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FILMSTUD 134: The Art Cinema of India (FILMSTUD 334)

India is the world's largest producer of films, and Bollywood is currently its most visible cinematic product on the festival circuit as well as university curricula. This course, probably the first of its kind in the American academic setting, will focus instead on the various art cinemas of India. From the well-known Satyajit Ray to his important contemporaries, Ritwik Ghatak and Mrinal Sen, from the social realist New Wave cinemas of the 70s and 80s to contemporary indie films, we will engage with the history of the "parallel cinema" movement. Considering the relationship of Indian art cinema to Third Cinema and to European art cinema will bring attention to transnational networks and exhibition circuits. The course will engage with scholarship on art cinema more broadly to understand how films are categorized as such through narrative, form, audience, auteurism, funding, censorship, and relationship to the nation-state.
Last offered: Winter 2019 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-ED

FILMSTUD 135: Around the World in Ten Films (FILMSTUD 335, GLOBAL 135)

This is an introductory-level course about the cinema as a global language. We will undertake a comparative study of select historical and contemporary aspects of international cinema, and explore a range of themes pertaining to the social, cultural, and political diversity of the world. A cross-regional thematic emphasis and inter-textual methods of narrative and aesthetic analysis, will ground our discussion of films from Italy, Japan, United States, India, China, France, Brazil, Nigeria, Russia, Iran, Mexico, and a number of other countries. Particular emphasis will be placed on the multi-cultural character and the regional specificities of the cinema as a "universal language" and an inclusive "relational network."nnThere are no prerequisites for this class. It is open to all students; non-majors welcome.
Terms: Win | Units: 3-4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II
Instructors: Levi, P. (PI)

FILMSTUD 137: Love in the Time of Cinema (FILMSTUD 337, GLOBAL 110, GLOBAL 211)

Romantic coupling is at the heart of mainstream film narratives around the world. Through a range of film cultures, we will examine cinematic intimacies and our own mediated understandings of love and conjugality formed in dialog with film and other media. We will consider genres, infrastructures, social activities (for example, the drive-in theater, the movie date, the Bollywood wedding musical, 90s queer cinema), and examine film romance in relation to queerness, migration, old age, disability, and body politics more broadly.
Terms: Aut | Units: 3-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II
Instructors: Iyer, U. (PI)

FILMSTUD 145: Politics and Aesthetics in East European Cinema (FILMSTUD 345)

From 1945 to the mid-80s, emphasizing Polish, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, and Yugoslav contexts. The relationship between art and politics; postwar establishment of film industries; and emergence of national film movements such as the Polish school, Czech new wave, and new Yugoslav film. Thematic and aesthetic preoccupations of filmmakers such as Wajda, Jancso, Forman, and Kusturica.
Last offered: Autumn 2013 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II

FILMSTUD 164A: Technology and the Visual Imagination (ARTHIST 164A, ARTHIST 364A, FILMSTUD 364A)

An exploration of the dynamic relationship between technology and the ways we see and represent the world. The course examines technologies from the Renaissance through the present day, from telescopes and microscopes to digital detectors, that have changed and enhanced our visual capabilities as well as shaped how we imagine the world. We also consider how these technologies influenced and inspired the work of artists. Special attention is paid to how different technologies such as linear perspective, photography, cinema, and computer screens translate the visual experience into a representation; the automation of vision; and the intersection of technology with conceptions of time and space.
Last offered: Winter 2016 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II

FILMSTUD 165A: Fashion Shows: From Lady Godiva to Lady Gaga (ARTHIST 165A, ARTHIST 365A, FILMSTUD 365A)

The complex and interdependent relationship between fashion and art. Topics include: the ways in which artists have used fashion in different art forms as a means to convey social status, identity, and other attributes of the wearer; the interplay between fashion designers and various art movements, especially in the 20th century; the place of prints, photography, and the Internet in fashion, in particular how different media shape how clothes are seen and perceived. Texts by Thorstein Veblen, Roland Barthes, Dick Hebdige, and other theorists of fashion.
Last offered: Winter 2014 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II

FILMSTUD 165B: American Style and the Rhetoric of Fashion (AMSTUD 127, ARTHIST 165B)

Focus on the visual culture of fashion, especially in an American context. Topics include: the representation of fashion in different visual media (prints, photographs, films, window displays, and digital images); the relationship of fashion to its historical context and American culture; the interplay between fashion and other modes of discourse, in particular art, but also performance, music, economics; and the use of fashion as an expression of social status, identity, and other attributes of the wearer. Texts by Thorstein Veblen, Roland Barthes, Dick Hebdige, and other theorists of fashion.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II
Instructors: Kessler, E. (PI)

