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University at Buffalo

UB Undergraduate Academic Schedule: Spring 2022

This information is updated nightly. Additional information about this course, including real-time course data, prerequisite and corequisite information, is available to current students via the HUB Student Center, which is accessible via MyUB.


ENG 379LEC - Film Genres
Film Genres CON Enrollment Information (not real time - data refreshed nightly)
Class #:   17281   Enrollment Capacity:   60
Section:   CON   Enrollment Total:   59
Credits:   3.00 credits   Seats Available:   1
Dates:   01/31/2022 - 05/13/2022   Status:   OPEN
Days, Time:   TBA , TBA
Room:   Remote view map
Location:   Remote      
  Course Description
Study of various film genres (melodrama, horror, film noir, comedy, science fiction, westerns) and sub-genres (maternal melodrama, splatter films, police procedurals, cyberpunk) as artistic texts and as Hollywood marketing strategies. For example: Prof. J. Frakes: The Middle Ages on Film When one thinks of medievalist films, Monty Pythons Holy Grail or Heath Ledger in A Knights Tale or Richard Gere in First Knight might come to mind. Interestingly, many if not most serious and important film directors have almost from the beginning of the art form made at least one major medievalist film: Lang, Bergman, Eisenstein, Bresson, Kurosawa, Tarkovsky, Herzog, Greenaway, and of course Terry Gilliam. Spanning the history of film-making, these medievalist films more often than not provide insight into the filmmakers conception of history and of contemporary politics and social issues far more than of a particular attempt to `recreate the Middle Ages on film. A survey of medievalist film-making is a survey of twentieth-century political and social movements and in fact also a survey of the history of film-making. In this course we will conduct a comparative study of a broad range of medieval literature and film representations of the Middle Ages from Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia, with a focus on the social function of the texts and films in their contemporary historical contexts. For example: Prof. A. Spiegel, American Genre Films Some of the most durable and popular stories ever told have been presented in a variety of American genre films. This semester the emphasis will be on Fantasy: Horror and Science Fiction, Musicals, Swashbucklers, Martial Arts, and some of the dreamier specimens of Film Noir; works like The Bride of Frankenstein, Blade Runner, Singin in the Rain, The Prisoner of Zenda, Blue Velvet, Enter the Dragon, and more. How much realism can be squirreled into an escapist format? We'll find out. For example: Prof. Joan Copjec: Post-War Image The flight from urban centers, which began after WWII in the U.S., was preceded by a new category of film set exclusively in claustrophobic but eerily empty urban spaces. These films which came to be known as noir or black films coincided not only with the collapse of the urban dream of sociality and technological perfection, but also with the collapse of the institution that manufactured and sold that dream to a delighted public: the Hollywood studio system. In Europe, too but first of all in Italy cinema took an unprecedented turn: toward neo-realism. In the first part of the course we will examine classic examples of film noir genre and neo-realism to see how they joined social problems and urban space to a new conception of the cinematic image. In the second part of the course we will examine the legacy of film noir and neo-realism in more recent films in which social problems are once again conceived as problems of urban coexistence and its failures to provide suitable modes of habitation for a diverse population. We will discuss the exponential rise of slums throughout the world and how IMF has gutted local economies while pretending to help struggling countries get back on their economic feet. The political struggles that have come to divide cities along racial and ethnic lines -- in Paris, Jerusalem, and L.A., particularly -- will be discussed alongside films that depict these divisions. We will attend to appreciation of the cinematic innovations and aesthetic breakthroughs which the films themselves invent in order to put these images on screen. Finally, we will discuss how the institutions of cinema, including international film festivals, play a role in defining these urban locations.
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