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Introduction to Film

Fall 2018 MWF 12:30-1:20 EH# 304 CRN# 24706

Office, MWF, 1:30-2:30, or by appointment

Course Description

This class is designed as a survey of the international development of film from the early and silent periods to the present. It examines films and directors from various nations, periods, movements, and genres, including German Expressionism, Soviet Montage, film noir, French New Wave, as well as both the Classical Hollywood System and American Independent Film. Our focus will be on the history and methods of (classic) narrative film, including the development of film technology, and on the modern viewer's expected skill in "reading" film, typically in only one sitting or viewing. Overall, the course is intended to provide students with a broad introduction to film analysis and to the field of film studies. Welcome and enjoy!

Complementing our readings, we will also devote considerable time to the actual music leading up to and developing in the Jazz Age, the individual artists, composers, singers, and bands that gave the Twenties their roar and their rhythm. As well, we will get a glimpse at how subsequent generations of writers (and musicians) revisit the history and myths of the Twenties and beyond, and how film -- an art form significantly coincident with the evolution of jazz -- has represented (and continues to represent) musical genius, ethnicity, and gender. Welcome and enjoy. Stay tuned!

Learning Outcomes

  • to develop a critical vocabulary for the analysis and discussion of film
  • to enable students to evaluate films, both from esthetic perspectives and as social/political documents
  • to be able to assess critically a film in terms of narrative, genre, authorship, camera work, mise-en-scène, music and editing
  • last but not least, to appreciate (holistically, that is, both cerebrally and sensorily) the most widely influential medium (of both entertainment and politics) of the past century.


  • practice your oral, written, or graphic communication skills
  • approach issues from multiple perspectives
  • gain knowledge and understanding of key themes and principles in the study of film
  • gain knowledge and (a beginning) understanding of film history and theory
  • identify broad themes and issue in the humanities
  • recognize relationships between film and other (narrative-based) disciplines

Entre Nous

  • While I have made every effort to select films palatable to general sensibilities, please be advised that some of our materials may contain images and language potentially offensive to some of you. Therefore, I would recommend that you take this class only if you think you can work with our materials. I consider our viewing choices relevant to the study of film with a demonstrable relationship to the pedagogical goals of our class. The films are not clean flicked. Should you have reservations or concerns about a particular film, please talk to me in advance. I am willing to make alternative arrangements, should you feel that this is necessary.
  • Since our course makes forays into various national traditions and independent films, I will ask you to be prepared for subtitles.

Texts and Materials

  • Jeffrey Geiger and R. L. Rutsky, eds. Film Analysis, A Norton Reader
  • Films on reserve in Stewart Library
  • Also important: a notepad (paper or digital) for note-taking during screenings and class discussions

Let's Connect!

mwutz@weber.eduPhone  801-626-7011
Skype  michaelwutz007

LebenslaufCurriculum Vitae
Weber – The Contemporary West
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Mailing Address


Michael Wutz, Brady Presidential Distinguished Professor
Editor, Weber - The Contemporary West
Department of English, 1404 University Circle
Weber State University
Ogden, UT 84404-1404 USA