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JOHN CABOT UNIVERSITY

COURSE CODE: "COM 210-1"
COURSE NAME: "Introduction to Cinema (This course carries 3 semester hours of credit.)"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2019
SYLLABUS

INSTRUCTOR: Kwame Phillips
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 1:30-3:30 PM
TOTAL NO. OF CONTACT HOURS: 45
CREDITS: 3
PREREQUISITES:
OFFICE HOURS: By appointment

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
This course is designed as an introduction to the art, history, and business of film. It presents an introduction to film aesthetics and the formal properties of film, locating specific styles and narrative forms within specific classical and alternative film movements. Film theories and critical strategies for the analysis of film will be investigated. The course will be divided into weekly screenings and lectures.
SUMMARY OF COURSE CONTENT:
The course is divided into weekly screenings and lectures.
LEARNING OUTCOMES:

Students will learn how to discuss the principal formal and technical properties of film. They will develop an ability to discuss and analyse film as an artistic, industrial, and socio-cultural phenomenon. They will gain an awareness of the different contexts surrounding film production and exhibition, and the relationship between popular, documentary, and avant-garde production. They will be able to trace a history of film narrative and participate in debates including the race, gender, and the ideology and ethics of cinema. By the end of this course, students will be better skilled in: 

·       Watching, describing and analyzing films.

·       Reading and critically assessing academic literature on films and cinema.

·       Researching, drafting, editing and writing an academic essay.

**It is highly recommended that you make use of the Communications Library Study Guide that is found at this link: https://johncabot.libguides.com/communications. It is an introductory guide for communication and media studies, journalism and cinema, and is extraordinarily valuable as a resource.

**Course homepage: http://moodle.johncabot.edu/. Enrollment key: COM210S19


TEXTBOOK:
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Film Art: An IntroductionDavid Bordwell and Kristin ThompsonMcGraw Hill978-1259534959  
The Oxford History of World CinemaGeoffrey Nowell-SmithOxford University Press978-0198742425  
REQUIRED RESERVED READING:
NONE

RECOMMENDED RESERVED READING:
NONE
GRADING POLICY
-ASSESSMENT METHODS:
AssignmentGuidelinesWeight
Mid-term PaperStudents are required to select a film of their choosing, that fits the thematic focus of the semester (it doesn't have to be covered in the course) and examine the film using one or more of the cinematic techniques discussed in the first half of the course. You cannot use a film that is discussed in the textbook. Please note, failure to hand in the midterm paper will result in failing the course. 2000 words. 1.5 spacing and 12 point font. APA formatting for in-text citations and bibliography. The inclusion of images is encouraged where appropriate. 20
Short Paper #1: Scene DescriptionIn this paper, simply describe a scene from one of the films covered so far, using cinematic language. 750 words. 1.5 spacing and 12 point font. 10
Short Paper #2: "1 on 5" or "3 on 1"In this paper, students will choose from one of two paper structures. FIRST OPTION: "1 on 5": In this form, examine a single theme or aspect of a film and find 5 examples of it to discuss. For example, a particular color might be thematically important in a chosen film; the paper will discuss five occurrences of that color. SECOND OPTION: "3 on 1": In this paper, examine a single scene or focus of a film and find 3 distinct but interrelated things about it to discuss. For example, a particular scene in a chosen film might use camera movement, costume and sound to drive the narrative; the paper will discuss these three aspects. 750-1000 words. 1.5 spacing and 12 point font. APA formatting for in-text citations and bibliography. The inclusion of images is encouraged where appropriate.10
Attendance and DiscussionAttendance and discussion in the class are absolutely vital. Students are expected to be engaged and participating fully. 15
Screening NotesCritical analysis screening notes of the films must be submitted to Moodle (in PDF or Word format ONLY) on the night BEFORE the lecture session at the latest.5
OutlinesOne page outlines for the midterm and final papers/projects are required at least one week before those papers are due. 5
Final Research Paper (Option 1)Students are required to write a research paper that is appropriate to the course material and that fits the thematic focus of the semester. The topic is open, but may focus on a film, a number of related films, a director, a genre, a style of filmmaking, music, costuming, etc. You cannot use a film that is discussed in the textbook. Please note, failure to hand in the final paper will result in failing the course. 3000-3500 words. 1.5 spacing and 12 point font. APA formatting for in-text citations and bibliography. The inclusion of images is encouraged where appropriate. 25
Analytical Video Essay (Option 2)Submission of an analytical video essay, 5-8 mins long. The topic is open, but must fit the thematic focus of the semester. It may focus on a film, a number of related films, a director, a genre, a style of filmmaking, music, costuming, etc. You cannot use a film that is discussed in the textbook. Please note, failure to hand in the video essay will result in failing the course.25
Self-gradingStudents are required to fill out a self-grading rubric and turn it in with their midterm and final assignment. 5
Short Paper #3: "1 on 5" or "3 on 1"In this paper, students will choose from one of two paper structures. FIRST OPTION: "1 on 5": In this form, examine a single theme or aspect of a film and find 5 examples of it to discuss. For example, a particular color might be thematically important in a chosen film; the paper will discuss five occurrences of that color. SECOND OPTION: "3 on 1": In this paper, examine a single scene or focus of a film and find 3 distinct but interrelated things about it to discuss. For example, a particular scene in a chosen film might use camera movement, costume and sound to drive the narrative; the paper will discuss these three aspects. 750-1000 words. 1.5 spacing and 12 point font. APA formatting for in-text citations and bibliography. The inclusion of images is encouraged where appropriate. NOTE: THIS PAPER IS OPTIONAL. If you write the paper and it is a higher grade than your first or second short paper, the lower grade will be replaced. You must choose the option you didn't take for your second paper. 10*
Weekly Questions/ObservationsEvery week students are required to provide a question or observation based on the readings that will be due the night before the second class of the week.5

