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FLM 74 — The Great Directors and Their Signature Films

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Thursdays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jan 18—Mar 22
Time: 6:30—9:00 pm
Drop Deadline: Jan 31
Units: 2
Tuition: $460
Instructor(s): Mick LaSalle
Status: Open
6:30—9:00 pm
Jan 18—Mar 22
10 weeks
Drop By
Jan 31
2 Units
Mick LaSalle
In their reviews, most film critics write a lot about script and performance, but when it comes to direction, they usually write one of two things: “The movie was directed at a good pace,” or “The direction was sluggish.” The reason? Too many critics, like most members of the public, have no idea what a movie director actually does. Yet the signature of some directors is so unmistakable that one need watch only a few moments of a movie to know who made it.

In this course, we will go on an exploration of the film director’s art. A signature film is one by which we can know a director’s strengths, obsessions, and world view. It is the gateway into a director’s consciousness, and examples range from the humane wistfulness of François Truffaut (Day for Night) to the ornate decadence of Josef von Sternberg. Films by Agnès Jaoui and James Gray will also be explored, with an emphasis on how directors achieve their effects and convey meaning. And finally, we will delve into what constitutes great direction.

Mick LaSalle, Film Critic, Hearst Newspapers

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

Textbooks for this course:

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