Introduction to Graduate Studies in Film

English 6778

Office hours (Denney 565): or email to schedule


FTC=Film Theory and Criticism | C=Carmen | F=FilmStruck | Fa=Fandor | A=Amazon | K=Kanopy | O=OSU Streaming | B=Box


Week 1

Introductions, “Primitive” Cinema


Early film from Muybridge to Porter [C]

Wed 8/22

Kracauer, “Basic Concepts,” FTC 113-25

Gunning, “An Aesthetic of Astonishment,” FTC 645-59

Crary, “Modernizing Vision” [C]

Week 2

Race & the Birth of American Cinema


Griffith, Battle of Elderbush Gulch (1913) [C]

selections from Birth of a Nation (1915) [C]

DeMille, The Cheat (1915) [A, C]

Micheaux, Within Our Gates (1919) [C]

Wed 8/29

Gunning, “Narrative Discourse and the Narrator System” FTC 340-52

Diawara, “Black Spectatorship” FTC 672-80

Higashi, “The Screen as Display Window” [C]

Gaines, “Fire and Desire” [C]

Week 3



Ozu, Tokyo Story (1953) [F, K, O]

Haneke, Code Unknown (2000) [F, K]        

Wed 9/5

Arnheim, from Film as Art FTC 207-16

Prince, “The Discourse of Pictures” FTC 70-93

Carroll, from Theorizing the Moving Images FTC 228-47

Konshak, “Space and Narrative in "Tokyo Story" [C]

Rhodes, “The Spectacle of Skepticism Haneke’s Long Takes” [C]

Week 4



Coppola, The Conversation (1974) [A, O]

Mendonça, Neighboring Sounds (2013) [Fa, O]

Wed 9/19 

Eisenstein, Pudovkin and Alexandrov, “A Statement On Sound,” FTC 256-58

Chion, from, “The Voice in Cinema” FTC 263-74

Doane, “Voice in the Cinema,” FTC 275-87

Belton, “Technology and Aesthetics of Film Sound,” FTC 288-96

Tobin, “Viewpoint, Misdirection, and Sound Design in Film: The Conversation” [C]

Brás, “O Som Ao Redor: Aural Space, Surveillance, and Class Struggle” [C]

Week 5

Classical Hollywood, Genre & the Studio System


Wilder, Double Indemnity (1944) [B; O]

Wilder, Sunset Blvd (1950) [K, F, O]

Wed 9/26

Braudy, “Genre” FTC 477-94

Altman, from Film/Genre FTC 495-514

Schrader, “Notes on Film Noir” FTC 515-25

Schatz, “The Whole Equation of the Pictures,” FTC 458-62

Christensen, “America’s Corporate Art” FTC 463-72

Bordwell, “Classical Hollywood Cinema” [C]

Manon, “Some like It Cold: Fetishism in Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity” [C]

Week 6

Auteur Theory & Its Discontents


Hitchcock, Shadow of a Doubt (1943) [B, O]

Hawks, The Big Sleep (1946) [F; O]

Wed 10/3

Sarris, “Notes on the Auteur Theory in 1962” FTC 400-03

Wollen, “The Auteur Theory” FTC 404-20

Wood, “Ideology, Genre, Auteur” FTC 526-36

Kael, “Circles and Squares” [C]

Petrie, “Alternatives to Auteurs” [C]

Begley, “‘One Right Guy to Another’: Howard Hawks and Auteur Theory Revisited” [C]

Week 7

Apparatus, Suture, Spectator(s)


Hitchcock, Rear Window (1954) [O, B]

Hitchcock ,Psycho (1960) [O, B]

Wed 10/10

Baudry, “The Apparatus” FTC 148-65

Dayan, “The Tutor-Code of Classical Cinema” FTC 89-101

Rothman, “Against ‘The System of Suture’” FTC 102-08

Metz, “Identification, Mirror” FTC 602-09

Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” FTC 620-31

Modleski, “The Master’s Dollhouse” FTC 632-44

Edelman, “Rear Window’s Glasshole” [C]

Williams, “Discipline & Distraction” [C]

Week 8



De Sica, Bicycle Thieves (1949) [F, K]

Ray, Pather Panchali (1955) [F, K, O]

