English | American Film Culture
L295 | 0255 | DeWitt Douglas Kilgore


4:00P-5:15P D (30) 3 CR.
7:00P-9:00P T (required film showings)

What does it mean to be human in highly technologized environment?
Is science, technology and rationality good or bad?  Will the future
be a time of efficient, ruthless oppression or of happiness for
all?  Over the past century science fiction films have addressed all
of the questions, creating a unique and powerful expressive form.
In it science is celebrated and condemned.  Humanity is defined
against its others and sometimes redefined as the other.  Audiences
are taken to distant places, other times and the ordinary is made
strange.  At its best cinematic science fiction allows us to escape
from the mundane in ways that are challenging and pleasurable.

In this course we will define science fiction film as a genre,
explore the meaning of special effects, and examine the impact of
design on narrative.  Major narrative themes will be spaceflight,
time travel, artificial intelligence, futurism (utopia/dystopia),
and first contact with the alien.  Films such as 2001: A Space
Odyssey, The Time Machine, Destination Moon, Forbidden Planet, The
day the Earth Stood Still, and King Kong will be our primary texts.
The student will also be introduced to relevant critical literature
on science fiction and film.  This literature will provide the
historical background, explications of technique, and critical
vocabulary necessary in defining our approach to the films.  Films
and sections of films will be screened either in class and/or at the
regularly scheduled screening session on Tuesday night/afternoon.

Three exams (two in-class exams and a final), a film journal, and a
research presentation are required to complete the course in good
standing.