C LIT 397 C: Special Topics In Cinema Studies

Eco Cinema: Documenting Modern Culture in Theory and Practice

Meeting Time: 
MW
Location: 
SAV
SLN: 
11855
Instructor:
Jennifer M. Bean

Syllabus Description:

ECO-CINEMA: DOCUMENTING MODERN CULTURE IN THEORY AND PRACTICE

**This course engages students in both the study and production of documentary films.

 The catastrophic effects of modern culture on our bodies and the environment have become the subject of a 21st century film and media movement ranging from CNN sponsored television programs on renewable energy to documentary filmmakers who take their own bodies as “visible evidence” of environmental and physical crisis. 

During the first half of the quarter we will engage in a rigorous scrutiny of this late 20th and early 21st century film movement, as well as an assessment of documentary film traditions stretching back through the 1920s.  We will pay particular attention to films that generate rhetorical potency by playing with cinematic techniques—editing tempos, camera angles, lighting, framing devices, time-lapse photography, extreme close or long shots, mobile or still cameras, etc.  (e.g. works by Errol Morris, Werner Herzog, Agnes Varda, Pare Lorentz, Morgan Spurlock, etc.)

During the second half of the course, each member of the class will produce a short documentary film of his/her own.  You will be expected to engage in the rigorous research (often archival)  necessary to interview subjects and organize a “visual argument,” and you will learn to write a short non-fiction script that will be shot and edited in a five-week period.

No previous filmmaking experience required.  The one requisite is an adventurous spirit and a mind that remains open to other people’s arguments and positions, even (or perhaps especially) when those positions differ from your own.

Additional Details:

The catastrophic effects of modern culture on our bodies and the environment have become the subject of a 21st century film and media movement ranging from Showtime sponsored television programs to independent filmmakers who take their own bodies as “visible evidence” of environmental and physical crisis. During the first half of the quarter we will scrutinize and assess this late 20th and early 21st century film movement.
During the second half of the course, each member of the class will produce a short documentary film of his/her own. You will be expected to engage in the rigorous research (often archival) practices necessary to interview subjects and prepare a “visual argument,” and you will learn to write a short non-fiction script that will be shot and edited in a fiveweek period.

Catalog Description: 
Varying topics relating to film in social contexts. Offered by resident or visiting faculty.
GE Requirements Met: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Status: 
Active
Department Requirements Met: 
Cinema Studies Elective
Last updated: 
April 28, 2016 - 9:20am