Thursday, January 31, 2008


Fred Ott's Sneeze - Thomas Edison, 1894

PHOTOGRAPHY (chapter one)

Define “realism” in film. What are some of the techniques used to evoke reality? Give an example of a “realistic” film. What technical and/or narrative elements make it “real”? How would you critique its supposed “realism”?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008



Course Description: Introduce the fundamental principles of filmed communication by closely examining techniques used throughout moving image history to construct meaning.

Course Objectives: Throughout the term, students will: 1) acquire an understanding of moving image techniques; 2) view and discuss works crucial to the medium’s history; 3) analyze formal and stylistic elements of moving images through writing; and 4) engage in discussions of aesthetic meaning or value. This is a designated Writing Intensive (WI) course.

Prerequisites: English 125 and CT201

Required Texts:
  • Giannetti, Louis. (2005). Understanding Movies (10th ed.). New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
  • Hacker, Diana. (2007). A Writer’s Reference. (6th ed.). New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Text website: A companion website is available at Understanding Movies.
Course Requirements and Grading:

Writing Assignments (50%)This is a Writing Intensive (WI) course. Students are required to write two short essays of 3 pages (10% each) and one long essay of 8 – 10 pages (30%). To receive a passing grade on the long essay, students must: 1) submit a topic proposal and outline; 2) complete a draft; 3) participate in a class workshop AND complete a peer review; 4) submit an annotated bibliography; and 5) submit a final, revised essay. All essays must use APA style to document sources. Topics and detailed writing requirements will be given in class. See Course Schedule for due dates.

Online Reading Journal (10%) – Students will post 10 entries to the class website (URL above). Each entry must answer the posed question and be 7 – 10 sentences long. Online writing will be judged by the same criteria as printed work. Incomplete sentences, inadequate punctuation, poor grammar, etc. will not be accepted. All entries are due the following class day (see Course Schedule).

Storyboard (10%) – Students will script and storyboard a short scene of 10 – 15 shots. Storyboards will be presented to the class (see Course Schedule).

Exams (20%) – A midterm and a final exam will be given. Exams cannot be rescheduled. Missing an exam will result in a grade of zero.

Participation/Attendance (10%) – Students are expected to complete assigned readings and participate in class discussions, trips and film screenings. A student who is more than 15 minutes late to class will not be permitted to enter. More than two absences OR three tardy days will result in failure of the course.

Students must have an email account and be able to regularly access the class blog and text companion website. Students will occasionally be required to view clips outside of class. In these cases, films will be available in the Studio or as online clips. Students can access grades and class materials through York College Blackboard.


Principles of the Moving Image

1. T, Jan 29 - Course Introduction – What is a moving image?
2. R, Jan 31 - Photography. Read chapter 1. Journal 1.
3. T, Feb 05 - Mise en Scène. Read chapter 2.
4. R, Feb 07 - Mise en Scène cont. Journal 2. Assign essay 1.
5. T, Feb 12 - Lincoln's Birthyday – College is closed.
6. R, Feb 14 - Movement. Read chapter 3.
7. T, Feb 19 - Movement cont. Journal 3.
8. R, Feb 21 - Class writing workshop 1. Essay 1 due.
9. T, Feb 26 - Editing. Read chapter 4. Assign essay 2.
10. R, Feb 28 - Editing cont. Journal 4.
11. T, Mar 04 - Sound. Read chapter 5.
12. R, Mar 06 - Sound cont. Journal 5.
13. T, Mar 11 - Class writing workshop 2. Essay 2 due.
14. R, Mar 13 - Acting. Read chapter 6. Journal 6.
15. T, Mar 18 - Drama. Read chapter 7. Journal 7.
16. R, Mar 20 - Midterm review. Essay 3 proposal due.
17. T, Mar 25 - MIDTERM EXAM
18. R, Mar 27 - Surprise screening.
19. T, Apr 01 - Story. Read chapter 8. Journal 8.
20. R, Apr 03 - Writing. Read chapter 9. Journal 9.
21. T, Apr 08 - Storyboarding. Essay 3 bibliography due.
22. R, Apr 10 - Ideology and Critique. Read chapters 10 and 11. Journal 10.
23. T, Apr 15 - Storyboard presentations.
24. R, Apr 17 - Class writing workshop 3. Essay 3 draft due.

25. T, Apr 22 - SPRING BREAK
26. R, Apr 24 - SPRING BREAK

27. T, Apr 29 - Synthesis: Citizen Kane. Read chapter 12.
28. R, May 01 - Synthesis cont. Finish Citizen Kane.
29. T, May 06 - No class. Field trip on Thursday.
30. R, May 08 - Field Trip: Museum of the Moving Image
31. T, May 13 - Final review and party. Essay 3 due.


Monday, January 28, 2008


Below you will find a list of important films and the chapters they illustrate. We will view clips from many of these films in class, but just in case you want to view them again and/or use them as examples in future essays, you can find them here. Many of the early films can be watched as streaming video or downloaded. The New York Public Library also has an awesome collection of films and dvd's, some of which can even be viewed online.

For a more complete list of important films, check out Jen's Kick-Butt Movie Watching Contest at Watch More Flickers.

Early Lumiere Bros.
Early Thomas Edison
Voyage to the Moon - Melies
The Great Train Robbery - Edwin Porter
Return to Reason - Man Ray

Intolerance - DW Griffith
Nanook of the North - Robert Flaherty
Freaks - Tod Browning
Blade Runner - Ridley Scott
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - M Gondry
Sin City - Rodriguez, Miller and Tarantino

Edward Muybridge
Early Edison and Lumiere
At Land - Maya Daren
Meat Love - Jan Svankmeyer
Neighbors - Norman McLaren
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari - R Wiene

The Conversation - Francis Ford Coppola
The Godfather - Francis Ford Coppola
Once Upon a Time in the West - Sergei Leone

Battleship Potemkin - Sergei Eisenstein
Birth of a Nation - DW Griffith
Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde - R Mamoulian
Heart of the World - Guy Maddin

Metropolis - Fritz Lang
The Jazz Singer - Alan Crosland
The Secret Adventrues of Tom Thumb - D Borthwick
Dancer in the Dark - Lars von Trier

Dead Man - Jim Jarmusch
Apocalypse Now - Francis Ford Coppola
Eraserhead - David Lynch

Public Enemy - W Wellman
On the Waterfront - Elia Kazan
Psycho - Alfred Hitchcock
Repulsion - Roman Polanski
Raging Bull - Martin Scorcese

Stranger Than Paradise - Jim Jarmusch
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover - Peter Greenaway
The Saddest Music in the World - Guy Maddin
Heart of Glass - Werner Herzog
Blade Runner - Ridley Scott

Mulholland Drive - David Lynch
Chinatown - Roman Polanski
Kasper Hauser - Werner Herzog
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari - R Wiene
Night of the Living Dead - George Romero
Shaun of the Dead - Edgar Wright
28 Days Later - Danny Boyle

Rashomon - Akira Kurasawa
Being John Malkovich - Spike Jonze
The White Diamond - Werner Herzog
North by Northwest - Alfred Hitchcock

Intolerance - DW Griffith
Un Chien Andalou - Dali and Bunuel
Triumph of the Will - Leni Reifenstahl
The Great Dictator - Charlie Chaplin

Man with a Movie Camera - Dziga Vertov
Bonnie and Clyde - Arthur Penn
Sweet Sweetback's Badass Song - M van Peebles
The Atomic Cafe - J Loader and K Rafferty
Dogville - Lars von Trier

Citizen Kane - Orson Welles