Office: ll-645 Office Hours: By Appointment Course Description



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FMS 504

Film Analysis
Professor: Dr. Aaron Baker

Email: Aaron.Baker@asu.edu

Office: LL-645

Office Hours: By Appointment
Course Description: This course offers graduate students an advanced introduction to some of the central methodologies for studying film. We will begin with the assumption that film analysis requires careful attention to form--how filmmakers communicate through systems such as narrative structure, editing, mise-en-scene, and cinematography. We will then move on to look at the concept of authorship in film, as well as several genres and styles of movies, and finally to how the medium represents stardom, social identities, national culture and history.
Reading: There is one required text that you need to buy for this class: Film Art: An Introduction (Ninth Edition, 2009) by David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson. You can find it at the ASU bookstore or from an online distributor such as Amazon.com.
You will also be reading a number of articles, posted online within the class website. To honor copyright law, I ask that you do not share nor distribute these documents. Read the assignments carefully and on time, as they will help you understand the lectures and form the basis of our online seminar (eBoard) discussions.

 

Screenings:  You are responsible for screening one film per lesson. The films are available to stream from the course website. Click on Screening and then the film’s title.


I will make reference to the assigned films in the PowerPoint/Audio Lectures and in the discussion board questions.
GRADED WORK

Participation (100 Points):  You are responsible for participating in the online seminar discussions that take place on the eBoard.  At a minimum, you should answer the questions posted by your professor and provide classmates with constructive feedback for a minimum of four (4) posts per lesson.
All of your posts should be substantive; i.e., thoughtful, developed, connected to the lesson topic, and more than four sentences long. These posts must keep up with the progress of the course. You cannot, for example, post to a lesson after it has been completed and expect for the posts to be counted toward your participation grade. I will check the eBoard the morning after each lesson is due, and posts need to be there at that time for you to receive credit. I will also be assessing the value of what your posts bring to this interactivity. Refrain from flaming or ad hominem comments. Please be rigorous but constructive.
Paper Proposal (100 Points):  Your paper proposal should have the following topic headings: 1) Project Description (a short summary of the significance of your project); 2) Working Thesis (the argument you are posing in your paper); 3) Methodology (the strategy you are using to prove your thesis); and 4) Annotated Bibliography (the primary and secondary sources you will use to both prove and link your thesis to the field). The bibliography must include seven-to-ten sources.  Half of them must be scholarly (no internet originated sources) and the others can be popular (newspaper articles, interviews, etc.).  The annotation should be brief and include: 1) one or two sentences summarizing or describing the source (What are its main arguments?) and 2) one or two sentences evaluating how it fits into your research (How will you use this source in your research paper?).  Your proposal should be double-spaced, one-inch margins, and no more than three (3) pages. Your grade will be based on clear and concise writing and adherence to the assignment guidelines.  


  1. Please save your proposal as follows: Last name, First Name – Proposal.doc

  2. When submitting your paper via email, it must be in Word.


First Draft (100 Points):  In your first draft, no more than 25% of your paper may be in outline form.  In all cases, the introduction should be well developed and well-written; the thesis statement should be evident and well-structured.  Your grade will be based on the clarity and relevance of your thesis, clear and concise writing, and adherence to the assignment guidelines. It should be double-spaced, have one-inch margins all-around, be no less than ten pages including endnotes, and follow either the Chicago or MLA Style.


  1. Please save your paper as follows: Last name, First Name – First Draft.doc

  2. When submitting your paper via email, it must be in Word.


Final Draft (100 Points):  The final draft should reflect the comments and feedback you've received. It should be more than just a revision; it should reflect substantial refining and reorganizing of your ideas. Your grade will be based on how well you incorporate suggestions for revision, as well as the clarity and relevance of your thesis, clear and concise writing, relevant use of sources, and adherence to the assignment guidelines. It should be double-spaced, have one-inch margins all-around, be between twelve and fifteen pages including endnotes, and follow either the Chicago or MLA Style.


