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FLM 79 — The 1980s on Screen: Highlights from a Transformative Decade

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Thursdays
Course Format: On-campus (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jan 18—Mar 21
Time: 6:30—9:00 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Jan 20
Units: 2
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $550
Instructor(s): Mick LaSalle
Class Recording Available: No
Status: Open
6:30—9:00 pm (PT)
Jan 18—Mar 21
10 weeks
Refund Date
Jan 20
2 Units
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
Mick LaSalle
Cinema in the 1980s reflected the major transformations taking place in American cultural and political life. It was an era of political conservatism and a concomitant retrenchment in the arts. Modern versions of traditional genres gained prominence, such as action franchises and blockbusters (Back to the Future, Batman), British adaptations (A Room with a View), and neo-noir (Body Double), often rife with depictions of sex as dangerous, which grew in tandem with the deepening AIDS crisis. The decade began with the last gasp of the 1970s' Golden Age (Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull) and ended with the full flowering of independent cinema (Do the Right Thing and Sex, Lies, and Videotape).

Each week, we will review events from a single year during the 1980s and watch clips from one main film as we explore its underlying structure and themes—the Brat Pack (The Breakfast Club), buddy movies (Midnight Run), independent cinema (Stranger Than Paradise), yuppie movies (The Big Chill), unexpected hits (My Dinner with Andre), high-concept movies (Flashdance), and noir. On seven nights of the course, an entire movie will be shown, one night will consist entirely of clips, and on two nights, students will come to class for discussion and clips after having already seen a film.

Film Critic, Hearst Newspapers

Mick LaSalle is the author of Complicated Women: Sex and Power in Pre-Code Hollywood, Dangerous Men: Pre-Code Hollywood and the Birth of the Modern Man, The Beauty of the Real: What Hollywood Can Learn from Contemporary French Actresses, and Dream State: California in the Movies. He writes for the San Francisco Chronicle and other Hearst newspapers.

Textbooks for this course:

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