Film Minor Courses at Lehigh University: Summer/Fall 2017

For more information please contact: 
Michael Kramp

Session I

ENGL 119 The American Horror Film (4) 

(20953) This course will examine the changing shape of the modern American horror film from its inception in 1960. We will begin with the two films that inaugurated modern horror, Psycho, and Night of the Living Dead, moving through the emergence of the slasher film in the 70s and 80s (Halloween), the self-reflexive, ironic horror of the 90s (Scream), the faux-documentary horror at the end of the century (Blair Witch Project), to what seems to be the virulent renaissance of the genre in our post 9/11 world, including so-called “torture porn” (Hostel) and the resurgence of the “possession” film—of the angry, malevolent dead (Paranormal Activity). We will end with two recent films that showcase the recent (re)emergence of quality independent horror cinema. 

We will ask fundamental questions about what exactly a “horror film” is, about what we find horrifying and why, as well as particular questions about the changing shape of horror: what fears did Night of the Living Dead summon in 1968 and what very different fears does, say, Hostel embody in the early 21st century? What pleasures do viewers get from watching the always disturbing content of horror films? And what political or ideological ends do horror films serve? Do they seduce (or scare!) us into accepting the status quo? Or do they expose problems (monstrous problems) with the way the world is? 

ONLINE Keetley 

ENGL 187-10 Rock & Roll Film (4) (20098) 

The dawn of the music video in the early 1980s created a new relationship between rock and roll music and the image, but film had long recognized the potential power of rock music. This online class will consider seven prominent examples of the Rock and Roll Film—i.e. films that explicitly employ rock music and rock musicians as narrative subject matter. We will begin the class with A Hard Day’s Night (Dir. Lester, 1964) and Don’t Look Back (Dir. Pennebaker, 1967), the classic documentary of Bob Dylan’s 1962 tour of England; we will also consider the Maysles brothers’ treatment of the infamous Rolling Stones’ concert at Altamont Speedway, Gimme Shelter (Dir. Maysles, 1970), before turning our attention to the rise of the festival films such as Woodstock (Dir. Wadleigh, 1970). We will, likewise, study Jimmy Cliff’s performance in the Reggae-infused film, The Harder they Come (Dir. Henzell, 1972). With the dawn of MTV, we will turn our attention to the rise of the 1980s music star and consider David Byrne’s True Stories (Dir. Byrne, 1986) and Madonna’s Truth or Dare (Dir. Keshishian, 1991). Our central questions in the course will be (1) why rock and roll has enjoyed (and continues to enjoy) a central role in film, (2) how rock and roll functions within film, especially in terms of the promotion of the rock star and the rock legacy, and (3) how the use of rock music within film affects our understanding of the rise of MTV and the progression of music with film. 


Phil 120--Philosophy and Film

This course is an introduction to philosophical approaches to thinking about film. Thinking philosophically about a film entails exploring what a film has to say about philosophical themes or topics; discerning and describing a film's philosophical position or viewpoint; analyzing how a film conveys that position or viewpoint; speculating about how some films are able to create an overall 'philosophical effect'; and philosophizing more generally about film as a medium. Online—Reihman (4)

ENGL 187-11 Beyond Bollywood: Indian Cinema in the 21st Century (4) (20790) 

The Indian film industry churns out more movies a year than Hollywood, but it remains poorly understood by scholars and film fans outside of India. This course will introduce students to the history and conventions of commercial Indian cinema, and explore how cultural expectations shape how viewers experience narrative across cultural boundaries. Students will learn to analyze the films themselves as well as the evolving markets, distribution and consumption patterns around the films. Along the way, we will introduce students to some basic concepts in Indian culture, religion, and politics. Final projects will have a multimedia component. 


ENGL 189-12 How to Watch Movies Like a Hollywood Screenwriter (4) 

(20954) In this online course we will learn the formula of Hollywood screenwriting--including the three-act structure, character arcs, beat sheets, genres, MacGuffins, and other mainstays of blockbuster films--and then ask what that formula tells us about our national culture. We will study Hollywood adaptations of foreign films as well as adaptations of American in Hong Kong cinema hits to see how different film-making traditions reflect different cultural values. Coursework will include multiple short writing assignments as well as active participation in the online course discussion board. 

ONLINE  Whitley 

ENGL 319 Horror Film in Our Decade (4-3) 10(21345) 11(21346)

From the vantage point of time, it’s often quite easy to see what characterizes horror films of a particular decade. But how will the current decade be understood? In this course, we will undertake an intensive analysis of horror film beginning around 2010. I will choose two-thirds of the films we’ll watch in class but then you will choose the other third. We will analyze the films we watch, considering what makes a “great” horror film—one that will likely become part of the horror film canon and that promises to help define our current decade. The course will involve reading about how horror of other decades has been characterized as well as reading lists, reviews, and articles about post-2010 horror; you will produce, at the end of the course, your “Top Ten” list, with a justification of your choices. 

