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FAR 330 Syllabus

Course Description

This course is an introduction to “Women in Film” in an international perspective. The course will examine selected films with regard to the representation of women on screen; women’s filmmaking as critical practice; and issues in feminist film theory and criticism .The course includes perspectives on Hollywood cinema and independently produced American and international films. Students will learn how to analyze films.

Prerequisites

  • ENG 101: English Composition 1
  • ENG 102: English Composition 2

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  1. 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.
  2. Identify gender specific topics covered in films.
  3. Enhance critical thinking about gendered aspects of our own life and how they are represented in mainstream and independently produced movies.
  4. Look at mainstream movie productions differently after studying aspects of international films and American made movies with international themes.
  5. Respond to movies in a more reflective and critical way after completing this course.

General Education Outcomes (GEOs)

Please check the applicable GEOs for this course, if any, by outcomes at GEO Category Search, or by subject area at GEO Discipline Search.

Course Activities and Grading

Assignment(s)Points

Discussions (Weeks 1-15)

60

Short Response Assignments (Weeks 1, 2, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 & 14)

24

Research Paper Proposals (Weeks 3 & 10)

8

Media Analysis Essay (Week 4)

10

Research Paper 1 (Week 6)

20

Midterm Exam (Week 8)

16

Research Paper 2 (Week 13)

20

Final Exam (Week 15)

16

Total Points

174

Required Textbooks

Available through Charter Oak's online bookstore

  • Bordwell and Thompson, Film Art: An Introduction. 11th ed. New York: McGraw Hill, 2017. ISBN-10: 1-259-53495-2 or ISBN-13: 978-1-259-53495-9
  • Erens, Patricia. Issues in Feminist Film Criticism. Indiana University Press, 1990. ISBN-10: 0-253-20610-3 or ISBN-13: 978-0-253-20610-7

Additional Materials

Additional articles will be made available in the Course Documents section of the course

Films - Students are expected to watch the films each week.

  • Students are expected to seek access to films either via their public library, Netflix, Redbox, Amazon Prime, TV and/or buy films.

Late Policy

  • Midterm exam and written papers submitted late will receive a 3-point deduction for each day it is late for up to three days. After three days, the assignment will no longer be accepted. Final exam is not accepted after the due date.
  • Discussion board posts will not be accepted after the end of the assigned week. Each week ends on Sunday.
  • Short responses will not be accepted after the end of the assigned week.

Course Schedule

WeekSLOsReadings and ExercisesAssignment(s)

1

1, 2, 3

Topic: WOMEN AND REPRESENTATION

  • Introduction to the course structure & getting to know each other.
  • “Film Form” versus “Film Style.”
    • We will analyze the opening sequence of Kill Bill with Uma Thurman. The visual analysis will pay special attention to sound, editing, mise-en-scene and camera movements.
  • Readings:
    • Film Art, Part One, Chapter 1
  • Video:
    • Kill Bill: Vol. 1. Dir. Quentin Tarantino. Miramax Films, 2003.
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the discussions
  • Complete short response
  • Watch movie

2

1, 2, 3, 5

Topic: VISUAL PLEASURE

  • Developing analytical skills for visual analysis: what does that mean? What is “semiotics?” Why is it central to our course?
  • Short Visual Analysis:
    • The kiss in Rear Window with Grace Kelly and Jimmy Stewart. Theorizing the Female/Male Spectator.
  • Readings:
    • Film Art, Part Three, Chapter 4.
    • Laura Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” (in Erens, pp. 28-40).
    • Tania Modleski, “Hitchcock, Feminism, and the Patriarchal Unconscious (in Erens, pp. 58-74).
  • Video:
    • Rear Window. Dir. Alfred Hitchcock. Paramount Pictures, 1954.
    • Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958);
    • Disturbia (D.J. Caruso, 2007)
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the discussion
  • Complete short response
  • Watch movie

3

1, 2, 3, 5

Topic: MALE GAZE

  • Stereotypes of femininity in mainstream Hollywood films. Mechanism of Stardom.
  • Case Study: Marilyn Monroe as a star phenomenon. The pragmatics and “commodity” of female sexuality: the song “Diamonds are girl’s best friends.”
  • Readings:
    • Film Art, Part Three, Chapter 5.
    • Maureen Turim (in Erens, pp. 101-111)
    • Lucie Arbuthnot and Gail Seneca (in Erens, pp. 112-125)
  • Video:
    • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Dir. Howard Hawks. Twentieth Century Fox, 1953.
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the discussion
  • Watch movie
  • Submit proposal for first research paper

