The course begins by offering a historical and critical context for the analysis of early cinema. In the second section, you will build on your analytic skills, applying them to Classical Hollywood Film. The third section builds on the foundational question of “what film does” by introducing you to alternatives and responses to Classical Hollywood, challenging you to think about how films reflect on the practice of filmmaking and the cinematic apparatus. The fourth section pulls the critical knowledge and analytical skills you have learned together in an examination of monsters on film.
The goal of ENG 2300 is to provide students with a working knowledge of film vocabulary within the context of film criticism and film theory. This course will allow you to begin your exploration of the field by watching, discussing, and writing about films, and by engaging in critical reading of major texts in film theory and criticism. By the end of this course, you will not only have a greater knowledge of how to think about films, but how to read, analyze, and write about films.
Assuming all assigned work is completed, this class will satisfy the Gordon Rule writing requirement. This course can satisfy the UF General Education requirement for Composition. For more information, see:
http://www.registrar.ufl.edu/catalog/policies/advisinggened.html This course can satisfy the UF requirement for Writing. For more information, see:
Other Mandatory Readings will be available online (expect additional printing costs)
COURSE POLICIES Attendance
Attendance is required. ENG 2300 is a participation-oriented course, wherein skills are built incrementally and students depend on one another to engage with the material and make progress throughout the semester. Much of the learning that takes place is spontaneous and difficult to reproduce outside of class.
Missing more than FIVE periods during the term will mean automatic failure of the course. The only exceptions for this policy are excused absences due to a long-term medical condition for which you have sufficient documentation or due to university-sponsored events for which you have sufficient documentation.
If you are absent, it is your responsibility to make yourself aware of all due dates and to complete all assignments ON TIME regardless of missing class. Missing class is not an excuse for not turning in an assignment.
Attendance counts towards your participation! Every absence will lower your grade.
Tardiness also counts towards your participation. Arriving late to class disrupts the class and demonstrates a lack of respect for your peers as well as your instructor. If you do arrive late, please come in as quietly as possible and begin work quickly. If you are late 3 times, it will count as one absence.
Most assignments are due electronically before class. For assignments that are due in class (hard copies), they are due at the beginning of class. Late assignments will receive a late penalty of a fullletter grade off for every day they are late, including weekend days. To avoid such a situation, hand your assignments in on time!! (I do not make exceptions about late papers, but I am open to giving extensions if you speak to me well in advance of the due date.)
You must be present for the quizzes and in-class writings to receive credit for them. (If you have an excused absence and you talk to me before the class, then you may do the work before your scheduled absence in order to avoid losing marks.)
You are expected to be prepared for every class, including completing all reading and writing assignments on time and bringing relevant materials (a copy of the readings, your screening notes, other notes, etc) to class with you. Failure to be prepared for or to contribute to discussion will lower your participation grade.
Please keep in mind that students come from diverse cultural, economic, and ethnic backgrounds. Some of the films and texts we will discuss and write about engage controversial topics and opinions. Diverse student backgrounds combined with provocative texts require that you demonstrate respect for ideas that may differ from your own.
From the University of Florida Honor Code:
(http://www.registrar.ufl.edu/catalog/policies/students.html) "One of the major benefits of higher education and membership in the university community is greater knowledge of and respect for other religious, racial and cultural groups. Indeed, genuine appreciation for individual differences and cultural diversity is essential to the environment of learning. Another major aspect of university life involves sexual relationships. Sexual attitudes or actions that are intimidating, harassing, coercive or abusive, or that invade the right to privacy of the individual are not acceptable. Organizations or individuals that adversely upset the balance of communal living are subject to university disciplinary action. Only in an atmosphere of equality and respect can all members of the university community grow."
Do not leave your cell phone on in class. The phone is to be turned off or completely silenced before you enter the classroom. (Vibrating phones still make noise and will not be tolerated.) No texting, placing or receiving phone calls, or internet browsing with your phone in class. If you need to do any of these things before class begins, step outside the classroom to use your phone.
Students are free to use laptop computers and other portable electronic devices in class for the purposes of taking notes during discussion or for in-class presentations. WWW browsing, emailing, chatting, etc., unrelated to class activities is, however, inappropriate and will not be tolerated. In the event of a violation of this policy, I reserve the right to prohibit the use of all electronic devices in class by individual students and/or the entire class.
I encourage you to make an appointment to see me during my office hours, especially when you have questions about an assignment, need help with a particular writing problem, want extra feedback on a draft, or have questions about my comments on your work.
