Communication and Culture | Media Theory (Topic: Cinema in the Digital Era)
C410 | 26078 | Klinger, B.

TuTh, 11:15 AM-12:30 PM, 800 E. 3rd St. – room 203
Required film screening: Tu, 7:15 PM-10:15 PM, SE 105

Instructor: Barbara Klinger
Office: 800 E. 3rd St. – room 225
Phone: 855-1796

This course examines the changes cinema has undergone as a result of
the “digital revolution.” Rather than analyze how digital effects
are achieved, we will explore the impact of digital developments on
the aesthetics and experience of cinema as a medium. In particular,
we will consider how these developments have affected theories of
the visual image, film narrative, performance, and the film
spectator. Rather than asking, as some do, whether digital
technologies signal the end of cinema, we will explore this newest
relationship between Hollywood and technological change looking for
both continuities and ruptures with cinema’s past.

Among questions we will explore are: How is the digital image
different aesthetically and experientially from the photographic
image upon which cinema has been based since its invention in the
late 1800s? How have filmmakers used digital video (DV) as an
alternative to celluloid? How have computer games and other forms
influenced the way stories are constructed in Hollywood films? Has
the domination of special effects in action and science-fiction
blockbusters altered classic-era storytelling priorities, as well as
the expectations and experiences of viewers and critics? Since
digital technologies enable the creation of life-like characters
(such as Dr. Aki Ross in Final Fantasy and Gollum in Lord of the
Rings), how does this possibility affect notions of performance and
celebrity? Have digital formats and venues like Internet message
boards and Youtube changed the experience of movie viewers, making
them into interactive partners in media enterprise? What is the
significance of cyberfandom, DV, and the Internet in transforming
media consumers into media producers who write fan fiction and make
fan films? These and other issues raised in the course will help us
to address what cinema means today and what we might expect of the
medium in the future, as it continues to be shaped by technological

Required weekly screenings will focus on a broad array of films,
from Forrest Gump and Pixar animation to the work of the Dogma 95
movement and Internet fan films—films that have experimented in very
different ways with digital capabilities.

Among theorists we will read are: Andre Bazin, Lev Manovich, Phil
Rosen, Henry Jenkins, David Bordwell, Jay Bolter and Richard Grusin,
and Janet Murray.

Assignments include a mid-term and final exam and a series of short