4

1, 2, 3, 5

Topic: NARRATIVE CONVENTIONS

  • Film Style in Classical Hollywood. Gender Stereotypes. Fabricated identities.
  • Readings:
    • Film Art, Part Two, Chapter 3.
    • Mary Ann Doane (In Erens, pp. 41-57).
  • Video:
    • Tootsie (Sydney Pollack, 1982);
    • The Stepford Wives (Bryan Forbes, 1975);
    • The Stepford Wives (Remake, Frank Oz, 2004);
    • TransAmerica (Duncan Tucker, 2005);
    • Boys Don’t Cry (Kimberly Peirce, 1999);
    • Pretty Woman (Garry Marshall, 1990)
    • Albert Nobbs. 2011.
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the discussion
  • Watch two movies
  • Submit Media Analysis Paper

5

1, 2, 3, 5

Topic: CLASSICAL HOLLYWOOD CINEMA

  • Maternal Melodrama. Classic Hollywood versus Remake. Contemporary Versions of motherhood/romance.
  • Case Study:
    • Julia Roberts
  • Readings:
    • Film Art, Part Two, Chapter 2.
    • E Ann Kaplan (in Erens, pp. 126-136);
    • Linda Williams (In Erens, pp. 137-162)
  • Video:
    • Stella Dallas. Dir. King Vidor. Samuel Goldwyn Company, 1937.
    • Stella (Remake, John Erman, 1990);
    • Erin Brokovich (Steven Soderbergh, 2000);
    • Stepmom (Chris Columbus, 1998);
    • Notting Hill (Roger Mitchell, 1999);
    • Sleepless In Seattle (Nora Ephron, 1993)
    • August: Osage County (John Wells, 2014)
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the discussion
  • Complete short response
  • Watch two movies

6

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Topic: FILM NOIR

  • Classical Hollywood filmmaking. Editing. Film Noir. Different Film Genres/Film Movements.
  • Readings:
    • Film Art, Part Four, Chapter 9
    • Article - Film Noir
    • Article - The Femme Fatale
  • Video:
    • Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder, 1950);
    • Mildred Pierce (Michael Curtiz, 1945);
    • Chinatown (Presudo-Noir; Roman Polanski, 1974)
    • Body Heat (Lawrence Kasdan, 1981)
    • The Last Seduction. 1994
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the discussion
  • Watch two movies
  • Submit First Research Paper

7

1, 2, 3,4

Topic: WOMEN AT WAR WITH EACH OTHER

  • Conflicts between women at work and in the private sphere. How movie directors represent interpersonal crisis.
  • Readings:
    • Film Art, Part Five, Chapter 11
    • Article - Catfights
  • Video:
    • The Devil Wears Prada (David Frankel, 2006);
    • Notes on a Scandal (Richard Eyre, 2006);
    • Mean Girls. 2004.
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the discussion
  • Complete short response
  • Watch movie

8

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Topic: INDEPENDENT FILMMAKING: THE FAMILY

  • The dysfunctional family. The non-traditional family. The psychologically abusive, violent family.
  • Readings:
    • Film Art, Part 6, Chapter 12, Glossary
    • Teresa de Lauretis (in Erens, pp. 288-308);
    • Kaja Silverman (in Erens, pp. 309-327).
  • Video:
    • Little Miss Sunshine (Valerie Faris, 2006);
    • Crooklyn (Spike Lee, 1994);
    • Raising Arizona (Ethan and Joel Coen, 1987);
    • Family Viewing (Atom Egoyan, Canada, 1984);
    • The Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson, 2001);
    • Ice Storm (Ang Lee, 1997).
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the discussion
  • Watch one movie
  • Complete Midterm Exam
Midterm Exam
SLOs 1-5

9

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Topic: WOMEN AND VIOLENCE

  • Domestic Violence. Violence as a trope for mass entertainment.
  • Readings:
    • Article - Gosh, Sweetie, That’s a Big Gun
    • Film Art, Part Three, Chapter 7
  • Video:
    • What’s Love Got To Do With It (Brian Gibson, 1993);
    • Color Purple (Steven Spielberg, 1985);
    • Sleeping With The Enemy (Joseph Reuben, 1991);
    • Enough (Michael Apted, 2002);
    • Salt. 2010;
    • Death Proof (Quentin Tarantino, 2007);
    • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - American Version (David Fincher, 2011);
    • Hanna (Joe Wright, 2011)
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the discussion
  • Complete short response
  • Watch two movies

