COM 338-01 (23264) / 531-01 (23754) / HIST T325-01 (23693) / T425 (21689)
The History of Documentary and Experimental Film and Video
Steven Alan Carr, Ph.D.
Spring 2004

 

Location:

NF 147

Meeting Time:

MW 11-11:50 AM

Screening Location:

SB 168

Screening Time:

T 6-8:45 PM

Office:

NF 230 H

Office Hours:

MW 1:30 - 2:30 PM, and happily by appointment

Office Phone:

(260) 481-6545

Email:

carr@ipfw.edu

Website:

users.ipfw.edu/carr

Prerequisites and Intended Audience: This course is intended for upper division and graduate students majoring in either Communication or History.  Prerequisites include COM 250, 251, or consent of the instructor.

Course Description: This course traces the historical development of the documentary and experimental traditions of film and video, noting their departure from the tradition of Classical Hollywood as well as the aesthetic, political, and social implications of these differences.

Objectives:

        Be able to identify and summarize seminal titles that best represent the documentary and experimental traditions in the United States and abroad, and be able to explain why these titles are important and different from Hollywood film.

        Become conversant with basic issues featured prominently in debates over documentary and experimental aesthetic and practice.

        Improve your ability to critically analyze various aesthetic practices other than Classical Hollywood filmmaking, basing this analysis on informed opinions about the history of documentary and experimental films.

Course Policies: See course policies for more information. These policies are subject to change and not all of them may apply to this class.

 

Assignments: More detailed instructions will follow throughout the semester.

 

Paper #1 (100 points; due Wed 3 Mar)

For this 1250 - 2000 word (approximately 5-8 pages) argument-driven paper, you will develop a thesis regarding how a single film or video fits within the documentary and/or experimental tradition using readings found outside of the class to substantiate your claims. The film may be one screened in class, but your paper must go significantly beyond any readings or discussions that took place as part of the class. Be certain to choose a text with which you feel reasonably comfortable in knowledgeably analyzing its techniques and textual strategies in a detailed, specific, and logical fashion. For more information on general expectations regarding an argument-driven paper, see the course policies.

 

Paper #2 (200 points; due Wed 28 Apr)

For this 2000-2500 word (approximately 8-10 pages) argument-driven paper, you will develop a thesis regarding how a documentary and/or experimental tradition addresses substantive social, cultural, artistic, and ethical issues of concern to filmmaking practice and reception.  You should use readings and/or screenings found outside of the class to substantiate your claims. The films and readings may have been covered in class, but your paper must go significantly beyond any discussion and/or lecture that took place as part of the class. Be certain to choose a tradition with which you feel reasonably comfortable in knowledgeably analyzing its techniques and textual strategies in a detailed, specific, and logical fashion. For more information on general expectations regarding an argument-driven paper, see the course policies.

 

 

Possible Points

Percent

Paper #1

100

10%

Paper #2

200

20%

Group-Led Discussion

100

10%

Midterm Exam

200

20%

Final Exam

200

20%

Participation

200

20%

TOTAL

1000

100%

 

Scale

A

B

C

D

F

900-1000

800-899

700-799

600-699

0-599

 

Tentative Course Schedule

This schedule is subject to change. Should there be a significant change in the schedule, you will receive advance notification and an opportunity to negotiate an agreed-upon compromise.

 

Topic/Screening

Due

Mon, 12 Jan

Course Introduction and Overview

 

Tue, 13 Jan

The Gleaners and I (2000) and The Gleaners and I Two Years Later (2002)

 

Wed, 14 Jan

Course Introduction and Overview

 

Mon, 19 Jan

Pre- and Early Cinema

Read:   Barnouw, ch 1
Williams

Tue, 20 Jan

Edison, Lumieres, Melies, etc. Short Films

 

Wed, 21 Jan

Pre- and Early Cinema

 

Mon, 26 Jan

Aesthetic Film History

Read:   Allen & Gomery
Kracauer

Tue, 27 Jan

Canceled (due to weather)

 

Wed, 28 Jan

Gender in Early Film

 

