Interpretation of Film
Film was the dominant medium of the last century and yet we have only begun to understand it, especially in the post-celluloid period of digital and convergent screen cultures. What is the “language” of cinema? What are the elements of style through which films communicate? What are the audiovisual literacy skills necessary to “read” those elements within an aesthetic system? In this course, you will learn how to approach such broad but fundamental questions to the interpretation of films as texts. Based in close analysis, the course begins with the formal compositions of cinema, introducing you to techniques of mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing, and sound, and then moves to contexts that organize cinematic meaning, such as narrative, genre, stardom, and marketing. Further, we will consider film authorship through issues of identity, difference, representation, globalization, and cinema’s relationship to other media. The course covers films from Classical Hollywood studios, independent and international art-house auteurs, documentary and avant-garde practices, and the contemporary blockbuster.