Wed 10/17

Bazin, “ Ontology of the Photographic Image,” “ Myth of Total Cinema,” “De Sica” FTC 126-43

Maccabe, “Theory and Film: Principles of Realism and Pleasure” [C]

Grodal, “The Experience of Audiovisual Realism” [C]

Tomasulo, “Bicycle Thieves: A Re-reading” [C]

Sengoopta, “'The Universal Film for all of us, everywhere in the world'” [C]

Week 9

Art Cinema


Varda, Cléo de 5 à 7 (1962) [F, K, O]

Antonioni, Red Desert (1964) [F, K]

Wed 10/24

Bordwell, “Art Cinema as a Mode of Film Practice,” FTC 774-79

Deleuze, from Cinema 1 & Cinema 2 [C]

Neale, “Art Cinema as Institution” [C]

 Andrews, “Art Cinema as Institution, Redux” [C]

Conway, “Cultivating the New Wave Spectator: Cleo from 5 to 7” [C]

Restivo, “The Sublime and the Disaster” [C]

Week 10

Slashers, Final Girls, and Feminisms


Carpenter, Halloween (1978) [O]

Scott, Alien (1979) [O]

Craven, Scream (1996) [O]

Wed 10/31

Clover, from Men, Women, and Chainsaws FTC 552-62

Freeland, “Feminist Frameworks for Horror Films,” FTC 563-79

Williams, “Film Bodies,” FTC 537-51

Modleski, “The Terror of Pleasure” [C]

Pinedo, “Recreational Terror” [C]

Cherry, “Refusing to Refuse to Look” [C]

Week 11

Handheld Realities: The Rise of Digital and the Dream of Artisanal Cinema


Vinterberg, Festen (1998) [O]

Varda, Gleaners and I (2001) [O]

Wed 11/7

Belton, “The World in the Palm of Your Hand” FTC 744-56

Renov, “Documentary Disavowals and the Digital” [C]

Willis, “The Future of the Feature” [C]

King, “Matter, Time, and the Digital: Varda’s The Gleaners and I” [C]

Thomson, “Dogma 95 and the Death of Film” [C]

Week 12

Digital Spectacle and the Place of Film in 21st-Century Media Ecology


Cameron, Avatar  (2009)

Whedon, Avengers (2012)

Wed 11/14

Manovich, from The Language of New Media FTC 717-33

Whissel, “The Digital Multitude” FTC 757-76

Jenkins, “Quentin Tarantino’s Star Wars” FTC 795-807

Elsaesser, “Auteurism Today: Signature Products, Concept-Authors and Access for All: Avatar” [C]

Prince, “Immersive Aesthetics” [C]

Johnson, “Cinematic Destiny: Marvel Studios and the Trade Stories of Industrial Convergence” [C]

Week 13

Is there a Future for National Cinema?


Jia, 24 City (2008) [O, Fa]

Bi, Kaili Blues (2016) [Fa, K]

Wed 11/28

Crofts, “Reconceptualizing National Cinema(s)” FTC 860-70

Yoshimoto, “The Difficulty of Being Radical” FTC 872-84

Chow, “Film and Cultural Identity” FTC 885-92

Zhang, “Chinese Cinema and Transnational Film Studies” FTC 893-904

Wu, “Time, History, and Memory in Jia Zhangke's 24 City” [C]

Week 14

Contemporary African American Voices: A Century After Griffith


Rees, Pariah (2011) [O]

Jenkins, Moonlight (2016) [A, O]

selections from DJ Spooky, Rebirtth of a Nation (2007); Peck, I Am Not Your Negro (2017)

Wed 12/5

Gilespie, “One Step Ahead: A Conversation with Barry Jenkins” [C]

Keeling, et al., “Pariah and Black Independent Cinema Today: A Roundtable” [C]

Gates, “The Last Shall Be First: Aesthetics and Politics in Black Film and Media” [C]

Thur 12/12                   FINAL PAPER DUE 




Required Textbooks


Braudy, Leo and Marshall Cohen, eds. Film Theory and Criticism, 8th ed.  (ISBN: 0199376891).



The films text for each week must be screened independently before Wednesday’s class. Films come and go from streaming services; I will update the syllabus regularly. The different platforms for viewing films are:

O=OSU’s Secured Media Library: This is a free service through the university. When it works it is great, but compared to many commercial streaming services it is unreliable. To access, enter your OSU name.# and password and look for our class playlist.

