TFM 160 Film as Art and Communication
Spring 05 LT 161
INSTRUCTOR: MARK FREEMAN
Office: LT 171 C
Office Hours: By Appointment & Monday and Wednesday 11-12.
Phone: 619 594-5497
GTA: Bonni Rooney
The goal of the course is to familiarize students with the significant "texts" (works) of the moving image. The course surveys a wide range of filmic expression including classics, as well as examples of challenging work by women, minorities, the avant-garde and independent filmmakers.
This course is an introduction to the styles, techniques and devices employed in moving image art. The art of film will be broadly considered---not only including dramatic and comedic features, but also documentaries, experimental film and animation. We will consider film as an art form; as a cultural artifact; as political expression; and as an economic enterprise. Classes will combine lecture, screenings and discussion.
After completing this course students should be able to:
* Identify and understand the formal elements and grammar of film art
* Recognize and distinguish major film styles and genres
* Exhibit familiarity with several critical theories of film
Mid-Term Examination 35%
Each film screened in class must be analyzed terms of the reading/lectures. Please address the discussion questions in the syllabus. These reports should be at least two (double spaced, 12 pt font), typewritten pages. They will be collected three times during the semester. You MUST also submit a report on a film you have screened outside of class. You need to analyze it similarly. You may compare it to a film you have seen in class. (You do not have to write about the last film screened in class.) You will receive one point for each two-page report —15 points. In addition, each time the reports are collected, one will be selected by the instructor for additional evaluation. You may earn up to 3 points for each of the three reports evaluated in this way.
Please turn in each set of reports in a 3-brad paper folder. Be sure to include your name and the name of this film you are analyzing.
Weekly Report Rubric
Your papers should address the discussion questions and refer to the readings, lectures and class discussions as they relate to the discussion questions. Use several specific and appropriate references to scenes in the films.
A. Thorough, insightful more than a simple response to the questions; well written, a clear and concise analysis, examples from the films and several references to lectures and readings.
B. Generally a good job. But not thorough, missed the point; didn’t refer sufficiently to the discussion questions, readings and lectures or include enough specific examples from the films.
C, Relied on plot summaries; substituted personal opinion for analysis. Confused the films.
Make Grading Easier
Include the questions. Highlight references to the reading and class lectures/discussions: use Bold, Colors, Underlines and/or Highlighters. Zero tolerance for Plagiarism
Final Exam 35%
Grades A-F with plus and minus.
Students planning to petition to enter the TFM major must earn a B or better in this course. This is a grade equal to 84% or better.
Understanding Movies by Louis D. Gianetti. 2004 10th edition.
MOVIEMAKER MOVIEMAKER MAGAZINE (FALL '04)
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Note films screened in this class may contain adult themes and/or explicitly sexual or violent imagery.
Class Session 1
INTRODUCTION TO COURSE: HISTORY, TECHNIQUE AND THEORY
Reading: UM: Chapters 1 Photography and 3 Movement
Screening: Visions of Light 1992 Todd McCarthy 95 minutes VTC 175
Discussion Questions: Using examples from the film and lecture, identity and discuss ways of controlling the image. Consider framing, image size and placement, screen shape, color vs. black and white, lighting techniques, and film stocks or video imaging. How do these choices affect the impact of a story? Compare and contrast various styles and techniques of cinematography as presented in the film. Which excerpts were most visually compelling why? Which experts made the most impact on you? Why?
Class Session 2
Reading: UM Chapter 13 Critique
Screenings: A Trip to the Moon Georges Melies 10 min 1902 VTC 996 tape 1
Man With a Movie Camera Vertov 68 minutes1929 DVD 729
Meshes of the Afternoon 1943 Maya Deren 14 min VTC 1522
Discussion Questions: These are formal, mostly non-narrative films. Which film(s) did you find most accessible? Why? Considering your understanding of cinema history, which film is the most formally inventive? Give examples. Compare these films regarding their use of camera movement, editing and formal structure. What is uniquely cinematic in these films? What forms of expression are used that are unavailable to other art forms? Give examples.
Class Session 3
Reading: UM: Chapter 5
Screening: His Girl Friday Howard Hawks 92 min. 1940 DVD 315
Discussion Questions: Describe the use of sound effects and music. How is language used? Consider tone, volume, delivery/acting, pacing etc. Is it realistic or not? How would you describe it? What's the dramatic effect of the way language is used here? What comic devices are used, give examples. How does the sound design set the scene, time and place?
Class Session 4
Reading: UM: Chapter 4
Screening: North by Northwest Hitchcock 1959 136 minutes DVD 491
Exercise: Analyze an action sequence of at least 15 shots from a movie of your choice. Describe the camera placement and movement. Describe the action of the character(s). Note the in and out points of any relevant sound effects, music and dialog. Describe any transitional devices (dissolves, fades etc.) Give the timing in seconds for each shot. (Using a DVD you can refer to the timecode in the display window. Or you can use a watch to time the length of a shot.) Rough storyboard sketches are a plus, but are not required. SUMMARIZE what you have learned about the process of sequence construction from this assignment.
Note this exercise is your report for this class.
