Film as Literature I
FILM AS LITERATURE CP (UC/CSU)) (h.s. general elective) (Semester Course – Elective)
This is an exciting semester long course in which students will approach film similarly to the way novels are studied.
Students will be viewing (not watching), discussing, and writing about films in a literary fashion. Class members will view
clips from various films as well as view several films in their entirety. Students will be taught to "read" films with an eye
toward symbolism, themes, social and historical context, bias, points of view, plot development, and character development.
Because there is NO HOMEWORK for this course, class attendance and participation is crucial.
None Grades 10-12
This course qualifies as a University of California "g" elective
Jan 7: Course introduction.
In class: What are your five favorite movies? What are the 5 best movies you have ever seen? What are the five worst movies you have ever seen? Submit to Turnitin.com.
In class: Watch The Shared Wonder of Film.
Answer: What is the best movie going experience you have ever had? Relate it to the TED talk. Submit to Turnitin.com.
In class: Due to possible power outages, today will be a reading day. Follow directions below:
Check into class (if possible -- yesterday, I lost all power at 10:20).
Finish watching Field of Dreams.
Answer: What were the life issues facing each of the following characters and what were their resolutions? Submit to Turnitin.com
Jan. 25: Begin Forrest Gump.
Jan 27: Finish Forrest Gump.
Feb 1: Begin Pleasantille
Feb 3: Finish Pleasantville
Feb. 8: Review for in class essay
Feb. 10: In class essay. Submit to Turnitin.com when finished.
Compare and contrast the films we watched and explain what each film says about Traditional American Values. How does each film portray Traditional American Values, how and why do various characters rebel or reject TAVs, and how and why is there some sort of reconciliation? What is the socio-political message of each film? Which film’s message do you disagree with most? Why? Which film’s message do you agree with most? Why?
Feb. 16: Begin the documentary on the history of cinematography, Visions of Light
Take notes for the following topic:
How did technological advances in filmmaking spur various artistic styles and movements? Who were the major innovators and what were their impacts?
Feb. 18: Finish Visions of Light.
Feb. 23: Modern Times -- Charlie Chaplin
Feb. 25: Finish Modern Times. Watch Chaplin Today -- Modern Times
March 2: Begin A Night at the Opera -- SWANK
March 4: Finish A Night at the Opera Watch The Making of A Night At The Opera
Relate various scenes from A Night at the Opera with the myth of Prometheus. Submit to Turnitin.com
March 9: Begin East Side Sushi
March 11: Finish East Side Sushi
March 16: How Green was My Valley
March 18: In-class Social Class Unit Essay
Compare and contrast the films we watched and explain what each film says about the struggle between the social classes. How does each film portray the conflicts involving the social classes? How and why do various characters respond to the oppression of the lower classes? What is the socio-political message of each film? In other words, where do the filmmakers place the blame for these conflicts? What are the issues? What are the solutions suggested by each film? Which film’s message do you disagree with most? Why? Which film’s message do you agree with most? Why?
March 23: In class watch Why you should define your fears instead of your goals and The hidden power of not (always) fitting in.. What are your goals in life and what are the internal and external conflicts you need to overcome? Explain.
II. External Conflicts/Barriers
III. Internal Conflicts/Barriers
March 25: Begin On The Waterfront
March 30: Finish On The Waterfront
April 1: Begin Rocky
Week 14 Spring Break
April 13: Finish Rocky
April 15: Begin The Truman Show
April 20: Finish The Truman Show
April 22: Begin The Apartment Watch up to 1:06 by next class.
April 27: Finish The Apartment
April 29: Begin WALL-E
May 4: Finish WALL-E
May 6: In class essay:
Triumph of the Common Person
Which film’s message did you agree with most? Why? Which film’s message did you disagree with most? Why? With which of the following characters do you most closely identify: Terry, Rocky, Adrian, Truman, Baxter, Fran, Wall-E, EVE, or the captain? Why? What are your most important life aspirations? What internal AND external conflicts do you need to overcome in order to achieve your own personal triumphs?
May 11: Introduce Citizen Kane
May 13: Citizen Kane
May 18: Finish Citizen Kane
In class: Watch Why filmmakers steal from Citizen Kane Welles vs. Hearst: The Story Behind Citizen Kane, Citizen Kane: Crash Course Film Criticism #1 (10:39), 1941: Citizen Kane: What Makes A Masterpiece?
May 20: Final Exam (due by the end of the period).
Explain in detail why Citizen Kane is widely considered the greatest American film of all time? How does Citizen Kane stylistically and thematically relate to our other films and film units? Overall, which film did you like best this semester? Why? Which film did you like least? Why? What was the best film you saw this semester? Why?
May 25: Study Hall
May 27: Study Hall
Each unit will be evaluated with an in-class essay (100 points each) and a journal check (50 points each unit check).
The semester is broken up into the following units:
Introduction to Film as Literature
Clips from Lawrence of Arabia, Dances With Wolves, Much Ado About Nothing
Unit 1: Traditional American Values
Field of Dreams, Forrest Gump, Pleasantville
Unit 2: Struggle of the Lower Classes
Visions of Light (documentary on cinematography), The Kid, Modern Times, A Night at the Opera, The Grapes of Wrath
Unit 3: Triumph of the Common Man
On the Waterfront, Rocky, Casablanca, The Truman Show, The Apartment
Unit 4: Teen Issues
Rebel Without a Cause, American Graffiti, The Breakfast Club
Unit 5: What constitutes Greatness?
http://www.filmsite.org/filmh.html A guide to the history of film by decades.
http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?category=greatmovies_fulllist Roger Ebert"s list of great movies.
http://us.imdb.com/ The internet movie database. A great research tool.
http://www.filmsite.org/ A guide to how to watch films with a critical eye.
http://www.filmsite.org/ A site devoted to several "Great Movies" lists and analysis.
http://www.tau.ac.il/~haim/links.htm A site providing links to film theory sites. This will be very helpful with your essays.
http://afronord.tripod.com/theory.html A very good explanation of semiotics in cinema.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Film_theory Wikipedia"s link to various film theories. A very useful site for an introduction and explanation of film theories.
http://www.greencine.com/static/primers/index.jsp A great site with essays on all the major genres and artistic movements we will be studying.
http://www.allmovie.com/ Incredible site to research any film, actor director, producer, etc.
Also see the links listed under Film as Literature I.In case you miss class, you may watch these films online.Marx Brothers ClipsThe Unknown Marx Brothers Documentary (1 hour 25 min.)SWANKCasablancaCitizen KaneDead Poets SocietyForrest GumpThe Truman ShowThe Color PurpleAmerican GrafittiGattaca2001 Space OdysseyETWall-E