College of Arts and Sciences | Contemporary World Cinema
C103 | 14338 | Beinek, J.


COLL-C 103 14338 Contemporary World Cinema (Beinek, J.: Slavic
Languages and Literatures) (A & H) (3 cr.)

4:00-6:00PM MW
6:15-8:15PM MW  Film Screening

This class will explore some of the most critically acclaimed and
commercially successful international feature films of the past
decade. We will watch movies that come from around the globe and
represent countries from France, Germany, Austria, Great Britain,
and Spain to Poland and Russia to Japan to South Africa to Mexico
and Argentina. We will learn how to approach films critically – in
academic and “private” movie-watching contexts; we will discuss
different ways of analyzing movies and will interpret class films
from various theoretical standpoints.

The films’ thematic concerns range from the depiction of life in
present-day slums of South Africa (Tsotsi, dir. Gavin Hood, 2005)
and India (Slumdog Millionaire, dir. Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan,
2008) to communist East Germany (Lives of Others, dir. Florian
Henckel von Donnersmarck, 2006); from an analysis of sources of
violence and terror (The White Ribbon, dir. Michael Haneke, 2009) to
a meditation on respect for the dead (Departures, dir. Yojiro
Takita, 2008); from the tragic yet life-affirming Holocaust story
(The Pianist, dir. Roman Polanski, 2002) to the buoyant “make-feel-
good” movie about love in Paris (Amélie, dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet,
2001) to a unique art project that consists of a 90-minute
uninterrupted shot of the Hermitage gallery in St. Petersburg,
Russia (Russian Ark, dir. Alexander Sokurov, 2002). We will talk
about the possibilities and limits of cinematic representation of
cultures, nations, historical events, social issues, abstract ideas,
collective and personal memory, gender, ethnicity, and/or
private/public realms. We will analyze various genres: drama,
fantasy, comedy, literary adaptation, thriller, and others. We will
discuss distinctive cinematographic styles that characterize
contemporary world cinema. As we analyze films, we will also define
our analytical criteria and basic film theory terms. To this end we
will reflect on the aim of movie criticism, the difference between
opinion and evaluation, various elements of film (narrative,
characters, plot, point of view, mise-en-scène, composition, image,
and sound), main critical approaches to film criticism, and ways of
writing about film.