Film Studies

Students may complete a minor in Film Studies.

Steering Committee

Timothy Harte, Chair and Associate Professor of Russian
Homay King, Associate Professor of History of Art and Director of Film Studies and the Center for Visual Culture
Hoang Tan Nguyen, Associate Professor of English and Film Studies (on leave semesters I and II)
Michael Tratner, Mary E. Garrett Alumnae Professor of English
Sharon Ullman, Professor of History and Director of Gender and Sexuality Studies

Affiliated Faculty

Shiamin Kwa, Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies on the Jye Chu Lectureship in Chinese Studies
Steven Z. Levine, Professor of History of Art and the Leslie Clark Professor in the Humanities (on leave semesters I and II)
Roberta Ricci, Chair and Associate Professor of Italian (on leave semesters I and II)
David Romberg, Visiting Assistant Professor of History of Art
H. Rosi Song, Chair and Associate Professor of Spanish

Film Studies is an interdisciplinary program of inquiry bringing a range of analytical methods to bear upon films, film audiences, and the social and industrial contexts of film and media production, distribution and exhibition. The courses that comprise the minor in film studies reflect the diversity of approaches in the academic study of cinema. The minor is anchored by core courses in formal analysis, history and theory. Elective courses in particular film styles, directors, national cinemas, genres, areas of theory and criticism, video production, and issues in film and media culture add both breadth and depth to this program of study.

Film Studies is a Bryn Mawr College minor. Students must take a majority of courses on the Bryn Mawr campus; however, minors are encouraged to consider courses offered in the Tri-College consortium and at the University of Pennsylvania. Students should work with the director of the Film Studies Program to develop a minor work plan when declaring the minor.

Minor Requirements

In consultation with the program director, students design a program of study that includes a range of film genres, styles, national cinemas, eras and disciplinary and methodological approaches. Students are strongly encouraged to take at least one course addressing topics in global or non-western cinema. The minor consists of a total of six courses and must include the following:

  • One introductory course in the formal analysis of film
  • One course in film history or an area of film history
  • One course in film theory or an area of film theory
  • Three electives.

At least one of the six courses must be at the 300 level. Courses that fall into two or more of the above categories may fulfill the requirement of the student’s choosing, but may not fulfill more than one requirement simultaneously. Students should consult with their advisers to determine which courses, if any, may count simultaneously for multiple credentials. Final approval is at the discretion of the program director.

COURSES

ARTW B266 Screenwriting
An introduction to screenwriting. Issues basic to the art of storytelling in film will be addressed and analyzed: character, dramatic structure, theme, setting, image, sound. The course focuses on the film adaptation; readings include novels, screenplays, and short stories. Films adapted from the readings will be screened. In the course of the semester, students will be expected to outline and complete the first act of an adapted screenplay of their own.
Approach: Critical Interpretation (CI)
Counts towards: Film Studies
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s):Doyne,N.
(Fall 2014)

COML B110 Critical Approaches to Visual Representation: Identification in the Cinema
An introduction to the analysis of film through particular attention to the role of the spectator. Why do moving images compel our fascination? How exactly do film spectators relate to the people, objects, and places that appear on the screen? Wherein lies the power of images to move, attract, repel, persuade, or transform its viewers? In this course, students will be introduced to film theory through the rich and complex topic of identification. We will explore how points of view are framed in cinema, and how those viewing positions differ from those of still photography, advertising, video games, and other forms of media. Students will be encouraged to consider the role the cinematic medium plays in influencing our experience of a film: how it is not simply a film’s content, but the very form of representation that creates interactions between the spectator and the images on the screen. Film screenings include Psycho, Being John Malkovich, and others. Course is geared to freshman and those with no prior film instruction. Fulfills History of Art major 100-level course requirement, Film Studies minor Introductory course or Theory course requirement. Syllabus is subject to change at instructor’s discretion.
Approach: Critical Interpretation (CI); Inquiry into the Past (IP)
Major Writing Requirement: Writing Intensive
Counts towards: Film Studies
Crosslisting(s): HART-B110
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s):King,H.
(Spring 2015)

COML B214 Italy Today: New Voices, New Writers, New Literature
This course, taught in English, will focus primarily on the works of the so-called “migrant writers” who, having adopted the Italian language, have become a significant part of the new voice of Italy. In addition to the aesthetic appreciation of these works, this course will also take into consideration the social, cultural, and political factors surrounding them. The course will focus on works by writers who are now integral to Italian canon – among them: Cristina Ali-Farah, Igiaba Scego, Ghermandi Gabriella, Amara Lakhous. As part of the course, movies concerned with various aspects of Italian Migrant literature will be screened and analyzed.
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC); Critical Interpretation (CI)
Counts towards: Gender and Sexuality Studies; Film Studies
Crosslisting(s): ITAL-B212
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2014-2015)

