An Introduction to Film - 1st year

A cultural and artistic exploration of film genres. Students will critically analyze film as an art form as well as a reflector and instigator of cultural values. Questions considered will include: How does the visual language of film affect our perception? What innovative techniques are used to convey meaning? How does film fit into the twentieth century?


By the end of the course, students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate knowledge of the role of film in culture and explore its relationship to the world around it;

2. Analyze film as an art form through an examination of aesthetics and the internal structure of the art;

3. Demonstrate ability to decode the language of film;

4. Analyze and critique film by studying film as a series of narratives;

5. Through critical writing, analyze plot, character development, and setting demonstrate how form function interact to tell a story;

6. Conduct library research on a topic, as appropriate;

7. Formulate a critical argument related to film issues.


Course topics will include the following:

1. Learn basic film vocabulary such as montage, mise-en-scene etc.

2. Examine significant film genres

3. Explore film within a cultural context specifically in relationship to other media (the
novel, theater, and the visual arts)

4. Study the aesthetic eye: basic theory regarding the camera’s role in shaping the
viewer’s perception

5. Examine narration and sequence: storyboard

6. Analyze the purposes and functions of film: (its aesthetic, socio-political, spiritual,
economic, expressive aspects)

Method of Instruction:

1. Watch films and videos.

2. Lecture

3. Class Discussion

4. Small group work

5. Student presentations

6. Library work

Types of Assignments:

1. Short reaction papers to film questions

2. Student Presentations

3. Homework practicing various skills

4. Research assignments in library

5. Quizzes, Midterm and Final

Sample Text:

1. Key Concepts in Cinema Studies (Susan Hayward)

2. How to Read a Film: The Art, Technology, Language, History, and Theory of Film
and Media (James Monaco)

3. Myth and the Movies: Discovering Mythic Structures of Fifty Unforgettable Films
(Stuart Boytilla)

4. The Bare Bones Camera Course for Film and Video (Tom Schroeppel)