Avis E. Meyer
Film Narratives: Representing Business in American Film
ENGL / FSTD 104-01
Approaching the Arts: Art & Film
Terrence E. Dempsey
ENGL / FSTD 270-01
Introduction to Film
This course will serve as an introduction to the critical study of film as an art form, emphasizing analysis, interpretation, and evaluation. The course will focus on how, in the American film tradition (as well as in others), genre has often defined both the production and reception of films. We will examine several different genres: Western, Detective/Noir, War, Suspense, Science Fiction/Dystopia, and/or Fantasy.In examining each genre, we will look at specific films that have helped to establish a genre, perpetuate it, revise it, and even parody it. For example, in the case of the western, we may first look at a classic western such as Stagecoach, then at later developments of the genre, such as High Noon. We would follow with revisionist interpretations of the genre (in this case, perhaps The Wild Bunch), and then we will examine very recent versions (perhaps, Unforgiven). Finally, we will even look at genre parodies (e.g., Blazing Saddles) or blended parodies that reference more than one genre (e.g. Rango).Through this process, students will learn about American film history, the development of film styles, the impact of influential directors (e.g., John Ford with the western), and the issues of form and technique that are basic to the study of film. Students will watch films through the SLUGlobal system outside of class. Required work will include 2-3 essays, periodic quizzes, and a final examination. This course fulfills the foundation requirement for the Film Studies Certificate and also satisfies one of the core curricular literature requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences.
ENGL / FSTD 270-02
Introduction to Film
In this course, we will closely examine films from a diverse range of eras, genres, and national
cinemas, learning how to "read" and analyze them as we would any printed text. Through assigned readings, brief lectures, and an emphasis on in-class discussion, we will develop our understanding of the theoretical and methodological approaches of film analysis. We will also become familiar with the terms and concepts that are specific to the study of film, including mise-en-scène, cinematography, lighting, sound, and editing. In addition, we will explore film history and the major theories of film criticism. We will enhance our study by considering the social, historical, and cultural contexts that surround each of our chosen films. These will likely include (but are not limited to) Chaplin's City Lights (1931), Wilder's Double Indemnity (1944), Donen and Kelly's Singin' in the Rain (1952), Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959), Nichols' The Graduate (1967), Allen's Annie Hall (1977), Lee's Do the Right Thing (1989), Jeunet's Amélie (2001), Coppola's Lost in Translation (2003), Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds (2009),and Hazanavicius' The Artist (2011). Requirements will likely include film screenings, strong participation in class discussion, several short written responses to the assigned films (1-2 pages each), two analytical essays (4-5 pages each), a discussion leader presentation, and a final exam.This course fulfills the foundation requirement for the Film Studies Certificate and also satisfies one of the core curricular literature requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences.
ENGL / FSTD 270-03
Introduction to Film
How do our cultural values shape the media we consume? How are our cultural values shaped by the media we consume? In this course, we will examine the treatment of disempowered groups - women, African-Americans, immigrants, queer persons, and children - in films to explore how film both responds to a particular historical moment and seeks to intervene in the broader cultural concerns of those particular moments. In order to facilitate this examination, we will learn methods for analyzing and discussing what films communicate and how films communicate. We will also explore the ways that they are related to, and different from, other narrative media, such as literature (written texts) and drama (live performances). Our viewings and discussions will cover a broad range of movies and topics, including silent movies and the "talkie" revolution, innovations in cinematography and use of color, animation, adaptations from literature and drama, foreign language films, and genre. Films may include Morocco (1930), Blazing Saddles (1974), The Color Purple (1985), Boys Don't Cry (1999), Head-On (2004), and Pan's Labyrinth (2006), among others. We will supplement our viewings with short critical, theoretical, and historical readings. Students will lead one class discussion, write two papers, and complete a midterm and final exam. This course fulfills the foundation requirement for the Film Studies Certificate and also satisfies one of the core curricular literature requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Audio-Visual Script Writing
ENGL / FSTD 318-01
Film: Visions of the Future
If you had a time machine, which direction would you go: forwards or backwards? Go backwards and you can live through historical moments, meet a famous or infamous relative, or even correct past mistakes (we've all made a few). Sounds good, right? Wrong. The past is prologue (as Shakespeare wrote), and no one ever reads those things anyway. The future is the main event! Where will we be and what will we have done? A trip to the future allows us to see the consequences of our actions, the fruits of our labors, the reaping of what we have sown. In this course, we watch films that attempt to give us a glimpse into the future, and we watch them to see what they have to say about our present. Films like Children of Men, Blade Runner, WallŸE, Metropolis, Brazil, Tank Girl, 12 Monkeys, The Road, and Sunshine. Assignments include in-class and online discussions using Twitter and personal blogs.The final project is a collaboratively produced commentary track for one of the films we have screened. Rather than composing essays that engage films after they have been viewed - which is important work to be sure - we compose and record commentaries that engage audiences as they watch the films. These commentaries guide audiences through the film, pointing out landmarks and key moments, helping them to discern the arguments the film is making about our future and our present. As such they should be equal parts insightful and entertaining.