If a student has a complaint about a grade on a single assignment, it should be discussed with the instructor, rather than the Director of Writing Programs or the Chair of the department. A student whose complaints have accumulated and is sure his or her final grade will be lower than she or he believes is deserved is to fill out a grade appeal form available from the Program Assistant to the Director of Writing Programs in the Department. A faculty committee will review the student's work for the semester, and decide on a grade. Their decision is final and may result in a higher, unchanged, or lower final grade.
Most films for the course are put on reserve after the screening period at Library West. Should you miss a screening or need to re-watch a film in order to write an essay, the films are on two-hour reserve. You will need to request the title at the checkout desk with the course number, section, and the instructor's last name.
E-Mail and Course Website
Students are expected to regularly (daily) check their University of Florida e-mail account and the course website—regularly here means email at least once every 24 hours, and the website at least twice per week. Course grades cannot, due to University policy, be conveyed via email. Should you have questions or concerns about your grade, set up a conference with the instructor.
This class includes unannounced quizzes/tests on the readings, given at the beginning of class. These quizzes cannot be made up if you are absent or late.
Attendance at screenings is mandatory, as there will sometimes be a short lecture or discussion period during this time. It is not enough to screen the film on your own. (That said, if you are unable to attend the screening, an individual screening is the next best thing, though you forfeit your attendance points for the screening day.)
General Education Learning Outcomes
You must pass this course with a grade of C or better to receive 6,000-word “Gordon Rule” credit. You must turn in all papers to receive credit for writing 6,000 words.
Plagiarism is a serious violation of the Student Honor Code. The Honor Code prohibits and defines plagiarism as follows:
Plagiarism. A student shall not represent as the student’s own work all or any portion of the work of another. Plagiarism includes (but is not limited to):
a. Quoting oral or written materials, whether published or unpublished, without proper attribution.
b. Submitting a document or assignment which in whole or in part is identical or substantially identical to a document or assignment not authored by the student. (University of Florida, Student Honor Code, 15 Aug. 2007 <http://www.dso.ufl.edu/judicial/honorcode.php>)
University of Florida students are responsible for reading, understanding, and abiding by the entire Student Honor Code at <http://www.dso.ufl.edu/judicial/honorcode.php>.
All acts of plagiarism will result in failure of the assignment and may result in failure of the entire course. N.B. Plagiarism can occur even without any intention to deceive if the student fails to know and employ proper documentation techniques.
Unless otherwise indicated by the instructor for class group work, all work must be your own. Also, nothing written for another course will be accepted.
As a University of Florida student, your performance is governed by the UF Honor Code, available in its full form at <http://www.registrar.ufl.edu/catalog/policies/students.html> . The Honor Code requires Florida students to neither give nor receive unauthorized aid in completing all assignments. Violations include cheating, plagiarism, bribery, and misrepresentation. Visit <http://www.dso.ufl.edu/judicial/procedures/academicguide.php> for more detail.
Students With Disabilities
The University of Florida complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Students requesting accommodation should contact the Students with Disabilities Office, Peabody 202. That office will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the Instructor when requesting accommodation. Please let me know as soon as possible if you have a special dispensation to be considered.
ASSIGNMENT FORMAT AND POLICIES Graded Materials
Students are responsible for maintaining duplicate copies of all work submitted in this course and retaining all returned, graded work until the semester is over. Should the need arise for a re-submission of papers or a review of graded papers, it is the student's responsibility to have and make available this material.
Mode Of Submission
· All papers must be in 12-point Times New Roman font and double-spaced, in MLA format
· All margins should be 1”.
· All pages must be numbered on the top right.
· Be sure to staple papers before submitting hard copies.
· Your final drafts should be polished and presented in a professional manner.
· The top of the first page of your paper should include the following information:
Last name, First name
ENC 1102 Section #
Name of Assignment
All assignments must be submitted via e-mail before class-time the day they are due.
Papersshouldbesentin .rtfformat. It is your responsibility to learn how to save files this way and send them to me.
Always check your sent folder to verify that your email has gone through WITH THE ASSIGNMENT ATTACHED. This will be your proof that you handed an assignment in, should a dispute arise. It is also wise to make a printout of all submitted work and to have said printouts on hand in the event that a dispute over your grades arises.
I will not accept computer-related excuses for late work after the first week of class.
