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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Sudhir Mahadevan
C LIT 271
Seattle Campus

Perspectives on Film: Great Directors

Introduction to authorship in the cinema. The work of a major director or directors. C LIT 270, C LIT 271, C LIT 272 are designed to be taken as a sequence, but may be taken individually.

Class description


This introductory course is meant for students with no prior experience with film analysis or who have not taken a film class before. The course has two aims. The first is to teach students the basic skills and vocabulary of film analysis. By the end of the quarter, students should be able to describe a movie (or portions of it) using the vocabulary they learn in this class, and be able to construct an argument about the meaning of the movie.

The second aim is to give students a basic introduction to two important contemporary directors, David Cronenberg and David Lynch, from Canada and the U.S, respectively. We will use the films of these directors to learn the basic tools of film analysis. The two directors work in a variety of genres: horror, science fiction, thrillers and murder mysteries, the road movie, literary adaptations.

Cronenberg has been fascinated by the effects of bodily transformations. Those transformations can be through technological hardware, or contagious diseases, or through scientific research. His movies offer extraordinary images of transformed states of being. David Lynch constructs a surreal cinematic experience that undermines the difference between reality and dream, sometimes with intensity. Both directors can be as unnerving as they can be thought-provoking.

Films screened will include the following: Shivers, Rabid, Wild at Heart, Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive, The Fly, History of Violence, Eastern Promises. Films will also be available in streaming format online for students talking the class.

Course work: 2 screening sessions and 2 lectures per week; quiz sections; course pack of short readings, and film analysis textbook.

Screening sessions will only last as long as the duration of the movie being screened. Lecture sessions will be about 80 minutes long.

Assignments - short 1 page response papers, analytical essay, plus quizzes

Student learning goals

Learn vocabulary for film analysis and description

Learn to identify, and describe particular cinematic techniques and how they contribute to the meaning of a movie.

Learn to construct an argument about a movie and write it in essay form.

Learn about the major films of two important contemporary film directors

Learn how the two directors fit into the history of Canadian and U.S cinema, as well as independent and art cinema.

General method of instruction

Lectures, discussion sections

Recommended preparation

Like movies! strange movies! Fascinating movies!

Class assignments and grading

The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Sudhir Mahadevan
Date: 11/07/2011