-ASSESSMENT CRITERIA:
AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised. There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluate theory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture and reference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material. Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included. In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

-ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS:

Attendance and punctuality are absolutely crucial. Unexcused absences will result in an F (Fail) grade for Attendance & Participation. More than 5 unexcused absences will result in failing the course. If unexcused, a tardy of more than 10 minutes will be counted as an absence. Screenings are mandatory and cannot be guaranteed to be available outside of class.

-GRADING RUBRIC

Papers will be grading using the following criteria (and judged whether excellent, good, fair, needs work or insufficient):

1. Formatting (page numbers, bibliography, quotes, citations)
2. Sources (diverse, academic)
3. Organization (good transitions, definitions, structured argument)
4. Adherence to assignment guidelines (follows instructions, answers questions, covers topic)
5. Clarity (thesis stated and supported with examples, evidence, background, context)
6. Understanding terms and grasp of concepts
7. Originality
8. Style (readable, lucid, flow, makes sense, creative, academic, command of English)
9. Grammar, spelling, typos, sentence structure
10. Effort, passion, interest




ACADEMIC HONESTY
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
STUDENTS WITH LEARNING OR OTHER DISABILITIES
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.

SCHEDULE

*FILMS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE*
*ALL READINGS AND LECTURE SLIDES WILL BE AVAILABLE ON MYJCU/MOODLE*


ORIGINS OF CINEMA

**Week 1: Introduction and Early Cinema**


Screenings:

  • Thunder Road (Jim Cummings, USA, 2016): https://vimeo.com/174957219 //
  • Nosferatu (F. W. Murnau, Germany, 1922)

Readings:

  • "Origins and Survival" in The Oxford History of World Cinema
  • "Early Cinema" in The Oxford History of World Cinema


CINEMATIC LANGUAGE

**Week 2: Dramatic Narrative and Classical Hollywood Cinema **

Screening:

  •  The Thing (From Another World) (Christian Nyby, USA, 1951)

Reading:

  • "Narrative Form" in Film Art: An Introduction 
  • "The Hollywood Studio System" in The Oxford History of World Cinema

Viewing:

  • Classical Hollywood Style: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftjMvYfg16k

**Week 3: Editing and Montage**

Screening:

  • Emma (Douglas McGrath, UK/USA, 1996)

Reading:

  • "The Relation of Shot to Shot: Editing" in Film Art: An Introduction
  • "Historical Changes in Film Art: Conventions and Choices, Tradition and Trends" in Film Art: An Introduction

Viewing:

  • Cuts & Transitions 101: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAH0MoAv2CI
  • The Soviet Theory of Montage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYedfenQ_Mw


**FIRST SHORT PAPER DUE IN WEEK 3**


**Week 4: Mise-en-Scène**


Screening:

  • Pride and Prejudice (Joe Wright, UK, 2005)

Readings:

  • "The Shot: Mise-en-Scene" in Film Art: An Introduction

Viewing:

  • Mise-en-scène - Composing the frame: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyJFeY0GBQw


**Week 5: Cinematography and Camera Movement**

Screening:

  • Gojira (Ishirô Honda, Japan, 1954)

