This is a course in writing unconventional screenplays, singular film scripts that not only take innovative forms but also tell stories not often found in established film and media production. We will read from an international selection of screenplays, examine clips from unconventional films, and address questions of representation, inclusion, and the work of writing underrepresented characters and untold narratives for the screen. "Untold" signifies in two ways: it can mean boundless or limitless, and it can refer to a narrative that is not yet recounted. We are witnessing the beginnings of a film and media renaissance, with new works emerging and evolving that tell stories not commonly told and take innovative forms that can surprise, edify, delight, and enrich us. We will write screenplays for such works, starting with an appreciation for established forms and conventions of screenwriting, and pushing to expand the boundaries of what stories films can tell, and how. UNDERGRADUATE FILM STUDIES CERTIFICATE CATEGORY: IV, V FILM STUDIES MAJOR CATEGORY: E
This course is an introductory workshop in 16mm single-camera filmmaking, linear editing, and film projection intended for students interested in pursuing further creative production and coursework in film, especially toward completion of the Major or Certificate in Film Studies. Because the skills utilized in analog filmmaking can build upon but are in part discrete from those learned in video production, most students will have prior experience with photography or videography, though this is not strictly required. Creative work is complemented by a rigorous selection of readings and screenings. Exploration of technological possibilities to broaden student creativity will be emphasized, and the development of personal vision and style will be stressed.

If the cinema is a deeply collaborative artform, what can we learn about a film, or a set of films, by considering the director as an “auteur,” a single creative vision guiding all aspects of the filmmaking process?  In this class, we will study the work Alfred Hitchcock in the context of cinema in the early-to-mid-twentieth century.  Hitchcock’s prolific career exerts a profound influence on the history of cinema and on filmmaking, television, and pop-culture today.  From his origins and early career in Britain, to his move to Hollywood where his thrillers earned him the moniker “Master of Suspense,” to the success of his television projects, Hitchcock pushed against—and past—limits of censorship, filmmaking techniques, and the conventions of both film narrative and of moviegoing culture, cultivating along the way his distinctive “Hitchcockian” style and cinematic sensibility. We will explore a selection of works from Hitchcock’s filmography, contextualize his work in film history, address the dark aspects of his character and career, and examine auteur theory, its value, and its limits. 

CW: Hitchcock’s films involve themes of rape, murder, abduction, abuses of power, and often-disturbing attitudes toward race (such as use of blackface).  

Be part of the audience at the 31st annual Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival, attending to the film introductions by Five Colleges faculty, engaging with the films and media programed around this year’s theme and participating in Q&A sessions following the screenings for events with filmmakers or other guests.  We will have weekly posts on the colloquium in Moodle for each event drawing on introductions, films, and Q&As with guests.  The festival theme this season is “Peace/War,” bringing together an international program of documentary, feature, animation, and experimental films, from Ukraine, Sudan, South Korea, Nepal, the former East Germany, Colombia, Romania, the Basque country, Catalonia, Italy, France, and Germany that offer ample room for dialogue. The films this season address themes of community-building and personal or political solidarity with those oppressed in dictatorial regimes, alliances for social justice, environmental advocacy, and other endeavors to achieve peace or confront violence and injustice. 

The Western is one of the oldest of film genres. Usually considered the first Western movie, The Great Train Robbery, released in 1903, is arguably the film that established cinema as a commercial industry of formidable potential. From its earliest instances the Western has been a key cultural expression of the American mythos and has played an integral role in the formation of American identity. We can look at the Western as a cultural form rich in themes concerning: the construction of gender identity; racial politics; the establishment of social order in conflict with the lure of frontier self-determination; the romance of the outlaw; narratives of redemption; vigilante retribution versus the rule of law; human resiliency in and conquest of the natural world; the subjugation (or extermination) of indigenous peoples' and this is to name only an obvious few. But the Western has also been a pivotal form in the history of storytelling media in a very diverse range of nations and cultural contexts, from Japan to India to Italy to Germany to Australia to South Africa to Brazil to Mexico. This course will, on the one hand, examine the cultural history and legacy of the Western genre in the cinema of the United States. We will study iconic and revisionist examples, looking at both formal and thematic aspects of this cinema as well as its historical relationship to American identity and its social policies and politics. On the other hand, a large part of this course will focus on the Western in relation to a highly diverse range of cinema cultures throughout the world. In particular, we will study the genre's impact on, but also its inheritance from, the cinema traditions of Italy, Japan, China, India, South Korea, and nations of the Global South. This course is designed to challenge conventional understanding of the Western genre by exposing students to interdisciplinary theories oriented toward comprehending the diverse cultural, social, and political perspectives embod
Film criticism, film scholarship, filmmaking?from its inception at the turn of the millennium the video essay in its many forms offers an expanding array of creative, intellectual, and scholarly means of self-expression. In this graduate seminar, we will create videographic essays in film scholarship. What is possible when the mode of enquiry departs from the printed word and inhabits the form of the media it examines? Making a videographic essay is much like making a film, often with similarities to documentary and the essay film. As such, we will engage not only film analysis and film scholarship but also video editing, visual composition, sound design, and other aspects of moving image media. We will examine a wide array of videographic essays and explore the unique analytical and expressive opportunities the medium offers. With this foundation, we develop the critical, creative, and technical skills necessary for making effective video essays addressing films and film theory, directors, genres, national cinemas, and cultural and social issues. Open to graduate students and advanced undergraduates.
This is a history of film course focusing on what is sometimes referred to as the Golden Age of Hollywood. An in-depth examination of Classical Hollywood cinema as a distinct mode of film practice, with its own cinematic style and industrial conditions, this course will concentrate on the period from 1917 to the early 1960s. We will look at aspects of the modes of production, the stylistic practices, and the technological developments that defined this period of the Hollywood studio system (as well as during its period of decline), paying special attention to the way this preeminent form of cinema established many of the norms of the immersive film experience. Among other subjects, we will consider the development of classical continuity during the silent era, the ascent of the ?talkie,? the establishment of the vertically integrated studio system and the idea of ?house style,? the formation of various narrative genres, such as film noir, as well as the effects of such historical phenomena as the Great Depression, World War II, and McCarthyism. We will watch one or two films each week and discuss them (19 films total).