“Cinema is a matter of what’s in the frame and what’s out” -Martin Scorsese
Movies are the predominant art form (and vehicle of entertainment) of the 20th and 21st centuries, and by studying them we can understand a lot about the shape of the last 120 years, historically and culturally. Additionally, movies, while incorporating aspects of many other artforms (composition, music, acting, etc.), are their own unique medium. By studying what makes movies a distinct form of artistic expression we can better understand art as a whole.
“It’s not what a movie is about, but how it is about it.” -Roger Ebert
This class will focus on analyzing narrative movies with an emphasis on form and theme. That is, what does the movie communicate, and what does it do to communicate it? It will be a class heavily focused on lively discussion, where we will talk about how composition, editing, sound, acting, movement, etc. contribute to the work. We’ll discuss all sorts of related topics, from philosophy to theology to psychology to art to criticism, or whatever else comes up over the course of conversation. The class will also serve as a brief introduction to the history of film, as we’ll be viewing movies from the past 120+ years.
Workload and Expectations: Students should expect to be required to view one feature-length movie and perhaps some short readings per week, and to contribute extensively to class discussions. The class will be held via Zoom, and students will be expected to have, to the best of their ability, video on during the class (to aid discussion). I will make sure all movie assignments are available for free or via digital rental. Students will prepare a short presentation for the last class.
Age and Content: The class is designed for high school students 15+ years old. I’ll work with parents, to the best of my ability, to make sure I’m not assigning any material they’re uncomfortable with. My strict rules for objectionable content in this class are: No R-rated movies and no nudity beyond what you would expect to see at a public pool.
As this class is largely about the study of filmmaking and form, I’ll require students to see un-altered versions of the movies we’ll be studying. “Clean” edited versions, that remove objectionable content, therefore, do not meet this requirement.
Last year this class was a great success with the following films screened. Movies in bold will definitely be used again this year. The rest might be swapped out for something else.
A Trip To The Moon (Meiles 1902)
Suspense (Weber 1913)
Sherlock Jr. (Keaton 1924)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Spielberg 1977)
Hero (Zhang 2002)
Singing in the Rain (Kelly/Donen 1952)
Vertigo (Hitchcock 1958)
Yojimbo (Kurosawa 1961)
PlayTime (Tati 1967)
The Wind Rises (Miyazaki 2013)
Spiderman: Into The Spider-Verse (Persichetti/Ramsey/Rothman 2018)
The Seventh Seal (Bergman 1957)
The Third Man (Reed 1949)
The Tree of Life (Malick 2011)
$240 per student. Twelve one hour weekly online meetings Wednesdays at 3:00pm ET beginning 9/13.
A minimum of 6 registrants are required for this class to move forward, so tell your friends!
Please contact us if you have any questions.