FILMSTUD 211N: Childish Enthusiasms and Perishable Manias

This course has a simple premise: Effective scholarship need not suck the joy from the world. College is serious stuff. Serious questions need to be asked in serious fields; serious meanings need to be derived from serious texts. College and graduate school are sites of gravitas; weighty work is expected. But what of levitas -- a lighter, more playful category? Does such a concept have a place at such institutions of higher learning as Stanford? Gravitas and levitas can co-exist; one need not preclude the other. Writers and artists have long sought to incorporate a playful spirit, recognizing virtue in levity. Encountering Times Square in 1922, the British writer G. K. Chesterton reflected, ¿If a child saw these colored lights, he would dance with as much delight as at any other coloured toys; and it is the duty of every poet, and even of every critic, to dance in respectful imitation of the child.¿ What does it mean to do scholarship that respects a child¿s engagement with the world? more »
This course has a simple premise: Effective scholarship need not suck the joy from the world. College is serious stuff. Serious questions need to be asked in serious fields; serious meanings need to be derived from serious texts. College and graduate school are sites of gravitas; weighty work is expected. But what of levitas -- a lighter, more playful category? Does such a concept have a place at such institutions of higher learning as Stanford? Gravitas and levitas can co-exist; one need not preclude the other. Writers and artists have long sought to incorporate a playful spirit, recognizing virtue in levity. Encountering Times Square in 1922, the British writer G. K. Chesterton reflected, ¿If a child saw these colored lights, he would dance with as much delight as at any other coloured toys; and it is the duty of every poet, and even of every critic, to dance in respectful imitation of the child.¿ What does it mean to do scholarship that respects a child¿s engagement with the world? To retain (or recover) the pleasurable relation to particular objects or habits that we were allowed when younger? Does intellectually credible work depend upon ¿critical distance¿ between the scholar and the object of study? Can we take something seriously without imposing a seriousness that it may not possess (or want)? Do you have to be serious to be serious? This seminar will try to answer some of those questions. We will explore such ¿unserious¿ media as amusement parks, comics, cartoons, musicals, and children¿s books, and encounter modes of critical engagement that stress experience over meaning, and investment over critical distance.
Last offered: Autumn 2018 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II

FILMSTUD 213: Theories of Melodrama (FILMSTUD 413)

Commonly derided for being over the top, with films in this mode put down as weepies, tear-jerkers, and women's films, melodrama as a genre and a cinematic mode has been reclaimed by feminist-queer-film scholars as providing a powerful site of ideological struggle and sustained engagement with individual and social subjection and suffering. Melodrama, a transgeneric mode of emotional dramaturgy, centered around body and community, delay and chance, realism and excess, affords radical critiques of discourses of gender, sexuality, race, class, and nation. We will consider melodrama's careful calibration of sensation and affect through its employment of cinematic form (color, music, editing etc.), and sweeping performative gestures. Through an analysis of films from Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, by auteurs such as Douglas Sirk, Ritwik Ghatak, Wong Kar-wai, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and Pedro Almodovar, among others, we will study global and transnational flows in the adoption of the politics and aesthetics of the melodramatic mode. The seminar is conceived to be interdisciplinary and participants are encouraged to work with texts from disciplines other than film studies as well, including theatre, visual arts, music, dance, literature etc.
Last offered: Spring 2019 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-ED

FILMSTUD 259: Game Studies (FILMSTUD 459)

This course aims to introduce students to the emerging, interdisciplinary field of game studies. We will investigate what games (including but not limited to digital games) are, why we play them, and what the functions of this activity might be. The bulk of the course will be devoted specifically to digital games, which we will approach from a variety of perspectives: from historical, cultural, industrial/commercial, media-theoretical, and formal (narratological/ludological) perspectives, among others. Thus, we will seek to understand the contexts in which video games emerged and evolved, the settings in which they have been played, and the discourses and practices that have determined their place in social and cultural life. In addition, we will ask difficult questions about the mediality of digital games: What is the relation of digital to non-digital games? Are they both games in the same sense, or do digital media redefine what games are or can be? How do digital games relate to ot more »
This course aims to introduce students to the emerging, interdisciplinary field of game studies. We will investigate what games (including but not limited to digital games) are, why we play them, and what the functions of this activity might be. The bulk of the course will be devoted specifically to digital games, which we will approach from a variety of perspectives: from historical, cultural, industrial/commercial, media-theoretical, and formal (narratological/ludological) perspectives, among others. Thus, we will seek to understand the contexts in which video games emerged and evolved, the settings in which they have been played, and the discourses and practices that have determined their place in social and cultural life. In addition, we will ask difficult questions about the mediality of digital games: What is the relation of digital to non-digital games? Are they both games in the same sense, or do digital media redefine what games are or can be? How do digital games relate to other (digital as well as non-digital) non-game media, such as film, television, print fiction, or non-game computer applications? Of course, to engage meaningfully with these questions at all will require us to investigate theories of mediality (including inter- and transmediality) more generally. Finally, though, we will be interested in the formal and experiential parameters that define (different types of) digital games in particular. What does it feel like to play (various) digital games? What are the relations between storytelling and the activity of gameplaying in them? What is the relation between these aspects and the underlying mechanics of digital games, as embodied in hardware and software? What is the role of the human body? Because these questions can only be approached on the basis of personal experience, students will be expected to spend some time playing digital games and reflecting critically on their gameplay.
Last offered: Autumn 2018 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II
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