For each of the film theory or criticism readings assigned, there will be a presentation on the subject of the reading. In pairs or on your own, you will prepare a 15-20 minute presentation on 1 reading. Your discussion must do the following:
a) summarize the main points of the reading,
b) focus and expand on one or two particular ideas/passages,
c) make use of at least one film clip that helps to elucidate the main point(s) and/or a specific part of the reading,
e) end your presentation with 3-4 intriguing discussion questions for the class.
YOU MUST MEET WITH THE INSTRUCTOR AT LEAST 3 CLASS DAYS BEFORE YOU PRESENT, preferably the week before your presentation day.
YOU MUST PROVIDE THE INSTRUCTOR WITH AN ELECTRONIC COPY OF YOUR PRESENTATION (notes, powerpoint, and/or questions, etc) THE DAY BEFORE YOU PRESENT.
Summaries (200-300 words):
Summarize two of the assigned readings (see schedule) in 200-300 words. The summary is due at the beginning of class before we have discussed the reading in question.
Prompt Essays (5 x 500-750 words = 2500-3750 words):
Every Friday, you will begin a formal response paper in class, based on a prompt I give you.
These 2-3 page essays will be written about one or two readings in relation to a film or two that we have viewed in class. These are NOT personal responses in the style of a journal entry. Your feelings about a film are largely irrelevant (except to the extent that they affect what you choose to write about). Do not simply regurgitate information from the readings or from class discussion, as this is a sure way to fail the assignment. A formal response paper needs an arguable thesis statement (one with a solid counter-argument at least). The riskier your thesis statement is, the better. It doesn’t matter if I agree with you as long as you are thinking experimentally about these films and supporting your experimental viewpoint with evidence from the readings and the films.
Some prompts that I might give you on Fridays include: What are the consequences of the ideas in the reading(s) on a specific film? Does a specific film provide an argument against the ideas in the reading(s)? How might the film support the argument in the reading(s)? Is there a fundamental problem with the rhetoric in one of the readings? What is it? How can you use a film to bring it out? Is there a film that speaks to the conflict between different theories in certain readings? How does it do this? What is your interpretation of a film, and how is that reading of the film informed by a particular film theory? At other times, the in-class prompt might be much more specific. For instance, you might be required to break down a particular scene into shots and discuss those shots in relation to some narrative or thematic function of the film.
You will be given class time to work on these papers in the interests of getting you thinking about certain topics for discussion. You are expected to rework these drafts over the weekend to get them ready for submission on Monday.
Remember, these are FORMAL essays that are meant to have thesis statements, invoke theory we’ve discussed, and provide adequate evidence, all in academic essay format.
Annotated Bibliography (1500-2000 words):
Document your research by writing an annotation of ten (10) sources, seven (7) of which must be from outside class. Include an MLA formatted citation for each source. At the end of each summary, articulate how this source will be useful to you in your essay. How will you use this source? What does this source provide that no other sources have provided? Is this author a particularly important one in the field? Or is this source, finally, not as useful as you thought it would be? (If so, be sure to tell the reader why.)
Final Paper Proposal (400-600 words):
Write a 2-page proposal for your final paper. This will be accepted, conditionally accepted or rejected by the instructor. If it is accepted, you may continue your research and begin your outline for your final paper. If it is conditionally accepted, you must revise your thesis and/or proposal and resubmit it for approval. If it is rejected, you must submit an entirely new proposal based on the feedback provided. In all cases, you must still continue your research as your revise, in order to be on schedule with your annotated bibliography.
Final Paper Outline (minimum 250 words):
Write an outline for your final paper. This will be evaluated based on its completeness, readability, and logic of organization. The content will also be evaluated, in that your grade will be based upon how well your evidence (from essays and films) supports your thesis. Again, I may intervene in cases where the outline doesn’t describe a feasible project.
Final Paper (1500-2000 words):
Write a final 6-8 page paper about a film in relation to a film theory. This paper should focus in part on the FORMAL QUALITIES OF FILM. You must use at least 5 scholarly sources, 3 of which must be from outside the class. At least half of your subject matter must be from outside the class; either your major film(s) or your major theory/director/movement must be from outside the class, as this paper is meant to exercise your researching skills as well as your analytic abilities.
