Spring 2008

Film Theory and Criticism

Listed in: English, as ENGL-84


Dale M. Hudson (Section 02)


This course provides a survey of theoretical and critical approaches to analysis of film and video with an emphasis on the historical and cultural context in which these approaches emerge, examining selections from classical, grand, contemporary, and non-western film theory and criticism. This course begins with readings that frame early debates on medium specificity, film's ability to capture and construct both reality and illusions, psychological and philosophical implications of the new medium, and theorizations of key filmic practices (editing, close-up, deep focus), structuralist-inflected and semiotic approaches to film genres and film stars, and neo-romantic and nationalist auteur approaches. After examining classical and grand theory approaches, the course will turn toward interventions, elaborations, and corrections to these theories and approaches made by postcolonial feminisms, Third Cinema, postmodernism and alternative modernities, subaltern studies, ethnic and whiteness studies, reception and audience studies, queer theory, cultural studies, and new media theory. The course concludes with a comparison of theorizations of visual relays in Hollywood, Hindi, Chinese, and Iranian cinemas in order to recognize that film theory and criticism, like film itself, are culturally and historically constructed. Requisite: A prior film studies course, preferably a solid introduction to basic cinematic terms, such a cinematography, editing, mise en scene, and sound. Visiting Professor Hudson.