Film Studies: Film as Art

Course Number: ENG 195
Transcript Title: Film Studies: Film as Art
Created: September 1, 2012
Updated: June 6, 2017
Total Credits: 4
Lecture Hours: 40
Lecture / Lab Hours: 0
Lab Hours: 0
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: No
Satisfies General Education requirement: Yes
Grading options: A-F (default), P-NP, audit
Repeats available for credit: 0

Prerequisite / Concurrent

Course Description

Enhances understanding of film through analysis of film history and form. Develops visual literacy and analysis skills by offering a range of tools to study any film. Analyzes ways in which a film may both contribute and react to its time and culture; analyzes film through studying the techniques by which it was made; and substantiates observations with examples taken from film tradition and from the film itself. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Use understanding of film technique and film as an art medium as tools to analyze film.
  2. Articulate a position, orally and in writing, by situating a film in a cultural context, and substantiating observations with examples taken from that tradition and from the film itself.
  3. Use reflective visual reading, writing, listening and speaking skills to recognize, develop and articulate personal standards, predispositions and theories regarding film and critical responses to film.
  4. Use a larger vocabulary in discussing the making, marketing, exhibition, and audience experience of film.
  5. Apply knowledge to analysis of current films in distribution depending on availability.

Alignment with Institutional Core Learning Outcomes

In-depth 1. Communicate effectively using appropriate reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. (Communication)


2. Creatively solve problems by using relevant methods of research, personal reflection, reasoning, and evaluation of information. (Critical thinking and Problem-Solving)
3. Extract, interpret, evaluate, communicate, and apply quantitative information and methods to solve problems, evaluate claims, and support decisions in their academic, professional and private lives. (Quantitative Literacy)


4. Appreciate cultural diversity and constructively address issues that arise out of cultural differences in the workplace and community. (Cultural Awareness)


5. Recognize the consequences of human activity upon our social and natural world. (Community and Environmental Responsibility)

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment tools may include informal responses to study questions; evaluation of small- and full-group discussion; in-class and out-of-class writing, including informal responses to study questions and other forms of informal writing; analysis of film reviews; frame and/or sequence analysis; presentations by individuals and groups; storyboards; screenplays; and short- and long-essay exams. Both instructor and peer evaluation may be incorporated in the assessment process.

Course Activities and Design

  1. Reading and discussion of the text, Film Studies, and complete a take-home final over the same by term’s end.
  2. Viewing/discussing as a class one classic representative film from each of the genres studied during the term and writing up a brief report/response on each.
  3. Watching outside of class an additional film from each genre, picked from lists provided by the instructor.
  4. Weekly lectures on each of the genres studied during the term, notes from which students will incorporate into the writing  of the take-home final.
  5. Completing extra-credit assignments, as needed, to satisfy the course requirements.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes, Concepts and Issues

  • History of film as an art form
  • Mise en scene
  • Cinematography
  • Editing
  • Sound
  • Film sources
  • Film distribution
  • Types and functions of settings
  • Characters
  • Acting
  • Frame composition
  • Symmetrical and asymmetrical composition
  • Lighting
  • Use of space
  • Color and colorization
  • Camera distances
  • Perspective
  • Angles and point-of-view
  • Shots
  • Frame/the world outside the frame
  • Moving camera
  • Scenes
  • Montage
  • Slow motion
  • Sound effects
  • Music
  • Classical Hollywood cinema
  • Italian neorealism
  • French New Wave
  • Independent films
  • Avant-garde films
  • Conflicts
  • Plot
  • Storyboard
  • Screenplay
  • Chronological and non-chronological time
  • Narrative and non-narrative techniques
  • Westerns
  • War films
  • Thrillers
  • Production Code of the Motion Picture Producers and Directors of America, Inc. – 1930s
  • Feminist film criticism
  • Cinema verite
  • Viewer-response criticism
  • Genre criticism
  • Psychoanalytic criticism
  • Special effects
  • Gender issues
  • Stereotyping

Competencies and Skills

  • Analysis
  • Understanding films through contexts, such as society and politics; artistic conventions; financial constraints; multiple interpretations of a director; etc.
  • Writing about films.
  • Critical reading (film reviews and analysis)