Instructor: Dr. Ellen Kreger
Email address: email@example.com
(Please include your name in the subject line if it is not part of your email address!) Phone number: (914) 376-7745 (h)—Please call between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Office hours: By appointment Monday-Friday
An introduction to the language of film, this course familiarizes students with the key elements of cinema: narrative, cinematography, mise-en-scène, editing, and sound. Focusing primarily on fictional narrative films, the course explores the ways in which filmmakers employ the basic elements of cinema to reveal character, convey plot and theme, and create meaning. Both “Classical” Hollywood style and alternative styles are discussed. Students learn to critically analyze films and effectively communicate their ideas in writing. In addition to a mid-term and a final exam, there are weekly assignments/quizzes and one paper. Required text:
Padawer, Craig. Close Up: A Critical Introduction to Film. Dubuque: Kendall Hunt Publishing, 2012. ISBN: 978-1-4652-0756-2. The book is available through the campus bookstore, but may appear under a different SECTION of this course. Make sure that you do not have a previous version of this textbook (i.e., the “preliminary” edition).
I also suggest that you buy yourself some type of book light or miniature flashlight. When we screen movies (and when you watch clips during the exams), the room will be very dark. Having some kind of light source will help you take notes. This light should be very small so that it does not distract your neighbor. I do not allow cell phones or other electronic devices on desks during class or exams.
In order to complete this course successfully, you must demonstrate: * A fundamental understanding of fundamental film techniques and they are used to create meanings; * Use of the basic technical and critical vocabulary of motion pictures; * An ability to synthesize these skills into a detailed “close” reading of a film.
In addition, successful completion of the assignments will require that you hone a variety of skills including: * The development of an idea from initial inspiration into a coherent, well-reasoned written argument; * Critical reading skills that can be employed in any field of study; * An ability to think, speak, and write critically about visual texts, which are a dominant form of communication today.
Requirements and Grading:
You will be expected to read a section of the textbook for each unit, to be completed by the date listed on the syllabus. There will also be 10 quizzes throughout the semester, a few of which will be take-home and/or open-note quizzes. These quizzes are designed to help me (and you) monitor your understanding of the reading assignments, and to help you practice integrating the information on a weekly basis. You will also write three short analyses in class, in response to a clip I show. The quizzes and analyses will include whatever you have heard or been assigned to read prior to that exercise’s due date, although they will emphasize the most current topic. There will be one midterm exam and a cumulative final; you will also be required to write one 3-4 page paper. Guidelines for the paper will be handed out in class, as will review sheets for the exams. I am always happy to meet with you to help you craft your papers, study for the exams, or review your quizzes. Please note that it is the student’s responsibility to remember all due dates and keep up with any changes in the schedule—I may or may not remind you of every assignment or quiz date. Check this schedule every week, and if you miss class, check with a classmate to find out if any changes were announced.
Grading will be determined as follows: