Germanic Languages | German Film Culture
E323 | 11677 | Wagner

Topic: What is Cinema?  Theories of Film in the European Tradition

Fall 2009 (2nd 8 Weeks)
This course will introduce students to some of the major concerns of
European film theory in the first half of the 20th century.
Throughout the semester we will be thinking about theory in relation
both to technological and artistic advances in filmmaking and to
today’s concerns with new media.  While learning ‘what cinema was,”
students will also be developing their own theories of newer
image-making and image-viewing technologies:  ipods, cellphones, video
games, webcams, etc.

Throughout the course students will engage critically both with the
texts and with various audiovisual models.  Each week a different
student or small group will be responsible for a short video project
and presentation.  Using digital video and editing software, each
group will construct a short film sequence (no more than 2-3 minutes)
illustrating the week’s approach to cinema.  In class the groups will
have a chance to screen their work and give a short presentation on
their methods and assumptions.  In addition, students will develop
their own theories of new media in a short paper (5pp.) to be turned
in at the end of the semester.

Readings will include the works of Rudolf Arnheim, Walter Benjamin,
André Bazin, Germaine Dulac, Jean Epstein, Sergei Eisenstein,
Siegfried Kracauer, Hugo Münsterberg, and others.  In addition, there
will be weekly screenings of relevant films.

Required Texts:
Rudolf Arnheim, Film as Art [ISBN-13:  978-0520248373]
André Bazin, What is Cinema? Vol. 1 [ISBN-13:  978-0520242272]
Siegfried Kracauer, Theory of Film [ISBN-13:  978-0691037042]
Hugo Münsterberg, The Photoplay:  A Psychological Study [ISBN-13:
Online Course Reader

Cross-list with:
Communication and Culture
Comparative Literature
Fine Arts/Art History