  1. Please save your paper as follows: Last name, First Name – Final Draft.doc

  2. When submitting your paper via email, it must be in Word.


Grading Scale: 0 to 400 Points
A+   ..... 400+ Points

A     ..... 372 - 400 Points

A- ..... 360 - 371 Points

B+   ..... 352 - 359 Points

B     ..... 332 - 351 Points

B-    ..... 320 - 331 Points

C+   ..... 312 - 319 Points

C     ..... 280 - 311 Points

D     ..... 240 - 279 Points

E     ..... 000 - 239 Points

 

Academic Dishonesty: You are expected to turn in original work for this course. Quotations or ideas paraphrased from other work must be properly cited.  Taking credit for another’s ideas or writing is plagiarism, which is a serious violation of the University’s Code of Academic Integrity. In the “Student Academic Integrity Policy” manual, ASU defines “’Plagiarism” [as] using another's words, ideas, materials or work without properly acknowledging and documenting the source. Students are responsible for knowing the rules governing the use of another's work or materials and for acknowledging and documenting the source appropriately.” Academic dishonesty, including inappropriate collaboration, will not be tolerated. There are severe sanctions for cheating, plagiarizing and any other form of dishonesty.
LEARNING TASKS

This course is comprised of 15 lessons.  Each lesson includes all or some of the following tasks:

1.  Reading: Assigned Reading(s) on the Topic of the Lesson

2. Screening: Study Films Screened for Class

3. Media Clip: Review Scenes Referenced in Readings and Lectures

4.  Lecture: Listen to Streaming Audio Lectures with PowerPoint Slides

5.  Online seminar: Answer a Question and Dialogue with Classmates on the Electronic Bulletin Board

 

Lesson 01: Classical Hollywood Cinema (Thursday, 7/3)



Reading: From A Certain Tendency of the Hollywood Cinema, pp. 25-69 (Ray, 1985)

“Taking Hollywood Seriously” (Maltby, 2003)



Screening: Casablanca (Curtiz, 1942)

Media Clip Casablanca (Curtiz, 1942)

Lecture:       Classic Hollywood Cinema

Seminar:         Answer discussion questions, discuss with classmates
Lesson 02:     Narrative (Monday, 7/7)

Reading: Film Art, pp. 78-114 (Bordwell and Thompson, 2010)

Screening: Jurassic Park (Spielbergh, 1993)

Media Clips: Jurassic Park (Spielberg, 1993) – Clip #1

Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941) – Clip #2

Jurassic Park (Spielbergh, 1993) – Clip #3

Lecture:       Narrative Structure

Seminar:  Answer discussion questions, discuss with classmates
Lesson 03:     Mise-en-Scene (Wednesday, 7/09)

Reading: Film Art, pp. 118-159 (Bordwell and Thompson, 2010)

Screening: Smoke Signals (Eyre, 1998)

Media Clips: Arrival of the Train at La Ciotat (Lumiere Brothers, 1895)

A Trip to the Moon (George Melies, 1902) – Clip #1

Smoke Signals (Eyre, 1998) – Clip #2

Smoke Signals (Eyre, 1998) – Clip #3

Lecture:       Mise-en-Scene

Seminar:         Answer discussion questions, discuss with classmates
Lesson 04:     Editing (Friday, 7/11)

Reading: Film Art, pp. 223-265 (Bordwell and Thompson, 2010)

Screening: The Limey (Soderbergh, 1999)

Media Clip: Syrianna (Gaghan, 2005) – Clip #1

The Limey (Soderbergh, 1999) – Clip #2

Do the Right Thing (Lee, 1989) – Clip #3

The Limey (Soderbergh, 1999) – Clip #4

The Limey (Soderbergh, 1999) – Clip #5

Lecture:       Editing

Seminar:        Answer discussion questions, discuss with classmates
Lesson 05:     Cinematography (Monday, 7/14)

Reading: Film Art, pp. 167-218 (Bordwell and Thompson, 2010)

Screening: Raging Bull (Scorsese, 1980)

Media Clips: Ocean’s Eleven (Soderbergh, 2001) – Clip #1

Touch of Evil (Wells, 1956) – Clip #2

Raging Bull (Scorsese, 1980) - Clip #3

Lecture:       Cinematography

Seminar:         Answer discussion questions, discuss with classmates
Lesson 06:    Film Genre (Wednesday, 7/16)

Reading: Film Art, pp. 328-337 (Bordwell and Thompson, 2010)

“Public Enemies, Public Heroes” (Munby, 1999)



Screening: Goodfellas (Scorsese, 1990)

Media Clips: The Godfather, Part II (Coppola, 1974) – Clip #1

Goodfellas (Scorsese, 1990) – Clip #2

Goodfellas (Scorsese, 1990) – Clip #3

Lecture:       Film Genre

Seminar:         Answer discussion questions, discuss with classmates
Paper Proposal: Due as an email attachment on Thursday, 7/17, by 5 p.m. Arizona time.
Lesson 07:     Film Authorship (Friday, 7/18)

Reading: “The Cult of the Auteur” & “The Americanization of

Auteur Theory” (Stam, 2000)