Mon, 2 Feb

Caligari as Experimental Film

Read:   Barnouw, ch 2
Ruby

Tue, 3 Feb

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919) and Nanook of the North (1922)

 

Wed, 4 Feb

Documentary Grammar and the Subject

 

Mon, 9 Feb

European Avant-Gardes: Formalism and Surrealism

Read:   Bordwell & Thompson
Ruoff

Tues, 10 Feb

Ballet Mecanique (1924), Regen (1929), Man with a Movie Camera (1929), Un Chien Andalou (1929), and Las Hurdes (1933)

 

Wed, 11 Feb

European Avant-Gardes: Formalism and Surrealism

Last Day to Submit Drafts for Feedback by 25 Feb.

Mon, 16 Feb

European Avant-Gardes: Pure Cinema and The City Symphony

Read:   Nichols
Thomas
Morris
Canemaker

Tue, 17 Feb

Opus I (1921), Spiritual Constructions (1927), Composition in Blue (1935), Allegretto (1936), Motion Painting No. 1 (1947), Berlin: Symphony of a City (1927)

 

Wed, 18 Feb

European Avant-Gardes: Pure Cinema and The City Symphony

Last Day to Submit Contribution to Midterm Exam

Mon, 23 Feb

North American Avant-Gardes and Their Influences

 

Tue, 24 Feb

Fall of the House of Usher (1928), Rose Hobart (1936), Blood of a Poet (1930), Meshes of the Afternoon (1943), At Land (1944), A Study in Choreography for the Camera (1945), Ritual in Transfigured Time (1946),

Read:   Treasures
Sitney
Cornell websites

Wed, 25 Feb

North American Avant-Gardes

 

Mon, 1 Mar

Newsreels, Propaganda, and Military Film

Read:   Barnouw

Tue, 2 Mar

Inside Nazi Germany (1938), Why We Fight (1943), San Pietro (1945), The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl (1993)

 

Wed, 3 Mar

Midterm Exam

First Paper Due

Mon, 8 Mar

Spring Recess

Tue, 9 Mar

Wed, 10 Mar

Mon, 15 Mar

Canceled (due to illness)

Read:   Hebard

Tue, 16 Mar

Canceled (due to illness)

 

Wed, 17 Mar

Authenticity and Atrocity

 

Mon, 22 Mar

Psycho-Dramas and Trance Films

Read:   Sitney

Tue, 23 Mar

Night and Fog (1955), Shoah (1985), Fireworks (1947), Eaux díArtifice (1953), Kustom Kar Kommandos (1965)

 

Wed, 24 Mar

Psycho-Dramas and Trance Films

 

Mon, 29 Mar

Neo-Realism and Docudramas

Read:   Pacifici
Clarke

Tue, 30 Mar

Open City (1945), The Connection (1962)

 

Wed, 31 Mar

 

 

Mon, 5 Apr

In-Class Workshop

 

Tue, 6 Apr

No Screening

 

Wed, 7 Apr

The American New Wave

 

Mon, 12 Apr

Cinema Verite

Read:   Winston
Wiseman

Last Day to Submit Drafts for Feedback by 14 Apr

Tue, 13 Apr

High School (1969), Gimme Shelter (1970)

 

Wed, 14 Apr

In-Class Screening: No Lies(1975)

Read:   Sobchak

Wed, 14 Apr

In-Class Screening: No Lies (1975)

 

Mon, 19 Apr

Beat, Modernist, and Structuralist Traditions

Read:   Metz

Last Day to Submit Drafts for Feedback by 26 Apr

Tue, 20 Apr

A Movie (1958), Catís Cradle (1959), Pull My Daisy (1959), Hold Me While Iím Naked (1966), Blonde Cobra (1963) Wavelength (1967)

 

Wed, 21 Apr

 

Last Day to Schedule Midterm Retake and Submit Contribution to Final Exam

Mon, 26 Apr

Documentary in Transition

Read:   Conomos
Morris

Tue, 27 Apr

The Thin Blue Line (1988)

 

Wed, 28 Apr

Course Evaluations and Wrap-Up

Final Paper and Resubmits Due
Last Day to Retake Midterm

Wed, 5 May

Final Exam 6:15 PM - 8:15 PM