Films in Context
To study film language is to explore how films use narrative structure, visual style and sound design. We will begin at the beginnings of film, from the 1890s through the 1910s feature, the European art film movements of the 1920s and the arrival of sound. With this grounding in camerawork, editing, sound, action, and motifs, we will turn to examine the theory and practice of stylistic devices that developed in the second half century of film history -- neo-realism, distanciation, and feminist film. Throughout the course we will screen films* that use film language in deliberate ways to engage the audience in reflection on humanity, social justice, and history. Filmmakers include Cheryl Dunye, R.W. Fassbinder, Warwick Thornton, Rene Clair, D.W. Griffith, Akira Kurosawa, Hiroshi Shimizu, Chris Marker, Pablo Larrain, and David Miller.
*All films are available through Kanopy.com, a free online streaming service. To access this service, students need a Pima County Public Library card.
Mary Beth Haralovich is Professor Emerita and Hanson Film Institute Fellow at the University of Arizona. In the School of Theatre, Film & Television, she taught television and film history and served as Director of the Film & Television Internship Program. Her research focus examines how film and television connect with popular audiences: domestic family life; gendered film promotion; scandalous female genre; military drama; and fireworks as motif.