F=FilmStruck: A partnership between Criterion and Turner Classic Movies, this service provides one of the best libraries online of classic and international film, with high quality prints of the films. I am asking all students enrolled in the class to subscribe for the duraction of the course (student rate=6 months for $39:

A=Amazon Prime: Several of you might have amazon prime subscriptions (if not, they are currently  offering a six-month trial subscription for free).

F=Fandor: a smaller, boutique platform of well-curated (mostly contemporary) independent and international titles. They have many things available you just can’t find elsewhere. They offer a 50% student discount:

K=Kanopy: streaming service for libraries and educational institutions; OSU is a subscribing institution so access is free. Sign up for an account and then connect to your OSU account.


Response Papers

Early in the term, you will be assigned two 3-4 page ‘semi-formal’ short  papers .  Each  paper  should  involve  an  interrogation  of  a  particular  topic  or  issue  of  concern, drawing on at at least one of the films and one of the readings.  Your  goal  is  to  raise  the  key  issues,  concepts,  questions  on  which  you  would  like  the  class  to  discuss.  Please  post  this  paper (as an attached Word document)  to  the  Carmen  discussion  board  for the week(s) to which are are assigned  by  2  pm  on  the  Tuesday  before  our   seminar.  Students  taking  the  course  S/U  are  only  required  to  write  one  paper.


Everyone is  responsible for reading all of your colleagues’ short papers before our seminar and posting a brief response on Carmen before class. Those posting papers will be prepared to respond to questions and ideas raised by others in the class, and the rest of the class is expected to come prepared to get the discussion started based on the posted papers.


Discussion: In class and On-line

As the above makes clear, engaged participation is a vital component of the class. You are expected to come to each class with questions and ideas about the readings and screenings. You are expected to be prepared to engage with the questions and insights of the other members of the class each day.


In addition to class discussion, there are opportunities to participate in Carmen discussions on each week’s readings and screenings ahead of and after class. These are informal discussions, of course, but they offer an opportunity to spell out questions and thoughts related to our many different readings and screenings throughout each week.


Final research paper

This ‘conference-length’ paper will focus on a particular topic that you find interesting, drawn either from our in-class screenings or a film of your own choosing that you have new ideas about as a result of our reading this term (if you are writing about a film outside of our lists, be sure to run it by me first). You paper must be built around an original argument about the film, drawing on at least one of the critical approaches we have studied during the course of the term, supplemented with additional relevant resources.


The final paper (~10-15 pages) will be due by the end of the day on Thursday, December 12th.



Regular attendance is (of course) required. Please do not take this class if you do not feel you will be able to attend every class session.



Carmen is an important component of this course, both because it will house our threaded discussions of the week’s materials and issues along with the collected short papers for the course, as outlined above--but also because it will serve as our electronic library for the course. There is also a glossary of film terms, which we will be supplementing from our discussions and readings, and a series of links, both general and specific to individual films and directors throughout the course of the term. Please suggest additional links and terms for these resources.

S/U Students

Students taking the class S/U (those enrolled in the 6###) do not have to write the final paper. All other expectations apply equally to those taking the class for a grade and those taking it S/U.

Disability  Services 

Students  with  disabilities  that  have  been  certified  by  the  Office  for  Disability  Services  will  be  appropriately  accommodated,  and  should  inform  me  as  soon  as  possible  of  their  needs.  The  Office  for  Disability  Services  is  located  in  150  Pomerene  Hall,  1760  Neil  Avenue  (292-3307,  TDD  292-0901)  

Academic  Misconduct 

All  submitted  academic  work  must  be  a  result  of  a  student͛s  own  thought,  research,  and/or  self-expression.  If  you  submit  work  purporting  to  be  your  own,  but  which  in  any  way  borrows  organization,  ideas,  wording,  or  anything  else  from  a  source  without  appropriate  acknowledgment  of  the  fact,  then  you  are  engaged  in  plagiarism.  It  is  the  responsibility  of  the  Committee  on  Academic  Misconduct  to  investigate  or  establish  procedures  for  the  investigation  of  all  reported  cases  of  student  academic  misconduct.  I  will  report  all  instances  of  alleged  academic  misconduct  to  the  committee.