One of the most important things in this assignment is to have a thesis statement that isn’t self-evident—YOUR ARGUMENT MUST HAVE A COUNTER-ARGUMENT. For example, if you want to talk about how Moulin Rouge fits into the musical genre, it would be inappropriate for your thesis to be “Moulin Rouge demonstrates the aptitude of Rick Altman’s discussions about the musical genre” because such a statement is not interesting. It would be much more interesting to say something like “Even though Rick Altman’s semantic and syntactic definitions of the musical genre are apt for classical musicals, newer musicals such as Moulin Rouge, Tommy, and Jesus Christ Superstar challenge his definitions.” In other words, there has to be conflict in your essay for there to be an argument. So it’s often fruitful to choose theories, film movements, or films that you find problematic in some way (but nonetheless intriguing). Also, choose to work on films that you won’t mind watching over and over and over again, in slow motion, in reverse, on fast-forward, awake, sleeping, standing on your head, etc.!
Analyze a particular film or two in relation to a particular film theory or way of reading film. How do the film’s formal qualities (lighting, cinematography, narrative style, editing, sound, color, etc) help it to make a particular argument? And how does such an argument relate to the particular theory you’re interested in? How do the specific details of the film counter or help to explain the theory’s main thrust? What is unusual about the relation you’re making between the film and the theory?
This could be a theory we have spent time on in class or a theory you have come across outside of class. Similarly, you may discuss films from in class or outside of it. However, either your major theory or your major film must be from outside class (from your own research). For instance, you might choose to look at Dancer in the Dark as a melodrama, as Brenda Austin-Smith does in “‘Mum's the word’: the trial of genre in Dancer in the Dark.” As such, you might look at theories about film and affect by such theorists as Carl Plantinga, Noel Carroll, and Murray Smith, among others, to read Dancer in the Dark. Or you might look at Rick Altman’s discussions of film genre or the musical genre in particular to read a film that doesn’t appear to fit within the boundaries of the genre, or a film which makes fun of its own conventions, such as Woody Allen’s Everyone Says I Love You or even Moulin Rouge.
You may also choose to interpret “theory and criticism” more broadly to focus on the way in which a particular film or set of films fail to fit into a particular definition. This definition might be related to genre (like horror), a particular film movement (like the French New Wave) and what a film of that movement is supposed to look or “feel” like, or a particular director’s work and what it means for one or two films of such an oeuvre to be excluded (and whether they can indeed be excluded). Such essays can sometimes be more difficult to write because they tend towards the idolization of particular directors, genres, and movements, which results in obvious topics and lower grades. If you choose to go this route, be sure to have multiple conferences with me to make sure you’re on the right track.
All paper topics must be approved by the instructor.
Here are some suggested films for final paper analysis:
You can turn in a formal response essay on any of these films for a chance to get bonus marks. Limit of six. Each response essay will be graded out of 10. It should not merely “respond” to the film emotionally or in terms of liking or disliking it; instead, your essay should use the film theory from the course to respond to what the film is up to. (Maximum 60 bonus points available.)
If you have a particular interest in a film or film type from class, it’s worth it to come and see me for recommendations (on and off this list).
*I may add to this list throughout the semester, so check back.
Assignment Breakdown ASSIGNMENT POINT VALUE WORD COUNT
Participation/Attendance/Etc 100 points
Quizzes 100 points
Presentation 100 points
Summaries 100 points (50 each) 400-600
Prompt Essays x 5 250 points (50 each) 2500-3750
Annotated Bibliography 150 points 1500-2000
Final Paper Proposal 25 points 400-600
Final Paper Outline 25 points min. 250
Final Paper 150 points 1500-2500
TOTAL: 1000 POINTS 6350-9200
A 4.0 93-100
A- 3.67 90-92
B+ 3.33 87-89
B 3.0 83-86
B- 2.67 80-82
C+ 2.33 77-79
C 2.0 73-76
C- 1.67 70-72
D+ 1.33 67-69
D 1.0 63-66
D- 0.67 60-62
E 0.00 0-59
A Insightful: You did what the assignment asked for at a high quality level, with care and precision, and your work shows originality and creativity. Work in this range shows all the qualities listed below for a B, but it also demonstrates that you took extra steps to be original or creative in developing content, solving a problem, or developing a style. Essays in the A range are not only correct and intriguing, but illuminating. Since careful editing and proofreading are essential in writing, papers in the A range must be free of typos and grammatical or mechanical errors.
B Proficient: You did what the assignment asked of you at a high quality level. Work in this range is competent, thoughtful, and considered, but it needs revision. To be in the B range, an essay must be complete in content, be well-organized, and show special attention to style.
