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C LIT 271 A: Perspectives On Film: Great Directors

David Cronenberg

Meeting Time: 
Sudhir Mahadevan

Additional Details:

This course provides an overview of the work of Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg, from his earliest films in the 1970s ( Stereo , Crimes of the Future ) to his most recent work ( History of Violence , Eastern Promises ). Cronenberg's films engage with diverse film genres: venereal horror, zombie flicks, sci-fi, adaptations of literary classics and theatrical works, all in the context of his changing relationship to the Canadian and US film industries, and the international film festival market. One critic has described Cronenberg as resembling "a recently graduated dental student with straight As for etiquette, articulation and an uncanny ability to locate painful nerves." This course will trace this filmmaker's truly unnerving body of films. The films offer up a grim and focused investment in the shocking viscera of bodily mutation, damage and degradation (The Brood, The Fly, Shivers, Rabid), in the way bodies interact with media and other technologies (Videodrome, eXistenZ, Crash), in transvestism, gynecology, and body doubles (M. Butterfly, Dead Ringers), to selectively describe some of his themes. But underlining the films are issues that we will explore as interpretive tools for Cronenberg's work: sexual and cultural difference and identity, the limits of community and urban life, the place of old and new media in our lives, and philosophical questions about the relation between mind and body. Readings will include critical essays that introduce the filmmaker's work, drawing on film theory and history, media and cultural theory, philosophy, feminist theory; interviews with the director; and a book length study of his work to date. Course work includes weekly lectures, reading, and screenings, as well a paper and examinations.

Catalog Description: 
Introduction to authorship in the cinema. The work of a major director or directors. C LIT 270, C LIT 271, C LIT 272 are designed to be taken as a sequence, but may be taken individually.
Department Requirements Met: 
Pre-req to Declare Cinema Major
GE Requirements Met: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Writing (W)
Other Requirements Met: 
Last updated: 
April 28, 2016 - 9:19am