FLM 118 — The Evolution of Cinema as an Art Form: French New Wave, German Expressionism, and More
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Apr 3—Jun 5
Time: 6:30—9:00 pm
Drop Deadline: Apr 16
Instructor(s): Jonathan Crow
Apr 3—Jun 5
Cinema started as a gimmick and then developed into the dominant art form of the 20th century. This course will chart the transformation of cinema as an artistic medium. Shot by the Lumière brothers back in 1895, one of the first movies ever made was a static image of people streaming out of a factory. It was a landmark of technology but not a work of art. As a true art form, cinema began with early filmmakers like Georges Méliès, Alice Guy-Blaché, and Edward S. Porter, who took the Lumières’ invention and developed new, thrilling ways to visually tell stories. Then came the rise of Hollywood, with its dominant, seductive cinematic style. We will explore these Hollywood filmmakers and also those filmmakers who challenged Hollywood and molded cinema into something new. In the Soviet Union, Sergei Eisenstein took editing to unparalleled heights. In Germany, Fritz Lang and F.W. Murnau put viewers inside the minds of madmen, making, for the first time, cinema subjective. In Italy, Roberto Rossellini and Vittorio De Sica rejected Hollywood’s fantasies to better mirror grim postwar realities. And in France, Nouvelle Vague (New Wave) filmmakers like Jean-Luc Godard exploded cinematic rules and turned the medium into Modernist art. Together, we will explore the innovations of these filmmakers, and students will come away with a sense of the rich global conversation of film that started in France 123 years ago and continues to this day.
Jonathan Crow, Writer; FilmmakerJonathan Crow has worked in film production in Hollywood and Japan and has taught film at the University of Michigan, Mount St. Mary’s University, and the New York Film Academy. He has also written extensively about cinema for Yahoo! Movies, The Hollywood Reporter, Open Culture, and other publications. He received an MFA in film/video from the California Institute of the Arts and an MA in Japanese studies from the University of Michigan.
Textbooks for this course:
(Recommended) Mark Cousins, The Story of Film, 1st Edition (ISBN 978-1862059429)