ENGL 254
Catastrophe/Apocalypse: The Movie Fall 2023
Division I
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

The film industry has always appreciated the visual and dramatic possibilities of catastrophe, and given that the apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic sensibility seems to be everywhere in our culture, being plugged into the zeitgeist might at this point necessarily entail a familiarity with the tropes and assumptions of this subgenre. This course will consider the ways in which such films model for us those moments when our expectations and/or actions collide with the devastating realities of our physical world and/or political situation. How do we measure loss when loss occurs at the upper end of the human scale? How do we consider collectively, in either secular or metaphysical terms, the issue of our own complicity in–if not responsibility for–disaster? Films to be studied will include Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men, Jordan Peele’s Get Out, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, Lorene Scafaria’s Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Jeff Nichols’ Take Shelter, Armando Iannucci’s The Death of Stalin, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s 28 Weeks Later, Bruce McDonald’s Pontypool, Yoshiro Nakamura’s Fish Story, and Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 30
Expected: 30
Class#: 1825
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Three short papers and in-class presentations
Prerequisites: an introductory film course or permission of the instructor
Enrollment Preferences: English majors
Distributions: Division I
Attributes: ENGL Literary Histories C

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