Class Session 5
Screenings: Excerpts Battleship Potemkin Eisenstein
La Jetee Chris Marker 42 minutes 1962 TV8002VR
Discussion Questions: Use specific examples from the films. Discuss “Eisensteins’s use of montage in Potemkin. How is the effect similar or different in The Untouchables and Bananas. Discuss the editing of the opening sequence of Apocalypse Now. How are time and space manipulated in these films? How does editing —juxtaposition—create new meanings by the clash or association of adjacent images and/or sounds? Discuss using specific examples how La Jetee uses editing to reinforce themes of the mutability of time and space.
Class Session 6
MISE EN SCENE
Readings: UM: Chapter 2 Mise en Scene and Chapter 7 Drama
Screening: Rules of the Game Jean Renoir 110 min. 1939 VTC 830
Discussion Questions: Describe the mise en scene. What is the period and setting of the film? How is this signaled by the mise en scene? How does it comment on or support the action and story? Be sure and cite specific examples from the film. How would you change the mise-en-scene if you were to set this film in America in the present day? Give as many specific examples as you can.
Reports for Classes 1-5 Due
Class Session 7
Reading: UM Chapter 8 Story
Screening: 81/2 Frederico Fellini 1963 138 min. DVD 553
Discussion Questions: How is the film manipulated technically to make a story point? What aspects of style illuminate character or plot? What does the film say about the relationship between art and "real" life ---between "reel and real? Between Real and Surreal (the world of dreams. In what ways does the film exhibit a poetic rather than dramatic sensibility? What is the film’s point-of-view regarding the artist and the process of creativity? (Use specific examples from the film to support your answers.)
Class Session 8
Class Session 9
Readings: UM: Chapter 9 Writing
Screening: The Misfits John Huston 1961 124 min VTC 1274
Discussion Questions: Classify the film by genre and genre cycle. Discuss the filmmaker's stance toward the genre's conventions. Classify the film in the context of Genre development as Primitive, Classical, Revisionist or Parodic. Explain and give examples. The author of the screenplay, Arthur Miller is best known as a playwright? In what ways does the film seem like a stage production? How does the writer take it advantage of cinematic techniques.
Class Session 10
Enjoy the Break
Class Session 11
ACTING and COMEDY
Reading: UM Chapter 6 Acting
Screening: The Great Dictator Chaplin 1940 126 minutes VTC 804
Discussion Questions: How does Chaplin use body language and physical humor to establish each of the two characters he plays in this film? Give examples of humorous or satirical techniques Chaplin uses to make social and political points. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using humor rather than drama to critique current events? How is Chaplin’s approach similar to or different from a contemporary “court jester” like Michael Moore?
Reports for Classes 6-9 Due
Class Session 12
Screening: Don’t Look Back 96 minutes 1967 D. A. Pennebaker DVD-16
Discussion Questions: Describe and analyze the camera, sound and editing techniques used in this film. How they different than a traditional journalistic approach to documentary? How is the film similar to or different from current portraits of “bands on the road.” Do you think this style was influential? Why or why not?
Class Session 13
FILM and LITERATURE
Reading: A Clockwork Orange Anthony Burgess
Screening: A Clockwork Orange Stanley Kubrick 1971 136 minutes DVD 46
Discussion Questions: Identify points of comparison between the novel and the film. Is this a loose or faithful adaptation? (See UM p 421.) Discuss the use of symbolism in both. What are the strengths and weakness of each form ---novel and film? Explain how you responded to each. Be sure to include specific examples from both the film and novel.
Class Session 14
RACE, ETHNICITY, CLASS, GENDER---VIEWS of the "OTHER"
Readings: UM: Chapter 10 Ideology
Screening: Pixote Brazil Hector Babenco 1981 127 minutes TV2850VR
Discussion Questions: Discuss the film in terms of the categories and classifications outlined in the reading. What is Third Cinema? Is this film a good example of Third Cinema? Why? Why Not? How is this film similar to and/or different from that a typical Hollywood treatment of poverty, prostitution, unemployment? Be specific. Give examples.
Class Session 15
Screening: Waking Life Linklater 2001 99 minutes VTC 2728
Discussion Questions: This film is a combination of traditionally filmed scenes and computer animation. How is the content and impact of the film changed by this technique? How would the impact and feeling of the film be different if it were presented as originally photographed? If it were hand drawn Disney style animation? Is the technique chosen the best match for the story? Why or Why not?
Class Session 16
Reading: UM Chapter 12
Screening Citizen Kane Welles 1941 113 minutes TFM Collection
Discussion Questions: Citizen Kane is routinely described as one of the greatest films of all time. Consider what we have covered in this course. Read the detailed analysis in the text. Citing specific examples from the film, make an argument supporting or disagreeing with the claim to fame for CK. What is your personal, informed judgment? It should demonstrate with examples and reasoned arguments why you think the film deserves its reputation or why, on the contrary, you are convinced it’s over-rated.
(These discussion questions do not have to be written up or turned in,)
Reports for Classes 11-15 Due May 11, 2005
Final Exam 5/18/05
SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR "OUTSIDE FILMS"
Battle of Algiers
Fight for Us
Juliette of the Spirits
Paths of Glory
Rules of the Game
Sands of Iwo Jima
Un Chien Andalou
Woman of the Year