Saints and Sinners in Russian Literature and Film: 19 c.
ENGL / FSTD 377-01
Film and Literature: Monsters and Marvels
Since Georges Melies's movies camera serendipitously jammed, resulting in a film that showed a bus magically transformed into a hearse, the big screen has been an ideal tapestry for the conjuring of the fantastical. From Melies and his "Journey to the Moon" to Fritz Lang's Metropolis and FW Murnau's Nosferatu to the Universal Monsters, ‘50s 3-D creatures, Roger Corman's schlock, the stop motion animation of Ray Harryhausen, British Hammer horror and on to more modern monsters, like Ridely Scott and HR Geiger's Alien, the slashers of the ‘80s and the hobbits, orks, and elves of The Lord of the Rings, this class will explore "the other" as portrayed in fantasy and horror from the earliest efforts, with a focus on both special effects and the differing cultural mores that gave rise to the panoply of creatures, killers, and monsters we find on film.
ENGL / FSTD 379-01
War in Literature and Film: The Civil War
Vincent Casaregola, Silvana Siddali
This is a co-taught course combining both English and History (and may be taken for credit in either department). It will explore the history of the American Civil War as that history is represented in both literature and film. Students will read works from the nineteenth century through the present, and they will also view films that depict the Civil War, its prelude, and its aftermath. The goal if for students to understand better how the American people come to view their history through the lenses of literature and film, as well as how these art forms shape (and sometimes subvert) our sense of history. Work will include readings in both history and literature, as well as both feature and documentary films. Quizzes, examinations, and essays will constitute most of the required written work. Films may include such standards as Gone with the Wind, along with lesser known films like A Soldier in Pharaoh's Army. Films will be viewed on the students own time through SLUGlobal. Readings will include both familiar works and more obscure writings (e.g., anything from The Red Badge of Courage to the less-frequently read short works of Ambrose Bierce).
ENGL / FSTD 401-01
New Media Writing: New Media Advocacy
In this class, you use the tools of new media (podcasts, short videos, blogs, twitter, etc.) to engage your
communities in productive, respectful, and service-oriented ways. In this class, you negotiate the focus and tone of your own publications. For instance, you might (using Twitter and Facebook) promote the community gardens that regularly sprout up in the city. You might map (in GoogleMaps) and document (with a short documentary) community outreach efforts in the city of Saint Louis. You might promote and celebrate (through Twitter and with a podcast) the craft beer scene in Saint Louis. The possibilities are endless. In this class, we ask how can we use new (and old) media to tell stories that make a difference and motivate action. In this course, you aren't asked to critique the media; you are asked to be the media. Students enrolled in this course also cultivate the habits of a successful professional communicator working in an increasingly collaborative, free-form, and mediated work environment. Students likewise develop an understanding of how rhetoric shapes action. Additionally, students will establish a voice as a writer, understand the principles and practices of primary and secondary research, gain comfort and competence with new media production and distribution, and develop sophisticated and critical responses to (new media) technology.
ENGL / FSTD 409-01
Advanced Creative Writing: Screenwriting
In this course, we will explore the fundamentals of screenwriting, including formatting, three-act structure and genre, with a focus on the screenplay as "time art" that seeks to manipulate the emotions of a viewing audience. In developing a screenplay from an incipient idea, or "pitch," through a step outline and its first act in a workshop environment, we will discuss the creation of memorable characters, idiosyncratic dialogue and dramatic "set pieces." We will also compare and contrast "high concept" and independent features and examine ever-present tensions between commercial viability and artistic inclination. Readings will include screenplays by Charlie Kaufman, William Goldman, Robert Towne, Joel and Ethan Coen, William Faulkner and more.
ENGL / FSTD 417-01
American Film History: The Western
Cross-listed to offer credit in both English and Film Studies, the American Western fulfills one of the English core requirements for the College of Arts and Sciences as well as one of the 4 requisite electives for the Film Studies interdisciplinary minor. Over the course of the semester, we will look closely at approximately eight films, and read at least two novels. The goal is to examine how writers and filmmakers have used the myth of the American west as a way to comment upon our national identity and the new energies which continue to challenge the cultural stereotypes of the western genre. Sometimes a costume piece which undertakes to reconstruct the "Old West," and sometimes a modernist text that continues to play off of received conventions, the Western has long been a framework for examining our elusive "essence," that hard-to-define quality which persuades us to call ourselves Americans. We will take what might be called an American Studies approach to this material, considering not only filmic issues like camera work, mise en scene, and performance style, but also how film and fiction reflect the political, social, and even spiritual issues of the middle and later 20th century.
FRENCH / FSTD 461
The purpose of this class is to develop a thorough knowledge of French Cinema, from the beginnings to the late 1960s. Influences of philosophical, political and artistic movements will be identified. Influential directors and important writings in French film criticism will be studied. Specific vocabulary and skills for the analysis of films will also be acquired. The course will include researched paper, oral presentations, 1 short paper (graduate) take-home mid-term and final exam, oral presentations (undergraduate), and weekly forum discussions and reports on the films viewed. (English language option available)