Introduction to Cinema Studies
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Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Media Studies
Course Number: NFLM 2400
Course Format: Lecture
Location: NYC campus, Online
Permission Required: No
- Media Studies
- Film & Video History, Theory & Criticism
Everyone appreciates film, but cinema studies is not merely movie appreciation. As an academic discipline, cinema studies explores the techniques filmmakers use to make meaning and the various frameworks within which viewers understand those meanings. This course explores the key concepts of cinematic communication and meaning: the shot and its relation to other shots in a sequence; the composition of shots; camera movement; editing; sound; mise-en-scène; and the relationship between form and content. These aesthetic concerns are grounded in theoretical approaches, including realism, genre, auteurs, stars and national cinemas, and methodologies based on ideology, psychoanalysis, feminism and postmodernism. The class views and discusses a range of classic films (and excerpts from others) as students develop a cinematic vocabulary and the ability to read a film through critical analysis. Students are also encouraged to see and critique current first-run features in order to explore one another's reactions to today's commercial cinema. The following films are assigned: Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein, 1925), Some Like It Hot (Billy Wilder, 1959), Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960), Cleo from 5 to 7 (Agnes Varda, 1961), The Conformist (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970), The Conversation (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974), Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989). For the most part, students must watch the assigned films on their own time on DVD or online.