EXPLORING THE FILM

CTA 271
Spring 2008

Fax: 837-8912

Hugh McCarney
Email: mccarneyh@wcsu.edu
B 213
837-8254



Text: Bordwell and Thompson, Film Art (B&T)
ERes Discussion
Films chosen for papers


SCHEDULE

Date (Thursday) Assignment Viewing
1/24 Read B&T Chapters 2 & 3: "The Significance of Film Form,"
and "Narrative as a Formal System"
The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg
1/31 Read B&T, Chapter 4: "Film Genres";
The title of the film you will be working with is due
The General
2/7 Five item bibliography due
Frenzy
2/14 Paper due: narrative form
Bicycle Thief
2/21 See Citizen Kane before class Citizen Kane
2/28 Read B&T, Chapters 6 & 7: "The Shot: Mise-en-scene",
and "The Shot: Cinematography"
Mildred Pierce
3/6 Discussion of two critical articles related to your film is due
The Big Sleep
3/13 Read B&T, Chapter 8: "The Relation of Shot to Shot: Editing"

Paper due: Stylistic form, part 1
Beauty and the Beast (Cocteau)
3/20 Read B&T, Chapter 9, "Sound in the Cinema"
Casablanca
3/27 Spring Break
4/3 Paper due: stylistic form, part 2
Blood Simple
4/10 Read B&T, Chapter 10, "Style as a Formal System"

The Road Warrior
4/17 Read B&T, Chapter 11, "Film Criticism"
Brief introduction to the Final Paper is due
The Shootist
4/24 Read B&T, Chapter 1, "The Work of Film Production"
It Happened One Night
5/1 Read B&T, Chapter 12, "Film Form and Film History"
Final paper due
Palm Beach Story
5/8 Final Viewing
A Night at the Opera

COURSE OBJECTIVE: To understand how the elements of film combine to present, support, or develop ideas--how film communicates.

READING: The reading will provide you with essential information for writing the papers.

VIEWING: You are encouraged to see as many of the films mentioned in the text as possible. The library has viewing facilities on the second floor.

GRADES: The Midterm grade is based on the best of the first two short papers. The final grades are based half on the best two short papers and half on the long paper.

PAPERS: All of the papers are based on one film chosen from the library collection. The papers are analytical, discussing how one or more elements function to achieve something, and what this achievement contributes to the film. The papers must be word processed and you are encouraged to make use of the writing lab. All papers will be submitted by email, and must be sent before class begins on the due date.

The short papers are cumulative, in the sense that each becomes a portion of the final paper, which will also include a brief introduction to the film, a discussion of some of the critical response to the film, your analysis, and a bibliography. See "Requirements For Typed Papers" for information about the form of the papers. A link below leads to a summary of the APA style of referencing. Printers are available in all of the computer labs.

In both the short and final papers it is essential to discuss why the element was included as well as what it accomplishes. Assume that your reader has seen the film and that your task is to help him or her understand what has been seen. A simple plot summary is not adequate.

Late papers will not be accepted without a doctor's note.

CONVENTIONS FOLLOWED IN WRITING ABOUT FILM:
  • Film titles are underlined.
  • Characters are referred to by the character's name, not the name of the actor playing the part.

    All reference material must be credited using the form presented in The Publication Manual of the APA. The use of undocumented material will be regarded as palgerism, and, at a minimum, will result in an F for the course.

    DISABILITIES:
    If you are a student with a disability, please make an appointment with Deborah Cohen at the Disability Services Office located in the Student Center, room 207 (837-8946). She will write an accommodation letter that you will need to bring to me. Once you have your letter, please come by my office to speak to me about your accommodations and any other concerns you may have such as medical emergencies, arranging a note-taker or arrangements in case the building must be evacuated. Please bring me your accommodation letter as soon as possible, even if you think you may not need to use your accommodation.
    Sample Papers

    Course Page