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History of American Film

Course enrollment will be available for this course once it is scheduled.

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Course Description

This course examines the history of American cinema from the silent era to the latest blockbusters, considering along the way important films from the golden age of Hollywood, the “new” American cinema of the 1970’s, the rise of independent film in the 1990’s, and contemporary digital movies. We will examine this history with an eye toward artistic, technological, and historical developments, as well as to the cultural and political contexts that shape them. In addition to the great landmarks of American cinema, the class will also account for the important but often overlooked contributions of women, people of color, and queer filmmakers to this rich history.

Screenings will include films from a wide variety of genres by directors such as Oscar Micheaux, Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, Robert Altman, Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, Jennie Livingston, Kathryn Bigelow, Richard Kelly, and others. Students will learn how to interpret form and style, and cultivate the tools to think critically and creatively about movies. This course provides a foundation of knowledge for aspiring movie makers, for students interested in further film study, and for those who simply desire a deeper appreciation of American cinema and mass culture.

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