C Satisfactory: You did what the assignment asked of you and demonstrated that you have a generalized comprehension of the ideas/films/essays you’re working with. Work in this range needs significant revision, but it is complete in content and the organization is logical. Diction may be imprecise or unclear. The style is straightforward but unremarkable.
D Poor: You did what the assignment asked of you at a poor quality level. Work in this range needs significant revision. The content is often incomplete and/or the organization is hard to discern. Support is irrelevant, overgeneralized, lacks validity, and/or is absent. Ideas/texts are oversimplified. Essays in this range may have no thesis statement, or may stray significantly from the thesis throughout the essay. Attention to style is often nonexistent or uneven.
E An E is usually reserved for people who don't do the work, or don't come to class, or those who have plagiarized. However, if your work shows little understanding of the needs of the assignment or demonstrates that you put little effort in completing it, you will receive a failing grade.
(This schedule is subject to change.)
Section One: What Does Cinema Do? Editing vs. Mise-en-Scene
M 6/28: Introduction to class;
M screening: Lumiere and Melies shorts; discussion
T 6/29: Reading due: Anatomy Chpt. 1 “Understanding ...” – pp. 1-20; discussion.
W 6/30: Reading due: Pudovkin’s “[On Editing]” from Film Technique and Eisenstein’s “Beyond the Shot,” and “The Dramaturgy of Film Form”; summary exercise.
W screening: The Man With the Movie Camera; Excerpt: Battleship Potemkin
R 7/1: Readings due: Anatomy Chpt. 3 (Identifying shots) – pp. 51-64; discussion;
F 7/2: Reading due: Anatomy Chpt. 3 (Editing and transitions) – pp. 64-85;
T 7/6: Prompt Essay #1 due; Readings due: Bazin’s “The Ontology of the Photographic Image” and “The Myth of Total Cinema”; student presentation
W 7/7: Readings due: Anatomy Chpt. 3 (Mise-en-scene and framing) – pp. 86-98;
W screening: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari; Un Chien Andalou; La Jetee
R 7/8: Reading due: Kracauer “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”; Discussion;
F 7/9: Summary #1 due on Arnheim’s “The Complete Film”; Discussion; prompted writing exercise (for RP#2)
Section Two: Reading Classical Hollywood Films
M 7/12: Prompt Essay #2 due; Readings due: Anatomy Chpt. 7 “Film Director” (Auteurism) – pp. 238-267 and Peter Wollen’s “The Auteur Theory” (excerpts) from Signs and Meaning in the Cinema;student presentation
M screening: Citizen Kane
T 7/13: Readings due: Anatomy Chpt. 10 (Citizen Kane – different views) – pp. 375-385;
W 7/14: Readings due: Laura Mulvey’s “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”; student presentation
W screening: Rear Window
R 7/15: Final Paper Proposal due; Discussion; Readings due: ”Modleski’s “The Women Who Knew Too Much: Hitchcock and Feminist Theory”; student presentation
F 7/16: Summary #2 due onMulvey’s “Afterthoughts on ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’”; discussion; prompted writing exercise (for RP#3)
Section Three: Beyond Classical Hollywood Film
M 7/19: Prompt Essay #3 due; Reading due: Anatomy Chpt. 10 “Film Theory and Criticism” – pp. 345-375;
M screening: Blow-Up
T 7/20: Readings due: Anatomy Chpt. 5 “Genre” (Reflexivity) – pp. 165-177; discussion
W 7/21: Readings due: Jean-Pierre Oudart’s “Cinema and Suture” and William Rothman’s “Against Suture”; student presentation
W screening: Persona; Bergman documentary clips; clip of Dogville
R 7/22: Discussion;
F 7/23: Annotated Bibliography due; Revised Final Paper Proposal due (if requested); Discussion; prompted writing exercise (for RP#4)
M 7/26: Prompt Essay #4 due.
M screening: Suture
T 7/27: Reading due: Anatomy Chpt. 6 “Film Subtext” (Interpretation) – pp. 200-238
Back to Hollywood: Hidden Monstrosities in the Horror Genre
W 7/28: Linda Williams’ “When the Woman Looks” and “When Women Look: A Sequel”; student presentation
W screening: Alien
R 7/29: Readings due: Carol Clover’s “Her Body, Himself”; student presentation
F 7/30: Reading: TBA; Final Paper Outline due; Discussion; prompted writing exercise (for RP#5)
M 8/2: Prompt Essay #5 due; Conferences
M screening: Ginger Snaps
T 8/3: Reading: TBA; Discussion of film; Final paper Q & A.