COML B238 Topics: The History of Cinema 1895 to 1945
This is a topics course. Course content varies.
Approach: Inquiry into the Past (IP)
Counts towards: Film Studies
Crosslisting(s): ENGL-B238; RUSS-B238; HART-B238
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2014-2015)

COML B306 Film Theory
An introduction to major developments in film theory and criticism. Topics covered include: the specificity of film form; cinematic realism; the cinematic “author”; the politics and ideology of cinema; the relation between cinema and language; spectatorship, identification, and subjectivity; archival and historical problems in film studies; the relation between film studies and other disciplines of aesthetic and social criticism. Each week of the syllabus pairs critical writing(s) on a central principle of film analysis with a cinematic example. Class will be divided between discussion of critical texts and attempts to apply them to a primary cinematic text.
Counts towards: Film Studies
Crosslisting(s): HART-B306; ENGL-B306
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s):King,H.
(Fall 2014)

EAST B212 Introduction to Chinese Literature
This is a topics course. Topics may vary.
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC); Critical Interpretation (CI)
Counts towards: Film Studies
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Kwa,S., Wang,M.
Spring 2015: Current topic description: This class examines the material world of the Qing dynasty novel Hongloumeng, or Dream of the Red Chamber. Using literary theory and material culture studies, we will situate the novel in relation to ideas of circulation in late imperial China and contemporaneous cultures in other world regions. Topics include global trade, exchange, technology, etc.

EAST B240 Topics in Chinese Film
This is a topics course. Course content varies. Prerequisite: At least one course approved as an EAST core course or permission of instructor.
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC); Critical Interpretation (CI)
Counts towards: Film Studies
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Kwa,S.
Fall 2014: Current topic description: Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige - This semester we will be examining films and related literature of two directors from the Peoples’ Republic of China. We will consider representative works that extend from the 1980s to the present day.

EAST B315 Spirits, Saints, Snakes, Swords: Women in East Asian Literature and Film
This interdisciplinary course focuses on a critical survey of literary and visual texts by and about Chinese women. We will begin by focusing on the cultural norms that defined women’s lives beginning in early China, and consider how those tropes are reflected and rejected over time and geographical borders (in Japan, Hong Kong and the United States). No prior knowledge of Chinese culture or language necessary.
Counts towards: Gender and Sexuality Studies; Film Studies
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2014-2015)

EDUC B320 Topics in German Literature and Culture
This is a topics course. Course content varies. Previous topics include: Romantic Literary Theory and Literary Modernity; Configurations of Femininity in German Literature; Nietzsche and Modern Cultural Criticism; Contemporary German Fiction; No Child Left Behind: Education in German Literature and Culture, German Literary Culture in Exile (1933-1945).
Counts towards: Film Studies
Crosslisting(s): GERM-B320
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2014-2015)

ENGL B205 Introduction to Film
This course is intended to provide students with the tools of critical film analysis. Through readings of images and sounds, sections of films and entire narratives, students will cultivate the habits of critical viewing and establish a foundation for focused work in film studies. The course introduces formal and technical units of cinematic meaning and categories of genre and history that add up to the experiences and meanings we call cinema. Although much of the course material will focus on the Hollywood style of film, examples will be drawn from the history of cinema. Attendance at weekly screenings is mandatory.
Approach: Critical Interpretation (CI)
Counts towards: Film Studies
Crosslisting(s): HART-B205
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s):Tratner,M.
(Fall 2014)

ENGL B238 Topics: The History of Cinema 1895 to 1945
This is a topics course. Course content varies.
Approach: Inquiry into the Past (IP)
Counts towards: Film Studies
Crosslisting(s): RUSS-B238; HART-B238; COML-B238
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2014-2015)

ENGL B261 Topics: Film and the German Literary Imagination
This is a topics course. Course content varies.
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC); Critical Interpretation (CI)
Counts towards: Gender and Sexuality Studies; Film Studies
Crosslisting(s): GERM-B262
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2014-2015)

