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C LIT 497 A: Special Topics In Cinema Studies

Documentary and the Avant-Garde

Meeting Time: 
TTh 9:30am - 11:20am
Location: 
SAV 158
SLN: 
11838
Instructor:
Eric Ames

Syllabus Description:

Meets TTh 9:30-11:20am in SAV 158

 

This capstone course is designed for CMS majors who are familiar with the history and theory of film, but it does not require previous coursework on either documentary or the avant-garde. We will explore each film together, in depth, and in the spirit of what the great American filmmaker Stan Brakhage called an “adventure of perception.” Documentary and the avant-garde represent different filmmaking practices, each with a range of agendas and approaches, and each with a different history. But they are also interconnected. This course will survey the historical and contemporary intersections of documentary and the avant-garde through films by Brakhage, Luis Buñuel, Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel, Bruce Conner, Robert Flaherty, Georges Franju, Robert Gardner, Patricio Guzmán, Werner Herzog, Claude Lanzmann, Jonas Mekas, Ross McElwee, D. A. Pennebaker, and Andy Warhol, among others. My hope is that their films will alter how you think about the moving image, especially in relation to the act of seeing. Indeed, the goal of this course is to see better, or at least to see differently. What that means for each of us will vary, but that’s the goal.

Additional Details:

This capstone course is designed for CMS majors who are familiar with the history and theory of film, but it does not require previous coursework on either documentary or the avant-garde. We will explore each film together, in depth, and in the spirit of what the great American filmmaker Stan Brakhage called an “adventure of perception.” Documentary and the avant-garde represent different filmmaking practices, each with a range of agendas and approaches, and each with a different history. But they are also interconnected. This course will survey the historical and contemporary intersections of documentary and the avant-garde through films by Brakhage, Luis Buñuel, Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel, Bruce Conner, Georges Franju, Robert Gardner, Werner Herzog, Jonas Mekas, Ross McElwee, Jean Rouch, Michael Snow, Dziga Vertov, and Andy Warhol, among others. My hope is that their films will alter how you think about the moving image, especially in relation to the act of seeing. Indeed, the goal of this course is to see better, or at least to see differently. What that means for each of us will vary, but that’s the goal. Each week we’ll discuss at least two films and two readings, all available either online or through our Canvas site. Students will keep film-viewing journals, write two short essays, and participate in class as well as online discussions and other activities. The capstone piece will be a reflective essay on the CMS major through the lens of documentary and the avant-garde.

Department Requirements Met: 
Cinema Studies Elective
GE Requirements Met: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
October 5, 2016 - 9:02pm
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