Summer 2022 Undergraduate Courses

Session 1A

May 23 – June 13, 2022

Close Analysis of Film

Antonia Lant
Mondays - Thursdays
Room 652

CINE-GT 2005
Class #4683
4 points

This class examines a small number of films in great detail with the intention of enhancing student comprehension of the multiple levels at which films are made and engage us. Among the film scenes that we may analyze are examples taken from: Touch of Evil (1958), Do the Right Thing (1989), In the Mood for Love (2000), Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), Run, Lola, Run (1998), Fish Tank (2009), Whisky (2004), Power of the Dog (2021), and Gilda (1946). The course encourages the intensive, and comparative study of film, and concentrates on a discrete number of tasks: the formal analysis of the sound and image tracks; examination of the shape of the scenario and the segmentation of the narrative; consideration of techniques of stylistic analysis; and a consideration of a film’s surrounding documents, such as studio papers, posters, blogs, trailers, and critical reviews. Students will acquire vocabulary and tools through which to describe the textual patterns and forces by which a film produces its meanings and effects. Students complete a central project for the class: the close analysis of an individual film that they have chosen, including a final presentation on their findings.

Transnational Cinema of Ang Lee

Zhen Zhang
Room 670

CINE-GT 1202
Class # 4730
4 points

Ang Lee is one of the greatest filmmakers of our time. From his feature debut Pushing Hands (1992), his literary adaptations such as Sense and Sensibility (1995) and martial arts epic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2001), to his explorations in new film technology and narration manifested in Life of Pi (2012) and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (2016), Ang Lee has crossed many boundaries—national, cultural, generic, etc.—and endeavored to reinvent film language and address transnational spectatorships, while constantly returning to his roots in Taiwan and Chinese cultural traditions. This course studies Ang Lee’s cinematic output and its cultural significance from a combination of historical and theoretical perspectives: Taiwan New Cinema, post-Cold War Sinophone cinema, literary adaptation, global Hollywood, transnational auteur studies, Asian-American cinema, and so on.

Session 1B

June 14 – July 6, 2022

Non-Fiction Film History: New York

Toby Lee
Room 674

CINE-GT 2307
Class # 4684
4 points

New York City, long mythologized in fiction film and television, has an equally rich and long-lived relationship to documentary media. From Paul Strand and Charles Sheeler’s celebrated 1921 city symphony film Manhatta, to Beatrice Glow’s ongoing Mannahatta VR (2016-present) exploring the city’s Indigenous past and present, NYC has served as site and subject for multiple generations of documentary filmmakers, artists, and activists. In this course, we explore an eclectic range of non-fiction media produced in and about the city, to consider the ways that documentary — with its own particular histories, conventions, affordances, and limitations — may enrich and complicate our understanding and experience of NYC. At the same time, this course serves as an introduction to the dynamic world of documentary production, distribution, and exhibition in New York today, through weekly visits to some of the city’s most vital documentary organizations and venues.

Session 2

July 7, 2022 – August 17, 2022

Dark Humor: What We Do in the Shadows of Comedy

Lauren Treihaft
Mondays & Wednesdays
Room 674

Class # 4681
4 points

 “There is nothing, it has been said, ‘that intelligent humour cannot resolve in gales of laughter, not even the void…  Laughter, as one of humanity’s most sumptuous extravagances, even to the point of debauchery, stands at the lip of the void, offers us the void as a pledge’” –Andre Breton, Pierre Piob, Anthology of Black Humor 

According to humor studies scholar Mathew Winston, dark comedy is not so much a genre as ‘‘an ‘‘attitude, a stance, or a perspective’’ that crosses generic boundaries and forms (Winston 1972: 270). Often, dark comedy ‘‘uses an ironic and biting intelligence to attack sentimentality, social convention . . . and an apparently absurd universe’’; it ‘‘favors the fantastic, the surreal, and the grotesque’’; and it attempts to ‘‘break down complacency’’ by employing ‘‘violent images and shock tactics’’ (Winston 1972: 270). Taking Winston’s observation into account, this course seeks to understand the role of dark comedy in the midst of crisis. Can we look back and face historical atrocities with humor? Are there situations or subjects that remain risibly off limits? Certain events or ideas that cannot or should not be considered “laughing matters?” From the cannibalistic comedy of Eating Raoul, to Fascism made funny and a time-traveling Hitler in Look Who’s Back, to the comic examination of systematic racism through a subversive form of economic mockery in Sorry to Bother You these are some of the questions that will be explored in this course through a broad examination of dark humor in the cinema.

David Lynch

Christian Rossipal
Tuesdays & Thursdays
4 points

Class # 4675
Room 674

This course explores David Lynch’s singular body of work with a focus on his ambiguous relationship  to Hollywood and mainstream cinema. With his cult classics and surrealist imagery, Lynch’s influence  on arthouse film has been profound. But his films and TV series have had an impact far beyond cinephile circles. Casting major stars and drawing on Hollywood tropes, Lynch has moved between  the avant-garde and commercial cinema in a unique way. Looking at artistic influences and production  history, we will consider the ways in which Lynch has managed to navigate between entertainment and enigmatic experiments. We will ask ourselves how to study his oeuvre in both a critical way and in a  way that enriches our encounter with the elusive “Lynchian” universe. Screenings will include all of  Lynch’s feature films to date, as well as select short films and episodes from Twin Peaks.  

Contemporary Classroom Drama

Leonard Cortana
Tuesdays & Thursdays
Room 674

Class # 4734
4 points

“Hey, teacher! Leave the kids alone,” scream the rioting students as they burn down their school in the famous Pink Floyd music video “A brick in the wall.” Behind this wake-up call, the group heavily criticized abusive education systems and their incapacity to prevent the repetition of historical traumas. 

Since the early days of cinema, critics have read school films to question the relationship between youths and their educators. Later, the multiplication of classroom drama narratives in the context of the new waves has provided a platform to interrogate societal issues around social and racial integration, gender roles, violence, sexuality, and intimate relationships that went beyond the school settings.

To do so, media makers expanded their representation of cinematic schools through different genres with a contemporary emphasis on thriller and horror narratives to highlight their visions of dystopian institutions.

In this course, students will examine the cinematic classroom as a space always in a tension between containment and transgression. Through sequence analysis, they will analyze the aesthetic strategies to expand the imagination around the school landscape and explore how global cinema and TV have used their narratives to refer to historical moments and envision the future of society. 

We will look at narrative tropes that have been at the core of the Millenials’ / Gen Zs’ representation through various scholarship such as fan and reception studies, gender, queer and indigenous scholarship, diaspora studies, and critical race theory.

Screenings may include We need to talk about Kevin (US), The Wave (Germany), After Lucia (Mexico), Raw (France), Papicha (Algeria), Monsieur Lazhar (Canada), and TV texts such as Euphoria (US), Sex Education (UK) and Elite (Spain).

Women directors will have made half of the films screened for the class.