Critical Approach to the Cinema

Questions?

  • University College
    202-885-6737
    universitycollege@american.edu
    Anderson, Room 1014

    Wyatt, Jamie J
    Associate Director, University College and Learning Communities

Mailing Address

LIT-135

Year-long, GenEd area 1

Analysis of the film content and style through screenings and substantial readings in aesthetic theory and film history. Also considers social issues, cultural artifacts, and forms of artistic expression.

This course is a rigorous exploration throughout the cinematic landscape. By the end of my course you will never watch movies in the same way again - which serves as a warning, perhaps, that if you like the way you watch movies now, perhaps this may not be the course for you. (That said, trust us when we say that change can be very good.) Students who have taken this course tend to like movies a lot and we have had my share of students who have already taken many film courses and/or know everything about movies. Be assured, however, that this course is not designed only for those people; in fact, you will get even more from this class if you know very little about cinema and are simply itching for more. By its very nature, film studies is wonderfully interdisciplinary, so fear not if your primary interests seem to lie far from the cinematic.

You should note that, unlike the other UC courses, this one has an additional block time for weekly screenings, which your programming assistant will lead. As you develop your schedule, be aware that these screenings are mandatory but lead to very rich results.

From the Professor

How does your University College section of this course differ from a non-University College section?

"Because the entire class is composed of first-year students, my section goes beyond simply being a course about cinema to a veritable training ground for academic pursuits students might encounter over the next four years. The students in the UC class are generally more committed and thus, together, we can go further into the whole academic -- and cinematic -- experience."


How do your Wednesday labs tie into the academic content of your course?

"I work very closely with my Programming Assistant to select the films for each class, which are different each time; as such, the Labs often change dramatically from year to year, often reflecting the personality of the PAs. Sometimes, the labs will coordinate with that week's film: to accompany Peter Weir's *Picnic at Hanging Rock*, for example, one class took advantage of an art exhibit at the Australian Embassy to reflect on how painting influenced the production design of the film. Other times, the labs supplement the larger course content, such as a recent challenge to shoot and edit video responses to various theoretical approaches to film."

Meet the Professor

Professor Jeff Middents

Learn more about Professor Middents' teaching style and goals for the course

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