SOSYAL BİLİMLER ENSTİTÜSÜMEDYA ve KÜLTÜREL ÇALIŞMALAR ANABİLİM DALI


MCS-509-Cinema Studies

Middle East Technical University

Department of Political Science and Public Administration

Media and Cultural Studies Programs

 

Fall 2012

 

CINEMA STUDIES

 

Instructor: Özgür Avcı                                                Office:

E-mail: ozgavcii@gmail.com                                  Office Hours: By appointment

 

COURSE DESCRIPTION

 

This course is a survey of film theory, with a particular emphasis on the classical era but also covering some modern and contemporary theories. We will discuss the questions that the film theorists asked about the (then) new art form and discover what they offered as answers to these questions.

 

METHODOLOGY

 

Every class will start with student presentations on the reading(s) and the film(s) assigned for the week. Each presentation will take about 15 minutes, and a typed copy of it must be handed in before class. In the second part of the session, the instructor will give a lecture about the weekly readings, and we will also have a whole-class discussion. Time does not allow any in-class screening; i.e., no film will be shown in the classroom. Hence, students will be responsible for watching the films before they come to class. Regarding the availability of the films, see the next section.

 

 

REQUIRED COURSE MATERIALS

 

A copy of all the readings will be made available to students at least a week before we study them in class. Students will be responsible for taking a copy of each week’s coursepack. Some films listed under “Course Schedule” below may be available for online viewing. As for the ones that are not available via internet, the instructor will make sure that each student gets a copy of the film with enough time to watch it and complete the assignments.

 

 

GRADING AND EVALUATION

 

Discussion Questions 15%: Every week, students are required to come to class having formulated two thought-provoking (rather than memory-requiring) questions about each text (including the film) under focus. You must e-mail the questions to me at least one day prior to the class.

Presentations 25%: Each student will make at least two 15-minute presentations throughout the semester, a typed copy of which will be turned in to the instructor at the beginning of the class.

Participation 15%: Students should be prepared to discuss about all the materials in class.

Final Exam 45%: Students are required to take a three-hour, closed-book, essay-type exam at the end of the semester.

 

 

COURSE POLICIES

 

Assignments/Exams: Due dates are final. A make-up exam will only be given in the event of a documented family or medical emergency on exam day. Students must complete all course requirements to pass.

Academic Integrity: All assignments must be the original work of a student and not used for any other course.

 

 

COURSE SCHEDULE

 

Week 1: Introduction

 

Deleuze, G. “Philosophy of Film as the Creation of Concepts” in The Philosophy of Film: Introductory Text and Readings: Blackwell, 2005.

 

Week 2: Distinctiveness of Film as an Art Form

 

Münsterberg, H. “The Means of the Photoplay” in Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings: Oxford University Press, 1992.

 

Stam, R. “Early Silent Film Theory” and “The Essence of Cinema” in Film Theory: An Introduction: Blackwell, 2000.

 

Screening: The Crowd (King Vidor, 1928)

 

Week 3: Soviet Montage Theory

 

Kuleshov, L. “Art of the Cinema” in Kuleshov on Film: Writings of Lev Kuleshov: University of California Press, 1974.

 

Stam, R. “The Soviet Montage Theorists” in Film Theory: An Introduction: Blackwell, 2000.

 

Screening: The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West in the Land of Bolsheviks (Lev Kuleshov, 1924)

 

Week 4 : Montage Theorists (contd.)

 

Pudovkin, V. “On Editing” in Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings: Oxford University Press, 1992.

 

Eisenstein, S. “The Cinematographic Principle and the Ideogram” and “A Dialectic Approach to Film Form” in Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings: Oxford University Press, 1992.

 

Screening: The End of St. Petersburg (Vsevolod Pudovkin, 1927)

 

Week 5: Formalism

 

Balazs, B. “The Close-Up” and “The Face of Man” in Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings: Oxford University Press, 1992.

 

Stam, R. “Russian Formalism and the Bakhtin School” in Film Theory: An Introduction: Blackwell, 2000.

 

Screening: Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein, 1925)

 

Week 6: From Formalism to Realism

 

Arnheim, R. “Film and Reality” in Film as Art: University of California Press, 1957.

 

Stam, R. “The Debate after Sound” and “The Phenomenology of Realism” in Film Theory: An Introduction: Blackwell, 2000.

 

Screening: It’s a Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, 1946)

 

Week 7: Realism

 

Kracauer, S. “Photography,” “Basic Concepts” and “The Establishment of Physical Existence” in Theory of Film: Oxford University Press, 1960.

 

Hansen, M. “‘With Skin and Hair’: Kracauer’s Theory of Film, Marseille 1940” in Critical Inquiry, Vol. 19, No. 3, Spring 1993, 437-469.

 

Stam, R. “The Classic Realist Text” in Film Theory: An Introduction: Blackwell, 2000.

 

Screening: La Grande Illusion (Jean Renoir, 1937)

 


Week 8: From Realism to Neorealism

Bazin, A. “The Myth of Total Cinema” and “De Sica: Metteur en Scène” in What is Cinema Vol. I and Vol. 2: University of California Press, 2005.

 

Aitken, I. “Post-war Italian and Spanish Realist Cinema” in European Film Theory and Cinema: A Critical Introduction: Edinburgh University Press, 2001.

 

Screening: Ladri di Biciclette (Vittorio De Sica, 1948)

 

Week 9: Auteurism

 

Truffaut, F. “A Certain Tendency of the French Cinema” in Auteurs and Authorhip: A Film Reader: Wiley-Blackwell, 2008.

 

Sarris, A. “Notes on the Auteur Theory in 1962” in Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings: Oxford University Press, 1992.

 

Stam, R. “The Cult of the Auteur” and “The Americanization of Auteur Theory” in Film Theory: An Introduction: Blackwell, 2000.

 

Screening: Jules et Jim (François Truffaut, 1962)

 

Week 10: The Semiotics of Film

 

Pasolini, PP. “The ‘Cinema of Poetry’” in Cahiers du Cinèma in English 6, 1966, 34-43.

 

Stam, R. “The Question of Film Language” in Film Theory: An Introduction: Blackwell, 2000.

 

Screening: Mamma Roma (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1962)

 

Week 11: Ideology

 

Baudry, JL. “Ideological Effects of the Basic Cinematographic Apparatus” in Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings: Oxford University Press, 1992.

 

Comolli, JL and Narboni, J. “Cinema/Ideology/Criticism” in Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings: Oxford University Press, 1992.

 

Screening: Dog Day Afternoon (Sidney Lumet, 1975)

 

Week 12: Psychoanalysis

 

Metz, C. “Identification, Mirror,” “The Passion for Perceiving” and “Disavowal, Fetishism” in Psychoanalysis and Cinema: The Imaginary Signifier: Macmillan Press, 1983.

 

Stam, R. “From Linguistics to Psychoanalysis” in Film Theory: An Introduction: Blackwell, 2000.

 

Screening: Persona (Ingmar Bergman, 1966)

 

Week 13: Feminism

 

Mulvey, L. “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” in Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings: Oxford University Press, 1992.

 

Stam, R. “The Feminist Intervention” in Film Theory: An Introduction: Blackwell, 2000.

 

Screening: Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954)

 

Week 14: Poststructuralism, Postmodernism

 

Jameson, F. “Postmodernism, or The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism” in New Left Review, Vol. I/146, July-August 1984, 53-92.

 

Stam, R. “The Poststructuralist Mutation” and “The Poetics and Politics of Postmodernism” in Film Theory: An Introduction: Blackwell, 2000.

 

Screening: Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982)