Winter 2021 (January 4-22, 2021)
FILM319L | Animation on TV
Instructor: Paul Cote
Though rarely outright ignored, animation for television does tend to get treated as something of an afterthought compared to the shorts, features, and avant-garde films designed for movie theaters that dominate academic discussions of animation. On the one hand, this makes sense, as tv animation has traditionally been cheaper, more nakedly commercial, and consequently, harder to admire, than theatrical animation. Yet from the early 1950s to the present, television has arguably been the primary home for traditional, 2-dimensional animation, whether in the form of 1950s Disney programs, 1960s Hanna Barbera cartoons, Saturday morning cartoon blocks, cereal commercial cartoon mascots, adult-oriented sitcoms like The Simpsons and The Boondocks, or shows created for streaming platforms like Tuca and Bertie. Animation on TV will thus focus exclusively on animated works designed for television: what might a history of the animated medium might look like if we focus, not on its proudest formal achievements in theaters, but rather on its constant, ordinary presence in the household?
FILM329D | Action, Adventure, and Spectacle Film in World Cinema
Instructor: Jason Kuo
Critical study of some of the most important examples of action, adventure, and spectacle cinema from the international and transnational perspectives. Exploration of the historical, esthetic, generic, institutional, and political significance of these films.
FILM329T | Sports in Film
Instructor: Daniel Richter
This film studies course explores the global development of sports, cinema, and politics as intertwined during the 20th and 21st centuries. Through the work of pioneering directors such as Ken Burns, Leni Riefenstahl, Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone, Gurinder Chadha, Jafar Panahi, and Asif Kapadia, the course focuses on the depiction of athletes, coaches, fans, and families impacted by sports across cinematic genres such as documentaries, biographies, as well as comedy and drama. The selected films will be analyzed to understand the central place of sports around the world and how athletes and fans have engaged in forms of political contestation in contexts such as the United States during the Jim Crow era, Nazi Germany, deindustrializing England, post-colonial Africa, and post-revolutionary Iran. The course's objective is to critically view films about these topics and analyze the proliferation of recent sports documentaries in the late two decades that deal profoundly with questions of race and social inequality. While covering numerous sports such as boxing, the Olympics, soccer, basketball, football, tennis, and auto racing, students will analyze scholarship and various interpretations about the meanings of global sports icons such as Jack Johnson, Jesse Owens, Muhammad Ali, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, and Ayrton Senna. The course will also examine the serious and light-hearted critiques presented in feature films about sports as big business and national pastimes.
FILM429T | Middle Eastern Cinema: Comedy, Horror, Politics
Instructor: Valerie Anishchenkova
A close look at transregional genres in contemporary Middle Eastern cinemas, with the focus on comedy, horror, and political cinema. The course is taught in English, online format.
Also offered as ARAB499T
FILM451 | Film Noir and American Culture
Instructor: Eric Zakim
Film noir embraced a certain place at a certain time—and then commented on it. The place was America; the time was the aftermath of the Second World War. These were tumultuous times—full of anxiety, fear, and the unknown, mostly the unknown of what the future would bring. If culture is the way that a society makes sense of itself to itself, then what does film noir say about America in the turbulent years of a new, post-war world? That is the basic question of this course.