FILM 3315: Classical Film Theory
Fall 2011

Instructor Information

Name: Chris Churchill
Office location: SRH 124A
Office hours: Mondays and Wednesdays 1:00 – 3:00 (other times available by appointment)
Phone: 450-5522
Biography: BS. Digital Filmmaking, University of Central Arkansas; MFA. Digital Filmmaking, University of Central Arkansas

Course Information

Course Title: Classical Film Theory
Course Number: FILM 3315
Course Description: A survey of film theory, with particular emphasis on what is now considered the classical era of film theory (1916-1958). We will note the questions that early film theorists asked about the (then) new art form and discover what they offered as answers to their questions. The course consists of lectures, discussions, readings, and screenings.

Course Objectives: The objective of the course is to familiarize the student with the theoretical literature on the nature and functioning of the film medium written during the classical era of film.
Location: SRH 103
Meeting day(s): TTH
Meeting time(s): 2:40 pm – 4:05 pm
Prerequisite(s): MCOM 1300 Media and Society; FILM 1305 Intro to Film

required literature is available on the Blackboard website for the class. It is; however, recommended that students familiarize themselves with some of these publications.

Anderson, Joseph D. The Reality of Illusion. Southern Illinois University Press, 1996. ISBN#0809321963

Anderson, Joseph D. and Anderson, Barbara Fischer. Ecological Considerations. Southern Illinois University Press, 2007 ISBN# 0809325993

Arnheim, Rudolf. Film as Art. University of California Press, 2006. IBSN#0520248376

Bazin, Andre. What is Cinema, Vol. 1. Hugh Gray, compiler and trans. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1957. ISBN# 0520000927

Braudy, Leo and Cohen, Marshall Film Theory and Criticism. Leo Braudy, ed. Marshall Cohen, ed. Oxford University Press, 2009. IBSN#0195365623

Eisenstein, Sergei M. Film Form. San Diego: Harcourt Brace, 1972. ISBN#0156309203

Kracauer, Siegfried. Theory of Film. Princeton University Press, 1997. ISBN#0691037043

Munsterberg, Hugo. The Photoplay: A Psychological Study and Other Writings Allan Langdale, ed. Routledge, 2002. ISBN# 041593706

Course Requirements

Your grade will be determined by your level of performance in these areas:

1. Read all the assigned material

2. Blackboard Posts (20%)

3. Attendance (10%) – at all lectures and screenings and participation in discussions

4. Quizzes (15%) on required course readings

5. Test 1 (10%)

6. Test 2 (10%)

7. Test 3 (20%)

8. Research Paper (15%)

Grading Scale

Below 60=F

Academic Integrity

The University of Central Arkansas affirms its commitment to academic integrity and expects all members of the university community to accept shared responsibility for maintaining academic integrity. Students in this course are subject to the provisions of the University’s Academic Integrity Policy, approved by the Board of Trustees ad Board Policy No. 709 on February 10, 2010, and published in the Student Handbook. Penalties for academic misconduct in this course may include a failing grade on an assignment, a failing grade in the course, or any other course-related sanction the instructor determines to be appropriate. Continued enrollment in this course affirms a student’s acceptance of this university policy.

Class Policies

Make up quizzes will be available to students with excused absences, make up quizzes for unexcused absences may be offered at the discretion of the instructor. It is the student’s responsibility to request a make up quiz and provide adequate verification of excused absences.

Assignments are due at class time. Late assignments may be turned in up to a week late for half credit (unless you have an excused absence the day the assignment is due).

Excused absences include university sanctioned events, illness, emergency, or death in the family. After five (5) unexcused absences the instructor reserves the right to drop the student from the class with a WF (withdraw fail). If you feel you are approaching a possible unacceptable amount of unexcused absences it is your responsibility to consult with the instructor.

Please refer to the student handbook for university policy on academic dishonesty and plagiarism as well as on sexual harassment and other academic and university policies.

The University of Central Arkansas adheres to the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you need an accommodation under this Act due to a disability, please contact the UCA Office of Disability Services, 450-3613.

Schedule (Subject to Change)

Topic Assignment


Intro to Film Theory


Munsterburg’s Theory Munsterberg p. 18-30


Kuleshov’s Theory Kuleshov p. 41-55


Film: The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West…


Pudovkin’s Theory Pudovkin p. 38-55


Film: End of St. Petersburg


Eisenstein’s early theory Eisenstein p. 3-17, 28-44


Eisenstein’s early theory (cont’d) Eisenstein p. 45-63


Film: End of St. Petersburg, October, Potempkin


Exam #1


Soviet Socialist Realism Thompson & Bordwell p. 292-301


Eisenstein’s Later Theory Eisenstein p. 122-149


Film: Ivan the Terrible part I & II


Arnheim’s Theory Arnheim p. 8-29


Film: Gold Rush


Kracauer’s Theory (Film: Hamlet) Kracauer p. 12-23


Fall Break


Bazin’s Theory Bazin p. 9-16 & 23.40


Film: Grand Illusion


Bazin on film styles (Film: Citizen Kane) Bazin p. 17-22


Bazin on Neorealism Bazin p. 61-78


Film: Bicycle Thief


Exam #2


Psychoanalytic Theory Metz p. 65


Marxist Theory Comolli and Narboni p 686


Mechanical Reproduction Benjamin p 665


Thanksgiving Break


Feminist Theory Mulvey p. 711


Grand Theory Bordwell p. 3-36


Ecological Approach Anderson Ch 2


Entering the Diegetic World Anderson Ch 7

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