ENGL B299 History of Narrative Cinema, 1945 to the Present
This course surveys the history of narrative film from 1945 through contemporary cinema. We will analyze a chronological series of styles and national cinemas, including Classical Hollywood, Italian Neorealism, the French New Wave, and other post-war movements and genres. Viewings of canonical films will be supplemented by more recent examples of global cinema. While historical in approach, this course emphasizes the theory and criticism of the sound film, and we will consider various methodological approaches to the aesthetic, socio-political, and psychological dimensions of cinema. Readings will provide historical context, and will introduce students to key concepts in film studies such as realism, formalism, spectatorship, the auteur theory, and genre studies. Fulfills the history requirement or the introductory course requirement for the Film Studies minor.
Approach: Critical Interpretation (CI); Inquiry into the Past (IP)
Counts towards: Film Studies
Crosslisting(s): HART-B299
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s):King,H.
(Fall 2014)

ENGL B306 Film Theory
This course covers a selection of key texts in film theory. Our primary method of inquiry will be close analysis of primary theoretical texts. Topics of discussion may include: the ontology of the photographic image, the ethics of cinema, cinematic space and temporality, and film theory’s relationship to other forms of visual media. Film screenings will serve to illustrate and complicate theoretical concepts. Fulfills the theory requirement for Film Studies minors.
Counts towards: Film Studies
Crosslisting(s): HART-B306; COML-B306
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s):King,H.
(Fall 2014)

ENGL B323 Movies, Fascism, and Communism
Movies and mass politics emerged together, altering entertainment and government in strangely similar ways. Fascism and communism claimed an inherent relation to the masses and hence to movies; Hollywood rejected such claims. We will examine films alluding to fascism or communism, to understand them as commenting on political debates and on the mass experience of movie going.
Counts towards: Film Studies
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2014-2015)

ENGL B324 Topics in Shakespeare: Shakespeare on Film
Films and play texts vary from year to year. The course assumes significant prior experience of Shakespearean drama and/or Renaissance drama.
Counts towards: Film Studies
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2014-2015)

ENGL B334 Topics in Film Studies
This is a topics course. Content varies.
Counts towards: Gender and Sexuality Studies; Film Studies
Crosslisting(s): HART-B334
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2014-2015)

ENGL B336 Topics in Film
This course examines experimental film and video from the 1930s to present. It will concentrate on the use of found footage: the reworking of existing imagery in order to generate new aesthetic frameworks and cultural meanings. Key issues to be explored include copyright, piracy, archive, activism, affect, aesthetics, interactivity and fandom.
Counts towards: Film Studies
Crosslisting(s): HART-B336
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2014-2015)

ENGL B353 Queer Diasporas: Empire, Desire, and the Politics of Placement
Looking at fiction and film from the U.S. and abroad through the lenses of sexuality studies and queer theory, we will explore the ways that both current and past configurations of sexual, racial, and cultural personhood have inflected, infringed upon, and opened up spaces of local/global citizenship and belonging. Prerequisites: An introductory course in film, or GNST B290, or ENGL B250.
Approach: Critical Interpretation (CI)
Counts towards: Gender and Sexuality Studies; Film Studies
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2014-2015)

GERM B262 Topics: Film and the German Literary Imagination
This is a topics course. Course content varies.
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC); Critical Interpretation (CI)
Counts towards: Film Studies
Crosslisting(s): ENGL-B261
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2014-2015)

GERM B320 Topics in German Literature and Culture
This is a topics course. Course content varies. Previous topics include: Romantic Literary Theory and Literary Modernity; Configurations of Femininity in German Literature; Nietzsche and Modern Cultural Criticism; Contemporary German Fiction; No Child Left Behind: Education in German Literature and Culture, German Literary Culture in Exile (1933-1945).
Counts towards: Film Studies
Crosslisting(s): EDUC-B320
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2014-2015)

GNST B255 Video Production
This course will explore aesthetic strategies utilized by low-budget film and video makers as each student works throughout the semester to complete a 7-15 minute film or video project. Course requirements include weekly screenings, reading assignments, and class screenings of rushes and roughcuts of student projects. Prerequisites: Some prior film course experience necessary, instructor discretion.
Counts towards: Film Studies
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s):Romberg,D.
(Fall 2014)

GNST B302 Topics in Video Production
This is a topics course. Course content varies. Prerequisite: GNST B255 or ENGL/HART B205 or ICPR H243 or ICPR H343 or ICPR H278 or ANTH H207 or an equivalent Video Production course, such as Documentary Production or an equivalent critical course in Film or Media Studies.
Counts towards: Film Studies
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s):Romberg,D.
(Spring 2015)

