English 268: Film Analysis
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Lisa Jadwin, Ph.D.
Professor of English
110 Basil Hall, St. John Fisher College

Description and Goals

Many of us watch film uncritically, without analyzing the way that the film's construction creates our responses. This course will introduce students to the fundamentals of film language and provide conceptual tools needed to critically analyze films. As we focus on mise-en-scène, editing, narrative, performance, and other elements of film, we will see how these structural elements function to express complex meanings. The films that we will discuss in class have been selected to provide a sense of how film form has evolved through, and been influenced by, human cultures.

This course is suitable for all undergraduate students, including those with no previous experience of film analysis. There are semi-weekly short writing assignments, two midterms, a final, and much in-class analysis and discussion. The course will meet once a week for three hours, usually at night. To learn more about the course, download the most recent course syllabus.

Barsam, Richard. Looking at Movies. Second edition; includes two DVDs and the supplementary book Writing about Movies.

DVD copies of films are available at the Lavery Library Reserve Desk for short-term, in-library use only. You are not required to buy your own copies of the films; however, you may choose to buy or rent copies for personal and off-campus use. Possible sources for short-term borrowing are local video shops such as Blockbuster and Hollywood Video and the Monroe County Library, which has many branches located within a few miles of St. John Fisher.

The Wizard of Oz (1939; dir. Victor Fleming)
Courage Under Fire (1996; dir. Edward Zwick)
The Draughtsman's Contract (1982; dir. Peter Greenaway)
Rosemary's Baby (1968; dir. Roman Polanski)
Singing in the Rain (1952; dir. Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991; dir. Jonathan Demme)
Rebecca (1940; dir. Alfred Hitchcock)
Citizen Kane (1941; dir. Orson Welles)
Touching the Void (2003; dir. Kevin McDonald)
Michael Clayton (2007; dir. Tony Gilmore)

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©Lisa Jadwin, 1997-2009. All rights reserved. Last updated September 18, 2009.