Cinema (HUM 2893)
Intersession: May, 2011
Monday through Friday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Baird Hall 116
Professor: Dr. Hugh Foley firstname.lastname@example.org
Office: Dept. of Fine Arts, Baird 217D
Phone: (918) 343-7566
Bordwell, David and Kristin Thompson. Film Art: An Introduction. 9th edition. New York:
Note: These are very common, classic films, and should be easy to obtain either through a library, video rental store, online video source, or through any “big box” store with a DVD video section.
Any Alfred Hitchcock film: North by Northwest, Psycho, The Birds, Rear Window, etc.
Introduction to Cinema, HUM 2893, is designed to give students critical insight into the "language" of motion pictures, film theory, history of cinema, and appreciation of the common elements of commercial and artistic films.
Along with learning basic terminology for discussing a film in critical terms, the student will also use their analytical skills in writing to evaluate films. These evaluations should grow in depth as the student learns about the camera, scene construction, editing, sound, lighting, elements of meaning, narrative technique, and the business of the motion picture industry. The two primary objectives of the course are to elevate the student's appreciation for motion pictures, and to further enhance the student's expressive, communicative, and critical skills through writing about films.
Unit 1: Film as Art: Creativity, Technology and Business, Part I
a. Mechanics of Film
b. Making a Film, Production Terms
c. Exhibition of Films
d. Reading: Film Art, Chapter 1, pages 1 through 50
Unit 2: The Significance in Film Form, Part I
a. The Concept of Form in Film
b. Principles in Film Form
c. Reading: Film Art, Chapter 2, pages 54 through 73
Unit 3: Narrative as a Formal System
a. Principles of Narrative Construction
b. Narration: The Flow of Story Information
c. Classical Hollywood Cinema
d. Reading: Film Art, Chapter 3, pages 74 – 109.
Unit 4: The Shot: Mis-en-Scene
a. Aspects of Mis-en-Scene
b. Mis-en-Scene in time and space
c. Reading: Film Art, Chapter 4, pages 112 – 160
Unit 5: The Shot: Cinematography
a. The Photographic Image
c. Duration of the Image
d. Reading: Film Art, Chapter 5, pages 162 - 216
Unit 6: The Relation of One Shot to Another: Editing
a. Dimensions of Film Editing
b. Continuity Editing
c. Unconventional Editing
d. Reading: Film Art, Chapter 6, pages 218 through 263
Unit 7: Sound in the Cinema
a. Fundamentals of Film Sound
b. Dimensions of Film Sound
c. Reading: Film Art, Chapter 7, pages 264 through 303
Unit 8: Mid-term exam (May 13, 2011)
Unit 9: Style as a Formal System in Cinema
a. The Concept of Style
b. Analyzing Film Style
c. Style in Citizen Kane
d. Reading: Film Art, Chapter 8, pages 304 through 316
Unit 10: Film Genres
a. Understanding Genre
b. Analyzing a Genre Film
c. Reading: Film Art, Chapter 9, pages 318 through 337
Unit 11: Documentary, Experimental, and Animated Films
b. Experimental Film
c. Animated Film
d. Reading: Film Art, Chapter 10, pages 338 through 381
Unit 12: Casablanca as classic Hollywood cinema
a. Casablanca as a multi-genre film
b. Casablanca as a World War II-era metaphor
c. Casablanca as film noir
Unit 13: Film Criticism: Critical Analyses
a. Classical Narrative Cinema
b. Narrative Alternatives to Classic Filmmaking
c. Reading: Film Art, Chapter 11, pages 384 through 426
Unit 14: Alfred Hitchcock
a. Significance and Cinematic Qualities of Alfred Hitchcock
Unit 15: New Film of Significance
a. Sources and schedules for new films
b. Journal: Short form analysis of plot, mis-en-scene, sound, editing, and meaning
Unit 16: Final Exam (May 20, 2011)
Policies, Procedures, and Course Requirements
Submitting e-mails to the professor: Please indicate student status in the subject line of the e-mail so the instructor can prioritize the message and get back to you within 24 hours during the week, or by Monday if you write over the weekend.