“Having Your Way with Hollywood” (Lim, 2000)

Screening: Traffic (Soderbergh, 2000)

Media Clips: Traffic (Soderbergh, 2000) – Clip #1

Ocean’s Eleven (Soderbergh, 2001) – Clip #2

Lecture:       Film Authorship

Seminar:         Answer discussion questions, discuss with classmates
Lesson 08:     The Art Film (Monday, 7/21)

Reading: “Authorship and Narration in Art-Cinema” (Bordwell, 2003)

Screening: Central Station (Salles, 1998)

Media Clip: Central Station (Salles, 1998) – Clip #1

Central Station (Salles, 1998) – Clip #2

Lecture:       The Art Film

Seminar:         Answer discussion questions, discuss with classmates
Lesson 09:      Documentary (Wednesday, 7/23)

Reading: Film Art, pp. 349-365 (Bordwell and Thompson, 2010)

“Defining the Documentary” (Aufderheide, 2007)



Screening: Born into Brothels (Briski, 2004)

Media Clips: Fahrenheit 9/11 – Clip #1

Born into Brothels (Briski, 2004) – Clip #2

Lecture:       Documentary Film

Seminar:         Answer discussion questions, discuss with classmates
Lesson 10:    American Independent Cinema (Friday, 7/25)

Reading: From Cinema of Outsiders (Levy, 1999)

Screening: Lone Star (Sayles, 1996)

Media Clips: Mission Impossible II (Woo, 2000) – Clip #1

Lone Star (Sayles, 1996) - Clip #2

Lone Star (Sayles, 1996) - Clip #3

Lecture:       American Independent Cinema

Seminar:        Answer discussion questions, discuss with classmates
First Draft of Essay: Due as an email attachment on Saturday, 7/26, by 5 p.m. Arizona time.
Lesson 11:     Stars (Monday, 7/28)

Reading: “Introduction” to Heavenly Bodies (Dyer, 2004)

“Articulating Stardom” (King, 1991)



Screening: Erin Brockovich (Soderbergh, 1999)

Media Clip: Pretty Woman (Marshall, 1990) – Clip #1

Erin Brockovich (Soderbergh, 1999) - Clip #2

Lecture:       Film Stars

Seminar:         Answer discussion questions, discuss with classmates
Lesson 12:     Gender in Film (Wednesday, 7/30)

Reading: “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” (Mulvey, 1975)

“Masculinity as Spectacle” (Neale, 1993)



Screening: Gas, Food, Lodging (Anders, 1992)

Media Clips: Rear Window (Hitchcock, 1954) - Clip #1

Raging Bull (Scorsese, 1980) – Clip #2

Gas, Food, Lodging (Anders, 1992) – Clip #3

Lecture:       Gender in Film

Seminar:         Answer discussion questions, discuss with classmates
Lesson 13:     Race in Film (Friday, 8/1)

Reading: “Aesthetics, Ethics and Politics in the Films of Spike Lee” (Kellner, 1997)

Screening: Do the Right Thing (Lee, 1989)

Media Clips: Birth of a Nation (Griffith, 1915) – Clip #1

To Sleep With Anger (Burnett, 1990) – Clip #2

Daughters of the Dust (Dash, 1991) – Clip #3

Lecture:  Race in Film

Seminar:         Answer discussion questions, discuss with classmates
Lesson 14:     Mexican Cinema (Monday, 8/4)

Reading: “Cinema and the State in Contemporary Mexico, 1970-1999” (Maciel, 1999)

“Seducing the Public: Images of Mexico in Like Water for Chocolate and Amores Perros” (Shaw, 2003)



Screening: Amores Perros (Iniarritu, 2000)

Media Clips: Like Water for Chocolate (Arau, 1992) - Clip #1

Amores Perros (Iniarritu, 2000) – Clip #2

Lecture:       Mexican Cinema

Seminar:         Answer discussion questions, discuss with classmates
Lesson 15:     Immigration and Film (Wednesday, 8/6)

Reading: “Celluloid Palimpests: An Overview of Ethnicity and American Film” (Friedman, 1991)

From From Immigrants to Ethnics (Nelli,1983)



Screening: The Golden Door (Crialese, 2006)

Media Clips: Gangs of New York (Scorsese, 2002) – Clip #1

The Golden Door (Crialese, 2006) - Clip #2

Lecture:       Immigration and Film

Seminar:         Answer discussion questions, discuss with classmates

Final Draft of Essay: Due as an email attachment on Monday, August 11, by 5 p.m. Arizona time

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