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CMS 297 C: Special Topics in Cinema and Media Studies

Summer Term: 
Meeting Time: 
MTWTh 1:10pm - 3:20pm
ART 003
Gaurav Pai

Syllabus Description:

This course surveys the history of the documentary genre across the globe with a special focus on films from North America, Europe, Latin America, Iran, India, Japan and, China. No previous course work in film is required, we will work throughout the course on understanding film terms. Traditionally, a film is produced and received through an encounter between three bodies - that of the filmed, the filmmaker and the film spectator. The nature and form of this interaction creates difference; We will see and read about the prominent sub genres of documentary like essay, ethnographic, activist, feminist film, among many others. What is the origin of documentary and how has it traveled and been adapted in different parts of the world? How can film help us see, know, and understand the world? In fiction films, actors consciously “perform” in front of the camera, but this gets complicated in documentary. Next, the filmmaker chooses what the camera captures and what stays out, in the process deciding what part of the reality the spectator gets to see and hear. The spectator’s act of viewing and listening is only the final step in this interpretation of reality. Thus, we will think of film in terms of the bodies of the filmed, filmmaker and the film spectator. Finally, as one traces the evolution of documentary, one finds it has significant intersections with the artistic avant-garde and experimental film. Consequently, films made without human bodies in front of the camera also form an important part of the universe of non-fiction film. Here the focus is not so much the human, but the very properties of film and media itself. We explore these issues by comparing and contrasting films, with different national origins, and made in different eras.

Catalog Description: 
Varied topics related to film and/or media. Offered: AWSpS.
GE Requirements Met: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
August 2, 2019 - 9:20pm