A study of selected major film traditions from a literary perspective. By examining themes, structures, montage, and other literary and filmic elements, students will become familiar with important concepts in film analysis. Individual offerings of the course may focus on filmmakers, movements, periods, or themes. The goal will be to appreciate the aesthetic and social significance of film as a twentieth-century medium and to explore various intersections of film and literature.
Summer 2013: Isenberg (10A)
Shades of Noir: Film, Fiction, Politics
"Film Noir" evokes memories of stylish, cynical, black-and-white movies from the 1940s and 1950s—melodramas about private eyes, femmes fatales, criminal gangs, and lovers on the run. In this course, we will examine noir in relation to its many contexts: the hard-boiled fiction of Chandler and Hammett; the experience of dislocation and alienation that reflect the exile status of many central-European professionals who worked in the US film industry in the 1940s; and Hollywood blacklisting and censorship during the anti-Communist witch hunt. The course will also trace the pervasive presence of noir and its continuing appeal for artists and audiences throughout the world. Because of its artistic and political complexity, noir is a key term for the study of US postwar cultural history: noir narratives revolve around questions of racial and national identity, around the postwar crisis of masculinity, and the convergence of modernism and mass culture. (ART/INT/W)
Last Updated: 3/21/13