Readings:

  • "The Shot: Cinematography" in Film Art: An Introduction
  • David Rosenwasser & Jill Stephen. Writing Analytically (excerpt)

Viewing:

  • Cinematography 101: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXAr2yiYCV4


**Week 6: Sound and Color**


Screening:

  • The Thing (John Carpenter, USA, 1982)

Readings:

  • "Sound in the Cinema" in Film Art: An Introduction
  • "The Introduction of Sound" in The Oxford History of World Cinema
Viewing: 
  • Film Sound Techniques and Theory: https://youtu.be/nkt-vRpF7sE?t=6

**SECOND SHORT PAPER DUE IN WEEK 6**


CINEMA THEORY
**Week 7: National Cinemas**


Screening:

  • Bride & Prejudice (Gurinder Chadha, India, 2004)

Readings:

  • "Indian Cinema: Origins to Independence" in The Oxford History of World Cinema
  • "India: Filming the Nation" in The Oxford History of World Cinema


**Week 8: Auteur Theory and Modernist Cinema**

Screening:

  • Yôjinbô (Akira Kurosawa, Japan, 1961) 

Reading:

  • Francois Truffaut, "A Certain Tendency of the French Cinema
  • David Sedaris, "Andrew Sarris and the 'A' Word"

Viewing:

  • The Origins of Auteur Theory: https://youtu.be/nfHnuZqtV68
  • Modernism in film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEsMS8-CRbQ


**ONE PAGE OUTLINE DUE IN FIRST CLASS OF WEEK 8**


**Week 9: Genre // Video Essay Tutorial**


Screening: 

  • A Fistful of Dollars (Sergio Leone, Italy, 1964)

Reading: 

  • "Film Genres" in Film Art: An Introduction
  • "Cinema and Genre" in The Oxford History of World Cinema
  • Guide to Video Essays: https://digitalmedialab.johncabot.edu/video-essays/
Viewing:
  • Elements of the Essay Film: https://vimeo.com/90150897
  • La Pintura Como Inspiración I and II: https://vimeo.com/192256154 and https://vimeo.com/192336171 
  • Shaping Up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6keeF1bX6o


**MID-TERM PAPER DUE IN WEEK 9**

**Week 10: New Hollywood and the Independent**


Screening: 

  • Godzilla (Gareth Edwards, USA, 2014)

Reading: 

  • "The New Hollywood" in The Oxford History of World Cinema
  • "New Technologies" in The Oxford History of World Cinema
  • "Dreams and Nightmares in the Hollywood Blockbuster" in The Oxford History of World Cinema

Viewing: 

  • How New Hollywood Created the American Indie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qvubc_khZs


**Week 11: Feminist Film**


Screening: 

  • Clueless (Amy Heckerling, USA, 1995)

Readings: 

  • Laura Mulvey, "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema"
  • Paula Marantz Cohen, "What Have Clothes Got to Do with It?: Romantic Comedy and the Female Gaze"

Viewing: 

  • Male Love Through Female Eyes: https://vimeo.com/160059496 

**THIRD SHORT PAPER DUE IN WEEK 11**    

**Week 12: Third Cinema and the Political Film**

Screening: 

  • Blacula (William Crain, USA, 1972)

Reading: 

  • Fernando Solanas & Octavio Getino, "Towards a Third Cinema"
  • Med Hondo, "What is Cinema for Us?"
  • "The Black Presence in American Cinema" in The Oxford History of World Cinema 

Viewing: 

  • Roots of Third Cinema: https://vimeo.com/12888864
  • Blaxploitation 101: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPHWcXNUFho

**Week 13: Art Cinema and Avant-Garde Film**


Screening:
  • La Jetée (Chris Marker, France, 1962)

Readings:

  • "Documentary, Experimental and Animated Films" in Film Art: An Introduction
  • David Bordwell, "The Art Cinema as a Mode of Film Practice"
  • "Art Cinema" in The Oxford History of World Cinema 

Viewing:

  • Free Radicals: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrsGVmuo6R0
  • A Brief History of Experimental Film: https://vimeo.com/76272882

**ONE PAGE OUTLINE DUE IN FIRST CLASS OF WEEK 13**


**Week 14: Postmodernist Film**


Screening:

  • 12 Monkeys (Terry Gilliam, USA, 1995) 

Reading:

  • Frederic Jameson, "Postmodernism and Consumer Society"

Viewing:

  • Postmodernism in Film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qebm_7gGSKw

**FINAL PAPER DUE DURING EXAM WEEK**