This course will focus on learning how to watch films actively and critically. Through a study of American films, students will acquire a working knowledge of American film history from the silent era, recognize and use the basic technical and critical vocabulary of motion pictures, understand how the technology of the cinema relates to film art, and enhance their ability to think, speak, and write critically in an increasingly visual and technological culture. (3 credits)
Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)
Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:
- Discuss visual strategies of film analysis and film making by focusing on the four categories of camera movement (cinematography), sound, editing, and mise-en-scene.
- Analzye the beginnings of Hollywood narratives, the contrasting work of the Film School Generation and counterculture of independent filmmaking in the United States.
- Define and discuss different traditions in American Cinema.
- Respond to movies in a more reflective and critical way after completing this course.
Course Activities and Grading
Discussion Board Postings (Weeks 1-8)
Short Responses (Weeks 1, 3, 4 & 5)
Research Paper Proposal (Week 2)
Film Review Essay (Week 6)
Research Paper (Week 7)
Final Exam (Week 8)
Available through Charter Oak's online bookstore
- Belton, John (2022). American Cinema/ American Culture. 6th ed. New York: McGraw Hill. ISBN-10: 1-264-17730-5 or ISBN-13: 978-1-264-17730-1 [Looseleaf version]
- Sikov, Ed. (2020). Film Studies: An Introduction. 2nd ed. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN-13: 978-0-231-19593-5
- Students are expected to watch at least two movies each week (except for week one). Students will be able to use the films from a specific week’s unit. Students are expected to seek access to films either via their public library, Netflix or a similar service, video stores, and/or buy DVDs via Amazon.com.
|Week||SLOs||Readings and Exercises||Assignments|
Topic: The Emergence of Cinema
Topics: The Studio and the Star System
Topic: Classical Hollywood Cinema: Narration
Topics: A Postwar History: Hollywood, The Cold War, and The Age of Television
Topic: The 1960’s and 70’s: The Counterculture Strikes Back and The Film School Generation
Topic: Film Noir: Somewhere in the Night and The American Comedy
Topic: The Independent Film
Topic: Into the 21st Century
COSC Accessibility Statement
Charter Oak State College encourages students with disabilities, including non-visible disabilities such as chronic diseases, learning disabilities, head injury, attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, or psychiatric disabilities, to discuss appropriate accommodations with the Office of Accessibility Services at OAS@charteroak.edu.
COSC Policies, Course Policies, Academic Support Services and Resources
Students are responsible for knowing all Charter Oak State College (COSC) institutional policies, course-specific policies, procedures, and available academic support services and resources. Please see COSC Policies for COSC institutional policies, and see also specific policies related to this course. See COSC Resources for information regarding available academic support services and resources.