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FLM 130 — The History of Cinema Told Through Great Films: 1945–1959

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Tuesdays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Apr 2—Jun 4
Time: 6:30—9:00 pm
Drop Deadline: Apr 15
Units: 2
Tuition: $435
Instructor(s): Jonathan Crow
6:30—9:00 pm
Apr 2—Jun 4
10 weeks
Drop By
Apr 15
2 Units
Jonathan Crow
In the years immediately following World War II, much of humanity was reeling from destruction and deprivation. The horrors of the war caused filmmakers to ask stark questions about basic human goodness and the meaning of life. The Cold War brought new kinds of anxieties, particularly in America where anti-Communist witch-hunts played out against the backdrop of potential nuclear annihilation.

The postwar period might be the most fecund in the history of cinema. This course will take an in-depth look at ten great movies from this rich era. American cinema reflected the anxieties of the age in film noir, teenage melodramas like Rebel Without a Cause, and even westerns like High Noon. Abroad, Italian Neorealists rejected Hollywood-style filmmaking in films like Bicycle Thieves to reflect the grim realities of their war-ravaged country. By the end of the 1950s, French cinephiles-turned-filmmakers like François Truffaut made cinema exuberant and vital again with films like his highly autobiographical coming-of-age story, The 400 Blows. Students will learn about the filmmaker behind each movie and explore how these films broke new ground and helped give voice to the existential concerns of this era.

Students will watch assigned films outside of class. All films can be purchased or rented on DVD, and most can be streamed instantly through Netflix, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Google Play Movies, and other online providers. This course will be the first of six in a new series exploring the entire history of cinema. While these courses build upon one another, each one can be taken independently as well.

Jonathan Crow, Writer; Filmmaker

Jonathan Crow received an MFA in filmmaking from the California Institute of the Arts, along with an MA in Japanese studies from the University of Michigan. He worked in the Hollywood industry for a dozen years as a writer and editor, during which time he wrote, researched, and produced for Declassified, a documentary series on the History Channel. Later, as an editor for Yahoo Movies, he interviewed numerous filmmakers and covered cinema from around the world.

Textbooks for this course:

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