhere, and final essays on areas beyond the Anglophone world are welcome.
FILM 304:Japanese Cinema and Its Others
Critical inquiry into the myth of a homogeneous Japan through analysis of how Japanese film and media historically represents “others” of different races, ethnicities, nationalities, genders, and sexualities, including women, black residents, ethnic Koreans, Okinawans, Ainu, undocumented immigrants, LGBTQ minorities, the disabled, youth, and monstrous others like ghosts.
FILM 305: Animation: Disney and Beyond
Survey of the history of animation, considering both its aesthetics and its social potentials. The focus is on Disney and its many alternatives, with examples from around the world, from various traditions, and from different periods.
FILM 319: The Third Reich in Postwar German Film, 1945 to Present
Close study of the intersection of aesthetics and ethics with regard to how German films, since 1945, have dealt with Nazi history. Through the study of German-language films (with subtitles), produced in postwar East, West, and unified Germany, students consider and challenge perspectives on the Third Reich and postwar Germany, while learning basic categories of film studies.
FILM 322: Machines of Modern Gender from the Spindle to Siri
While awaiting a phone call, the telephone operator heroine of Geraldine Bonner’s The Girl at Central (1915) finds a fitting metaphor for her mind: “It seemed to be made of steel springs going swift and sure like an engine.” The year Bonner’s novel was published, this metaphor evoked the recent feminization of a range of machine-operating roles, from industrial weaving to telegraphy and typing from a Dictaphone. But it also evoked a longer cultural tradition: for 200 years, artists and writers have used machines as conceptual tools to pick apart and reconstruct womanhood in an increasingly mechanized, feminized world. This seminar explores the origins and implications of this phenomenon by bringing together fictional representations of machine-women (dolls, androids, automata) and women at machines (readers, viewers, workers). While focusing primarily on European and North American examples, it also analyzes the gears of patriarchal, racial capitalism on a global scale, revealing how coalitions of women workers have disrupted capitalist and colonial infrastructure by causing delay, creating noise, and re-coding history. The machine-women we study in the cultural sphere (often authored by men) are accompanied by work from feminist anthropologists, techno-scientists, film and media theorists, Marxists, and experimental filmmakers.
FILM 329: Black Film and Theatre
This course examines the numerous connections, networks, and associations between black film and black theatre across the latter half of the twentieth century. While there has been a resurgence of interest in black theatre on and off Broadway in recent years, we look at critical works created by black writers who created spaces, slid into the cracks, and opened wide the chasms of possibility between cinema and drama. We ask: how have black artists used these two mediums to articulate a political consciousness? How have black writers built, ruptured, and amended the demands required by cultural institutions like Broadway and Hollywood? We investigate the tensions between ideas of the universal and the specific, all the while attending to the complex and complicated possibilities across two different mediums: cinema and the stage. The question of authorship in the move from stage to screen will be omnipresent as we ask what kinds of performances are possible and what new worlds can be created in those transitions?
FILM 330: The Screenwriter's Craft
A rigorous writer’s workshop. Students conjure, write, rewrite, and study films. Read screenplays, view movie clips, parse films, and develop characters and a scenario for a feature length screenplay. By the end of term, each student will have created a story outline and written a minimum of fifteen pages of an original script. All majors welcome.
Application required. Please find the link to the application form on the syllabus.
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.
FILM 338: The International Movie Musical
A seminar devoted to movie musicals from around the world and across nearly a century of cinema history. We watch films from France, the USSR, Mexico, Senegal, India, Egypt, the PRC, the USA and other countries, and by such directors as King Vidor, Jacques Demy, Youssef Chahine, Carlos Saura, and Agnès Varda. Topics to be discussed include the relationship of the musical to earlier musical theatrical forms like opera and vaudeville; the formal problems of integrating narrative with musical and choreographed spectacle; and the relationship of the musical to questions of gender, ethnicity, race and nationhood. Weekly film screenings.
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.
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.
FILM 360: Putin's Russia and Protest Culture
Survey of Russian literature and culture since the fall of communism. The chaos of the 1990s; the solidification of power in Putin’s Russia; the recent rise of protest culture. Sources include literature, film, and performances by art collectives. Readings and discussion in English; texts available in Russian.
FILM 402: 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.
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.