ONLINE Keetley 

Summer Session II

ENGL 104-12 Made to Kill : Female Violence in Popular Cinema (4) (20952)

Heroes. Monsters. Outlaws. Catsuits. This course will examine the stories that popular films tell about female perpetrators of violence. How do these representations construct, reinforce and/or challenge normative ideas about gender and violence? Films include The Hunger Games, Mad Max: Fury Road, Aliens, Carrie, and The Silence of the Lambs. The course will also introduce you to the language of film and film analysis. Readings include critical essays, contemporary reviews, and film theory. Cross-listed with WGSS 104-12 (21128) 

TR 4-7 Handler 

ENGL 189-13 Sports in Film (4) (20101) 

As sport has become a major facet of American social, political, and economic life, film has continually documented this importance of team and individual athletics to the larger workings of American culture. This course will investigate various filmic depictions of amateur and professional sports, including the emergence of the young athlete, the fanaticism of supporters, the economic and political effects of sporting competitions, and the various ways in which sports films have been used to relate and recover history. We will consider up to ten prominent sports films throughout this summer course: Victory (Dir. Huston, 1981), Bull Durham (Dir. Shelton, 1988), Bend it like Beckham (Dir. Chadha, 2002), A League of their Own (Dir. Marshall, 1992), The Natural (1984; Dir. Levinson) Hoop Dreams (Dir. James, 1994), Hoosiers (Dir. Anspaugh, 1986), Miracle (2004; Dir. O’Connor), Raging Bull (1980; Dir. Scorsese), and The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh (Dir. Moses, 1979). Our goals in the class will be to heighten our understanding of the role of sport in modern culture, study the various ways in which sport influences and responds to changing conceptions of identity and political visions of community, and improve our abilities to analyze and write about film. 


FALL 2017

ENGL 163 Introduction to Film Studies (4) (43294)

This course offers an introduction to historical, technical, aesthetic, and cultural elements of film, with a focus on analyzing film as an art form. To this end, we will watch some of the masterpieces of world cinema and study the formal features of film, including narrative organization, cinematography, mise-en-scène, editing and sound. You will develop a precise vocabulary for describing how films are constructed and learn different strategies for analyzing and interpreting films. The course will also provide an overview of film history and an introduction to contemporary filmmaking practices. 

MW 2:35-3:50/lab M 7:10-10:00 Handler 

MLL 97: Understanding Hong Kong

This course introduces Hong Kong, from its history as a vibrant British colony to its current status as a bustling territory mediating between China and the world. The learning objectives and outcomes consist not only of a knowledge of Hong Kong's significance for global commerce and culture but also of the ability to analyze primary and secondary sources as well as to conduct independent research. Course materials, which include wartime stories and autobiographical novellas, romantic comedies and martial arts films, are all available in English. MW 11:10am-12:25pm Chen

DOC 150: Introduction to Documentary Storymaking

This course is an introduction to digital documentary story making. It merges the critical study of documentary media with the hands-on construction of documentary stories waiting to be found in local communities. Working with tools of the documentary arts-video, still images, audio, writing-students will acquire the foundational skills of media production and effective story telling while absorbing and analyzing rich examples of documentary story telling over time and place. FAMS E course. Open to all majors. No prerequisites. Course is offered at Lafayette through the LVAIC program; transportation is provided.  Andy Smith M 7:00-9:50 PM

PHIL 120: Philosophy and Film

Film is no longer the newest art form - that title might belong to the emoji  - but, having been born in 1900 give or take, it is pretty new. Perhaps inevitably, as film after film was made so too the the nature of the medium was theoretically investigated.  We will be investigating, in tandem, (a) fourteen different films and (b) writings both about those films in particular and about film as such (film theory). All of your writing will be focused on particular films but you will be encouraged to bring the readings about film as such to bear on the particular films you write about. MW 11:10-12:25 Bearn

ENGL 201 Writing for Page and Screen (4) 

Page and Screen is an introductory course on the art and craft of writing for the screen. This course is designed to teach the fundamentals of good writing, but particularly how these ideas apply to a visual medium. We will focus on the art and craft of storytelling by developing and workshopping your story ideas. We will read film scripts, watch key scenes of selected films, write short assignments and workshop our own writing as we explore the key principles of story and narrative structure, character development, dialogue and conflict. At the end of the semester we will film a short section of a completed script. TR 2:35-3:50 Watts, S.

MLL 197 (1 credit)  Introduction to World Cinema

Students will attend the film festival that the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures organizes each fall.  A total of seven films in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish will be shown. A discussion led by a respondent will follow each showing. May be
repeated. Showings will be 6:00-9:00 pm on Wednesdays in October and November. Student will be asked to write a 2-3 page paper per film. Please note that since the course is offered P/F, it cannot be used to fulfill a distribution requirement. (P/F)

CHIN 297: Electric Shadows: Chinese Cinema and Culture

Students will 1) watch and discuss Chinese movies, 2) read brief articles on Chinese cinema, and 3) write short response papers that integrate primary and secondary materials. The learning objectives and outcomes include the strengthening of all four language skills—reading, writing, speaking, and listening—and a richer understanding of Chinese culture and society through a deeper appreciation of its films. The language of instruction is Chinese. MW 2:35-3:50pm Chen

MLL 231 / GERM 231 New German Cinema (4 credits)

Do you like to discuss films and explore other cultures? We will begin by watching and analyzing films by classic representatives of the so called “New German Cinema” – films by directors like Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Volker Schlöndorff, Margarete von Trotta, and Wim Wenders who first established an independent cinema in Germany after World War II. We will then move to newer, more recent productions by younger filmmakers working in Germany and Austria now – films by the Austrian director Michael Haneke, by the Turkish-German film maker Fatih Akin, as well as productions by representatives of the new Berlin School of filmmaking, such as Christian Petzold and Maren Ade. This is an interdisciplinary cinema course designed for students with an interest in film analysis and in learning about German culture through film. Films will be available in German with English subtitles. For students with a general interest in film or in pursuing a film minor, this course will be taught in English, and no prior knowledge of the German language is necessary. German majors or minors will be offered a German language segment.

MW 2:35-3:50pm Stegmann

If you are interested in the Film Studies Minor, please contact Michael Kramp (