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FLM 11 — Dream State: California in the Movies

Quarter: Summer
Day(s): Thursdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jun 24—Aug 26
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Jun 26
Units: 2
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $435
Instructor(s): Mick LaSalle
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Registration opens May 17, 8:30 am (PT)
Live Online(About Formats)
7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Jun 24—Aug 26
10 weeks
Refund Date
Jun 26
2 Units
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
Mick LaSalle
Registration opens May 17, 8:30 am (PT)
This course, based on Mick LaSalle’s new book of the same name, isn’t a history of the film business in California, but rather about the California ideal as depicted in movies, and about California ideas that, through movies, have made their way into the culture. The California ideal is one of material splendor, glamour, youth, and youthfulness, and it can create, within viewers, a sense of longing so intense that it can feel spiritual. Yet there is a dark side—spiritual emptiness and isolation, heinous crime, natural disaster, and nihilistic cruelty as depicted in film noir.

Over ten weeks, this course will explore California notions of fame (A Star Is Born), utopia (Monterey Pop), crime (Psycho), natural disaster (San Andreas), the glorious past (San Francisco), and romance (Cherish). It will show how The Wizard of Oz is the ultimate film about the film business, and how and why California has been the dominant cultural trendsetter for the past 100 years. Students will come away with a rich understanding of the meaning of California, both in movies and in American life.

Students will be expected to watch a full-length film outside of class time each week. All films can be rented or streamed instantly through online platforms.

Film Critic, Hearst Newspapers

Mick LaSalle is the film critic for the San Francisco Chronicle and the author of four books about film: Complicated Women, Dangerous Men, The Beauty of the Real, and the newly published Dream State: California in the Movies.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.