Introduction to Film and Media Studies



Fall 2015
Wednesday, 6:00 - 9:45 pm
State 326

Web address for this page:

Steven Shaviro ( or )

5057 Woodward, Room 9309
Office hours: Monday and Wednesday 12 noon - 1 pm, and by appointment

This class will ask the question:

How do we talk and write about movies and other audiovisual media forms, given that these forms largely involve -- alongside spoken and written language -- nonlinguistic acoustic, visual, and durational elements?

The emphasis will be on the films and videos we watch in class. Occasional readings will be assigned; these will all be available online.

Class requirements include regular attendance, participation in class discussion, and completion of a final paper or project.

By the end of the course, successful students should be able to contemplate a wider range of ways to talk and write about audiovisual media.

September 2
Sequence from Freddie Francis, Doctor Terror's House of Horrors (1965)
Various music videos.

September 9
Action editing, video essays.
David Bordwell, "Intensified Continuity".
The case of Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight (2008).
Mattias Stork, "Chaos Cinema" Part 1
Jim Emerson, "In the Cut", Part 1
Transcription of Emerson video essay
Response by Joseph Kahn, "Analyzing Action".
Shane Denson, "VHS Found Footage and the Material Horrors of Post-Cinematic Images"
"How-To Guide for Video Essays"

September 16
Poetics of cinematography and editing (1).
R. W. Fassbinder, The Third Generation (1979).

September 23
Poetics of cinematography and editing (2).
Josephine Decker, Butter on the Latch (2014).

September 30
Poetics of cinematography and editing (3).
Shane Carruth, Upstream Color (2013).

October 7
Art Cinema.
Marguerite Duras, India Song (1975).

October 14
(Screening only.)
Fritz Lang, Scarlet Street (1945).

October 21
Remakes and auteurial visions.
Jean Renoir, La chienne (1931).

October 28
Questions of genre (1).
Frank Borzage, History Is Made At Night (1937).

November 4
Questions of genre (2).
György Pálfi, Final Cut: Ladies and Gentlemen (2012).

November 11
Questions of genre (3).
Leos Carax, Holy Motors (2012).

November 18
Celebrity persona and performance.
Mark Rappaport, Rock Hudson's Home Movies (1992).
Todd Haynes, Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (1987).

December 2
Race, gender, subjectivity.
Terence Nance, An Oversimplification of Her Beauty (2012).

December 9
Rethinking modernism.
Chantal Akerman, Window Shopping/Golden Eighties (1986).