1. Students will complete 14 journal entries throughout the course of the semester and will submit those journal entries as a completed document (containing all 14 journal entries) to the professor via e-mail by May 27, 2011. Your first journal entry would be titled "Journal 1." These journal entries will result from students viewing films and writing a journal entry for that film by following the instructions in the various journal assignments. Note: Many of the journal entries require students to view films. Some of the journal questions can be answered by viewing the CD-ROM that is packaged with the textbook. Each chapter has representative film clips that can be used to answer many of the journal questions, as well as provide important additional information for understanding the chapter. However, students may use any films of their choice to answer the questions, and a single film may be used to answer different journal prompts.
Due Date for Journals: May 27, 2011
2. Students will write a 1,000-word film explication essay, explaining how the following 25 terms of cinema operate in any film of the student’s choice:
setting, plot, conflict, character change, camera angles to include wide shot, medium shot, close up, high angle or low angle, hand-held or fixed camera, blocking, mis en scene, editing, color, lighting, music, sound effects, costume, acting, script, theme, universal symbols, cultural symbols, target audience for the film, any information you can gather about the marketing of the film, and at least one critical response to the film.
Each term is worth four points and each should be put in bold in the essay. If the terms are not in bold, they may not receive credit.
Don’t forget the thesis. Students should also either open or close the essay with a general thesis about the film. If you have not written a thesis in a while, remember that it’s a topic (the film) plus an opinion (good or bad?) and then some controlling ideas (because of the lighting, directing, and music).
For example, "Citizen Kane is a great film because of the director's authorial control of the camera, the use of 20th century American media as a theme, and Orson Welles’ depiction of William Randolph Hearst." Or…
“Déjà vu is a good film because of the acting, the special effects, and the surprise ending.”
ESSAY DUE DATE: May 27, 2011
3. B. Alternate assignment to film explication essay: Student film/video project. Students may substitute a five to eight minute film/video for the film explication essay. The film should incorporate at least 25 cinematic terms easily visible and audible to the instructor, have a story in which a character experiences conflict, change, and resolution, and be burned to DVD and submitted to the professor by the July 15, 2011, or uploaded to youtube, google video, or yahoo video so the instructor may see the video. Students who decide on this option must submit a shooting script with the video by May 19, 2011.
4. Students will take a mid-term and a final exam.
Students are graded on the following items throughout the course:
100% - 90% = A
89% - 80% = B
79% -70% = C
69% - 60% = D
Below 60% = F
Academic Misconduct: Students are expected to follow university policies as put forth in the institution’s Student Code of Responsibilities and Conduct. In accordance with Title 12 of The Student Code (page 11), instances of alleged academic misconduct will follow the policies and procedures as described in Title 12. As a general rule, Faculty at RSU have the responsibility of enforcing the academic code. Therefore, if academic misconduct is suspected I will submit a letter of alleged academic misconduct to the Office of Student Affairs.
Plagiarism Statement: Plagiarism is the representation of the words or ideas of another as one’s own, including: direct quotation without both attribution and indication that the material is being directly quoted; e.g. quotation marks; paraphrase without attribution; paraphrase with or without attribution where the wording of the original remains substantially intact and is represented as the author’s own; expression in one’s own words, but without attribution, of ideas, arguments, lines of reasoning, facts, processes, or other products of the intellect where such material is learned from the work of another and is not part of the general fund of common knowledge.
ADA Statement: Rogers State University is committed to providing students with disabilities equal access to educational programs and services. Any student who has a disability that he or she believes will require some form of academic accommodation must inform the professor of such need during or immediately following the first class attended. Before any educational accommodation can be provided, it is the responsibility of each student to prove eligibility for assistance by registering for services through Student Affairs.
Attendance Policy: Excuses are not necessary for student absences, however, students are responsible for all material covered in class. I do not withdraw students from the class for non-attendance. The responsibility for withdrawing from the class lies with the students. See the university calendar for the last date to withdraw from the course with a "W".
Closure Statement: The schedule and procedures of this course are subject to change in the event of extenuating circumstances. (University Closure Statement, IRPAA 8/25/99, p. 25).
(100 points possible – 7 points each question)
(Plus 2 bonus points for completing all journal prompts)
Journals Due: May 27, 2011