Spaces are still available in a number of 4th-year seminars in the Fall and Winter terms.
Check out some of the topics below…
- FILM 4001 Research and Critical Methodologies - Fall term
- Instructor: Charles O’Brien
- This course introduces fourth-year students to methods of advanced film-historical research. It focuses on a basic question in film scholarship: the status of films as objects of historical study. The question has become imposing since the 1980s, when the study of film history began to be conceived not merely as distinct from the project of analyzing films but as opposed to it. While devotees of film analysis are said to remain focused on the filmic “text,” film historians are said to take a broader view by situating films in extra-filmic “contexts,” whether economic, technological, political or social. Recognizing the validity of both textual and contextual approaches to the study of film history, this course uses musical films of the late 1920s/early 1930s as a case study for exploring approaches to film-historical study in which the projects of film analysis and film historical research are combined and integrated.
- Topics covered by the course include: the documentation used in making film-historical claims (film reviews, trade press reports, drafts of scripts, interviews with filmmakers, correspondence, censorship records, etc.); the limits and possibilities for contextualizing films relative to aesthetic, psychological, economic, technological, and social conditions and forces; and technical and aesthetic issues pertaining to film sound and music. The course will also touch on the practicalities of designing and writing a film studies research proposal that might ultimately be submitted to a funding agency and/or admissions committee for a graduate program. The course is thus relevant to students considering graduate work.
- The main course requirements for undergraduate students are: reading the weekly assignments and attending all lectures and screenings; two exams (a midterm and a final); and a paper to be submitted at the end of term. Regarding the paper, students will be asked to choose from a menu of topics pertaining to how a specific song functions in a specific film. Though the course emphasizes the late 1920s/early 1930s, students are welcome to chose for the paper assignment a song-promoting film from any era, country, or genre.
- Grade breakdown for undergraduate students:
- midterm exam 30 %
final exam 35 %
final paper 35 %
- Grade breakdown for graduate students:
- midterm exam 20 %
final exam 20 %
final paper 50 %
class presentation 10 %
- FILM 4201B Topics in National Cinema - Winter term
- Instructor: Mitsuyo Wada-Marciano
- Topic: Media Activism in Asia
- This course examines contemporary documentary and media activism in Asia. Media activism is defined as “a broad category of activism that utilizes media and communication technologies for social and political movements.” (wikipedia). We often view political movements through television and newspaper, but so-called mainstream media certainly have their own limitations. In contrast, what can cinema do to express our political concerns? Have documentary films ever produced social change? What are cinema‘s limitations and advantages in terms of media activism? While cinema has been influenced by the recent technological transformation toward the digital, have the changes in production and consumption influenced the medium’s political direction? What are the influences of highly-accessible communication formats such as YouTube and Twitter on media activism? The digitalization of cinema has brought democratization to many amateur and/or professional documentarians, and they can now record a number of issues in their mundane lives. Did this current situation change tendencies within media activism? By focusing on these questions, we will analyze documentary films from the P.R.C., Japan and other parts of Asia.
- FILM 4501B Topics in Film Theory - Winter term
- Topic: Theories of Film Spectatorship
- Instructor: Steve Rifkin
- The very idea of cinema begins and ends with acts of spectatorship. Yet most theories of film never ask how – or why – people actually watch movies. This course explores the various theories that have tried to account for the role of the film viewer. We will trace the history of these theories from early writing on cinema, through the development of complex psychoanalytic, cognitive, and identity-based theories, to more recent work focusing on audience response and affect. Examining these theories in cultural and intellectual context, we will ask how and why the subjective act of film spectatorship is understood in different ways at different moments in the history of cinema.
- Required text: Course pack.
- Assignments and Evaluation (tentative): Short reading response papers, film-analysis essay, final term paper, seminar attendance and participation.
- FILM 4800: Archives and Curatorial Practice (Film Programming) - Winter term
- Topic: Film Programming
- Instructor: Tom McSorley
- Film programming is everywhere. From the multiplex movie chains, to the ByTowne Cinema and Mayfair Theatre ‘repertory’ cinemas, to institutions like the Ottawa Film Society and the Canadian Film Institute, to hundreds of film festivals in Ottawa, across Canada and abroad, curatorial decisions are being made that will affect what is seen and, equally important, what is not seen.
- Just what is this cultural practice called film programming? What is its role in contemporary culture, and in what forms does it appear? Who decides what gets shown in the many public presentation contexts of cinematheques, galleries, museums, and film festivals? And, more immediate to the broad intentions of this course, how does it work? How does one actually apply one’s knowledge of and passion for cinema in these various venues? These and many other questions will be discussed and analyzed in this course.
- This seminar/workshop course is intended to give students practical experience in four specific areas of film programming: themed film series, retrospectives, national cinema programming, and film festivals.
- FILM 4901A Special Topic - Fall term
- Topic: Cinema and Mobility
- Instructor: Malini Guha
- This course will explore a variety of methods by which film studies and other related disciplines have forged a series of intrinsic relationships between cinema and mobility. In addition to the examination of textual concerns related to film style, genre and narration, this course will also situate the topic of cinema and mobility within broader historical frameworks that will take us from the onset of 19th century modernity to our current period of globalization. We will examine the following questions and topics: representations of mobile perception related to the use of film style; relationships between filmic mobility and genre as figured through the road movie, travel film and dance film; considerations of the manner in which journey narratives can signify in relationship to broader notions of tourism and travel as well as in terms of the production of alternative forms of knowledge as featured in documentary or fictional films; motifs of mobility, including the significance of the road, landscapes, vehicles of travel; figures that one finds across some of these films including the traveler, the tourist, the migrant, the exile, the flaneuse and the nomad.
- Evaluation: Seminar Presentation, Participation, Short Assignment, Final Research Paper
- FILM 4901B Special Topic - Winter term
- Topic: Film and Philosophy: The Cinema of Terrence Malick
- Instructor: Marc Furstenau
- In this course we will consider the relation between popular cinema and certain basic themes of modern philosophy, focusing on the example of the American filmmaker Terrence Malick. Before becoming a filmmaker, Malick had studied and taught philosophy, and his films are often understood in relation to his specific philosophical interests. We will read from the critical literature on Malick, and also consider the emerging discourse on film and philosophy more generally.
- Evaluation: Two Short Essays: 15% x 2 = 30%; Final Essay: 70%