HART B110 Critical Approaches to Visual Representation: Identification in the Cinema
An introduction to the analysis of film through particular attention to the role of the spectator. Why do moving images compel our fascination? How exactly do film spectators relate to the people, objects, and places that appear on the screen? Wherein lies the power of images to move, attract, repel, persuade, or transform its viewers? In this course, students will be introduced to film theory through the rich and complex topic of identification. We will explore how points of view are framed in cinema, and how those viewing positions differ from those of still photography, advertising, video games, and other forms of media. Students will be encouraged to consider the role the cinematic medium plays in influencing our experience of a film: how it is not simply a film’s content, but the very form of representation that creates interactions between the spectator and the images on the screen. Film screenings include Psycho, Being John Malkovich, and others. Course is geared to freshman and those with no prior film instruction. Fulfills History of Art major 100-level course requirement, Film Studies minor Introductory course or Theory course requirement. Syllabus is subject to change at instructor’s discretion.
Approach: Critical Interpretation (CI); Inquiry into the Past (IP)
Major Writing Requirement: Writing Intensive
Counts towards: Film Studies
Crosslisting(s): COML-B110
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s):King,H.
(Spring 2015)

HART B205 Introduction to Film
This course is intended to provide students with the tools of critical film analysis. Through readings of images and sounds, sections of films and entire narratives, students will cultivate the habits of critical viewing and establish a foundation for focused work in film studies. The course introduces formal and technical units of cinematic meaning and categories of genre and history that add up to the experiences and meanings we call cinema. Although much of the course material will focus on the Hollywood style of film, examples will be drawn from the history of cinema. Attendance at weekly screenings is mandatory.
Approach: Critical Interpretation (CI)
Counts towards: Film Studies
Crosslisting(s): ENGL-B205
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s):Tratner,M.
(Fall 2014)

HART B215 Russian Avant-Garde Art, Literature and Film
This course focuses on Russian avant-garde painting, literature and cinema at the start of the 20th century. Moving from Imperial Russian art to Stalinist aesthetics, we explore the rise of non-objective painting (Malevich, Kandinsky, etc.), ground-breaking literature (Bely, Mayakovsky), and revolutionary cinema (Vertov, Eisenstein). No knowledge of Russian required.
Approach: Critical Interpretation (CI)
Counts towards: Film Studies
Crosslisting(s): RUSS-B215
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2014-2015)

HART B238 Topics: The History of Cinema 1895 to 1945
This is a topics course. Course content varies.
Approach: Inquiry into the Past (IP)
Counts towards: Film Studies
Crosslisting(s): ENGL-B238; RUSS-B238; COML-B238
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2014-2015)

HART B299 History of Narrative Cinema, 1945 to the Present
This course surveys the history of narrative film from 1945 through contemporary cinema. We will analyze a chronological series of styles and national cinemas, including Classical Hollywood, Italian Neorealism, the French New Wave, and other post-war movements and genres. Viewings of canonical films will be supplemented by more recent examples of global cinema. While historical in approach, this course emphasizes the theory and criticism of the sound film, and we will consider various methodological approaches to the aesthetic, socio-political, and psychological dimensions of cinema. Readings will provide historical context, and will introduce students to key concepts in film studies such as realism, formalism, spectatorship, the auteur theory, and genre studies. Fulfills the history requirement or the introductory course requirement for the Film Studies minor.
Approach: Critical Interpretation (CI); Inquiry into the Past (IP)
Counts towards: Film Studies
Crosslisting(s): ENGL-B299
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s):King,H.
(Fall 2014)

HART B306 Film Theory
An introduction to major developments in film theory and criticism. Topics covered include: the specificity of film form; cinematic realism; the cinematic “author”; the politics and ideology of cinema; the relation between cinema and language; spectatorship, identification, and subjectivity; archival and historical problems in film studies; the relation between film studies and other disciplines of aesthetic and social criticism. Each week of the syllabus pairs critical writing(s) on a central principle of film analysis with a cinematic example. Class will be divided between discussion of critical texts and attempts to apply them to a primary cinematic text.
Counts towards: Film Studies
Crosslisting(s): ENGL-B306; COML-B306
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s):King,H.
(Fall 2014)

HART B334 Topics in Film Studies
This is a topics course. Course content varies.
Counts towards: Gender and Sexuality Studies; Film Studies
Crosslisting(s): ENGL-B334
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2014-2015)

HART B336 Topics in Film
This course examines experimental film and video from the 1930s to present. It will concentrate on the use of found footage: the reworking of existing imagery in order to generate new aesthetic frameworks and cultural meanings. Key issues to be explored include copyright, piracy, archive, activism, affect, aesthetics, interactivity and fandom.
Counts towards: Film Studies
Crosslisting(s): ENGL-B336
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2014-2015)