10

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Topic: OTHER CULTURES WITHIN THE US

  • Ethnic diversity and its depiction in mainstream and independent filmmaking.
  • Readings:
    • Film Art, Part Three, Chapter 6
  • Video:
    • West Side Story (Jerome Robbins, 1961);
    • Not Without My Daughter (Brian Gilbert, 1991);
    • Big Fat Greek Wedding (Joel Zwick, 2002);
    • Learning to Drive (Isabel Coixet, 2014);
    • Man, Eat, Drink, Woman (Ang Lee, 1994);
    • The Wedding Banquet (Ang Lee, 1993)
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the discussion
  • Watch two movies
  • Submit proposal for 2nd Research Paper

11

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Topic: INTERNATIONAL CINEMA: DIVERSITY OF WOMEN'S VOICES

  • Personal stories of women in different countries. The gaze on America from a woman’s perspective.
  • Readings:
    • None
  • Video:
    • Maria Full of Grace (Joshua Marston, Colombia, 2003);
    • Nowhere in Africa (Caroline Link, Germany, 2001);
    • Run Lola, Run (Tom Tykwer, Germany, 1999);
    • Mostly Martha (Sandra Nettelbeck, Germany, 2001);
    • Bread and Tulips (Silvio Soldini, Italy, 2000);
    • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Ang Lee, USA, 2000);
    • Raise The Red Lantern (Yimou Zhang, China, 1991);
    • The Lover (Jean-Jacques Annaud, France, 1992);
    • Vera Drake (Mike Leigh, England, 2004).
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the discussion
  • Watch two movies
  • Complete short response

12

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Topic: INTERNATIONAL CINEMA: OTHER CULTURES OUTSIDE THE US

  • Women’s narratives outside the United States.
  • Case Study:
    • Women in the films of the Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar.
  • Readings:
    • Paloma Lapuerta, “Spotlight on women: Moral dilemmas in Pedro Almodóvar’s filmography.” (Draft of a paper)
    • Almodovar article - The Skin I Live In
  • Video:
    • Talk To Her (English Translation) Original Spanish title Hable con ella. Dir. Pedro Almodovar. El Deseo S.A., 2002.
    • Volver (Almodovar, 2007)
    • The Skin I Live In
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the discussion
  • Watch one movie
  • Complete short response

13

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Topic: FATHERHOOD/ MOTHERHOOD

  • Different concepts of parenting. Intergenerational conflict. Young women and their self esteem.
  • Readings:
    • Article - Single Parents in Film
  • Video:
    • Thirteen. 2002.
    • Father of the Bride. 1991.
    • Kramer Versus Kramer. 1979.
    • Steel Magnolias. 1989.
    • Juno. 2007.
    • Martian Child. 2007.
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the discussion
  • Submit Second Research Paper
  • Watch two movies

14

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Topic: HOLLYWOOD FEMINISM IN THE 1970s & 1980s

  • The rise and backlash of feminism.
  • Readings:
    • Robin Wood (in Erens, pp. 337-352)
    • Article - Fatal Attraction
    • Article - Klute
  • Video:
    • Pick one film from the 1970s and one from the 1980s.
    • 1970s:
      • Klute. 1971.
      • Norma Rae. 1979.
      • Looking for Mr. Goodbar. 1977.
    • 1980s:
      • Fetal Attraction. 1987.
      • Die Hard. 1988.
      • Surrender. 1987.
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the discussion
  • Watch two movies
  • Complete short response

15

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Topic: WOMEN IN HORROR FILMS: THE POWER OF THE FINAL GIRL

  • The role of women in horror films and the purposes of the “Final Girl”
  • Readings:
    • Article - Girls on Film: The Battle Between Feminism and Horror
    • Article - Transgression in Slasher Horror
    • Article - Horror Films and Female Youth
  • Video:
    • Halloween. 1978.
    • Carrie. 1976.
    • Alien. 1979
    • Rosemary’s Baby. 1968.
    • Scream. 1996.
    • The Cabin in the Woods. 2012.
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the discussion
  • Watch two movies
  • Complete Final Exam
Final Exam
SLOs 1-5

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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.

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