ENGL 376 Fall 2014 Silent Film

Cross Listed as COMP376, AMST376
For many contemporary filmgoers, the silent era represents a cinematic Dark Ages in which the lack of sound and spectacular special effects makes its films seem quaint or primitive. Yet silent cinema represents an era of unparalleled transformation in which structures of narrative and the language of visual representation were virtually re-invented to meet the needs and the potentialities of a new medium, and the very relationship between art and entertainment was re-defined, producing hundreds of films that are the aesthetic equal of any contemporary work. The absence of synchronous sound allowed silent cinema a visual freedom that fostered forms of artistic experimentation unattainable in sound cinema, leading some aestheticians to proclaim the artistic superiority of silent cinema. In this course we will survey classic narrative films by such directors as D. W. Griffith, Erich von Stroheim, and Abel Gance; stars of silent cinema such as Greta Garbo, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and Rudolph Valentino; the flowering of American silent comedy in the work of Chaplin and Keaton; the creation of exciting new modes of political art by Eisenstein, Pudovkin, Vertov, and other directors of Soviet montage cinema; expressionist, surrealist, and other avant-garde work by such filmmakers as Murnau, Dulac, Man Ray, Buñuel, and Dreyer; and brilliant silent films by major directors better known for their sound films, such Ernst Lubitsch, Yasujiro Ozu, and Alfred Hitchcock. Films will be regularly accompanied by readings in aesthetic and film theory.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: regular class participation, two 5- to 7-page papers, and a final examination
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Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: a 100-level ENGL course, or a score of 5 on the AP English Literature exam, or a score of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB English exam.
Enrollment Preference: ENGL and COMP Majors
Department Notes: satisfies either English Literary History C OR English Criticism requirement
Material and Lab Fees:
Distribution Notes: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under ENGL or COMP; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under AMST
Divisional Attributes: Division I
Other Attributes: ENGL Criticism Courses,ENGL Literary Histories C
Enrollment Limit: 20
Expected Enrollment: 18
Class Number: 1648
ENGL 376 - 01 (F) SEM Silent Film Division 1: Languages and the Arts Stephen J. Tifft
W 1:10 PM-3:50 PM Stetson 508 1648
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