HIST B284 Movies and America
Movies are one of the most important means by which Americans come to know – or think they know—their own history. This class examines the complex cultural relationship between film and American historical self fashioning.
Approach: Critical Interpretation (CI); Inquiry into the Past (IP)
Counts towards: Gender and Sexuality Studies; Film Studies
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s):Ullman,S.
(Fall 2014)

ITAL B212 Italy Today: New Voices, New Writers, New Literature
This course, taught in English, will focus primarily on the works of the so-called “migrant writers” who, having adopted the Italian language, have become a significant part of the new voice of Italy. In addition to the aesthetic appreciation of these works, this course will also take into consideration the social, cultural, and political factors surrounding them. The course will focus on works by writers who are now integral to Italian canon – among them: Cristina Ali-Farah, Igiaba Scego, Ghermandi Gabriella, Amara Lakhous. As part of the course, movies concerned with various aspects of Italian Migrant literature will be screened and analyzed.
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC); Critical Interpretation (CI)
Counts towards: Gender and Sexuality Studies; Film Studies
Crosslisting(s): COML-B214
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2014-2015)

ITAL B225 Italian Cinema and Literary Adaptation
The course will discuss how cinema conditions literary imagination and how literature leaves its imprint on cinema. We will “read” films as “literary images” and “see” novels as “visual stories.” The reading of Italian literary sources will be followed by evaluation of the corresponding films by well-known directors, including female directors. We will study, through close analysis, such issues as Fascism, nationhood, gender, sexuality, politics, regionalism, death, and family within the European context of WWII and post-war Italy
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)
Counts towards: Film Studies
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2014-2015)

ITAL B229 Food in Italian Literature, Culture, and Cinema
Taught in English. A profile of Italian literature/culture/cinema obtained through an analysis of gastronomic documents, films, literary texts, and magazines. We will also include a discussion of the Slow Food Revolution, a movement initiated in Italy in 1980 and now with a world-wide following, and its social, economic, ecological, aesthetic, and cultural impact to counteract fast food and to promote local food traditions. Course taught in English. One additional hour for students who want Italian credit. Prerequisite: ITAL 102
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)
Counts towards: Film Studies
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s):Rusin,N.
(Fall 2014)

ITAL B255 Uomini d’onore in Sicilia: Italian Mafia in Literature and Cinema
This course aims to explore representations of Mafia figures in Italian literature and cinema, with reference also to Italian-American films, starting from the ‘classical’ example of Sicily. The course will introduce students to both Italian Studies from an interdisciplinary prospective and also to narrative fiction, using Italian literature written by 19th, 20th, and 21st Italian Sicilian authors. Course is taught in Italian. Prerequisite: ITAL B102 or permission of the instructor.
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)
Counts towards: Film Studies
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2014-2015)

ITAL B299 Grief, Sexuality, Identity: Emerging Adulthood
Adolescence is an important time of personality development as a result of changes in the self-concept and the formation of a new moral system of values. Emphasis will be placed on issues confronting the role of the family and peer relationships, prostitution, drugs, youth criminality/gangsters/violence, cultural diversity, pregnancy, gender identity, mental/moral/religious development, emotional growth, alcoholism, homosexuality, sexual behavior. Prerequisite: ITAL B102.
Counts towards: Gender and Sexuality Studies; Film Studies
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2014-2015)

RUSS B215 Russian Avant-Garde Art, Literature and Film
This course focuses on Russian avant-garde painting, literature and cinema at the start of the 20th century. Moving from Imperial Russian art to Stalinist aesthetics, we explore the rise of non-objective painting (Malevich, Kandinsky, etc.), ground-breaking literature (Bely, Mayakovsky), and revolutionary cinema (Vertov, Eisenstein). No knowledge of Russian required.
Approach: Critical Interpretation (CI)
Counts towards: Film Studies
Crosslisting(s): HART-B215
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2014-2015)

RUSS B238 Topics: The History of Cinema 1895 to 1945
This is a topics course. Course content varies.
Approach: Inquiry into the Past (IP)
Counts towards: Film Studies
Crosslisting(s): ENGL-B238; HART-B238; COML-B238
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2014-2015)

RUSS B258 Soviet and Eastern European Cinema of the 1960s
This course examines 1960s Soviet and Eastern European “New Wave” cinema, which won worldwide acclaim through its treatment of war, gender, and aesthetics. Films from Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Russia, and Yugoslavia will be viewed and analyzed, accompanied by readings on film history and theory. All films shown with subtitles; no knowledge of Russian or previous study of film required.
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC); Critical Interpretation (CI)
Major Writing Requirement: Writing Attentive
Counts towards: Film Studies
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s):Harte,T.
(Fall 2014)