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Action and adventure with a Feminist twist

Course requirements – read carefully and remember always!

  • Students are expected to attend all meetings of each class in which they are enrolled as described in the MICA schedule of classes. Unexcused absences from as few as three class meetings may result in a failing grade. Students must be present at each session from start to finish, and classes will always start on time.
  • Students must complete all reading assignments in a timely way and participate in class discussions.
  • Each student must keep a journal during the course, comprising at least one page – in a 12-point font with no more than two lines of heading – per week. This is the equivalent of a short paper each week, in which you respond to one or more aspects of that week’s course material: the reading, the film, the lecture, the class discussion. Of these, the reading is most important – refer to it specifically as often as possible. Do not turn in your class notes as a substitute – this is an academic journal, meant to record what you are learning and thinking with regard to the course on a weekly basis. Journals must be printed by computer, not written by hand.
  • Due dates: Journals are due in two installments. Entries for the first seven weeks must be submitted on October 9. They will be returned with a midterm grade. Entries for the remaining weeks are due in class on December 11. No journal entry is required for December 11 since journals are due on that day.
  • Grades for all students will be based primarily on the writing required each week, secondarily on attendance and participation.
  • Graduate students enrolled in this course should consult with the professor during the first week of class to discuss the higher level of expectation and work required for graduate credit.

Journal rules and guidelines – please read carefully and remember always:

The point of the journal is to show that you are engaging with each week’s subject matter, demonstrating knowledge of the pertinent film material and topics considered in class discussions and reading assignments. It must contain at least a page (as detailed above) on each week’s subject matter, demonstrating knowledge of the pertinent film material, topics considered in class discussions, and subjects covered in the reading assignments. You can’t cover all aspects of the week in a page, so be selective. You must refer frequently to the reading, however. You are welcome and encouraged to include material suggested by reading and film viewing outside class, but such material must be relevant to this course.

Week 8 – October 23

Topic: Indie cinema

Lecture and discussion: Female filmmaking outside the male-dominated studio system.

Reading: Dixon & Foster, pp. 359-380

Jemma Desai, “Jemma Desai in conversation with Claudia Weill.” ICA (17

April 2014)

Monika Bartyzel, “Girls on Film: Girlfriends, the most influential film about

female friendship you’ve never heard of.” The Week (25 April 2014)

Screening: Girl Friends aka Girlfriends – Claudia Weill, USA, 1978


Week 9 – October 30

Topic: Action and adventure with a Feminist twist

Lecture and discussion: Female stars, female screenwriter, male director. Sneakingprogressive politics into popular entertainment.

Reading: Dixon & Foster, pp. 385-399

Sturken, Thelma & Louise

Screening: Thelma & Louise – Ridley Scott, USA/UK/France, 1991


Part 3 – Movements and styles in international cinema

Week 10 – November 6

Topic: Italian neorealism

Lecture and discussion: The quest for reality in fiction film. The neorealist aesthetic in

historical, geographical, and political context.

Reading: Dixon & Foster, 159-161, 168-171

Stuart Klawans, “Seeing Clearly Through Tears: On the Smart Sentiment of

Umberto D.The Current (5 September 2012)

Screening: Umberto D. – Vittorio De Sica, Italy, 1952


Week 11 – November 13

Topic: The French New Wave and the Left Bank Group

Lecture and discussion: La Nouvelle Vague and new directions in cinematic style.

Reading: Dixon & Foster, 239-255

Jonathan Romney, “One Sings, the Other Doesn’t.” Film Comment (31 May 2018)

Screening: One Sings, the Other Doesn’t aka L’Un chante, l’autre pas – Agnès Varda,

Venezuela/France/Belgium, 1977


Week 12 – November 20

Topic: The British New Wave

Lecture and discussion: England’s Free Cinema movement and its influence. Social

issues, class consciousness, and kitchen-sink aesthetics.

Reading: Dixon & Foster, 264-269

Coldstream, Victim

Screening: Victim – Basil Dearden, UK, 1961


Week 13 – November 27

Topic: Spainish and Latin-American cinema

Lecture and discussion: Surrealism.

Reading: Dixon & Foster, pp. 208-209

Michael Wood, “Viridiana: The Human Comedy.” The Current (23 May 2006)

Screening: Viridiana – Luis Buñuel, Spain/Mexico, 1961


Week 14 – December 4

Topic: Transnational cinema

Lecture and discussion: Challenging stereotypes. Chinese tradition intersects with

Western culture in an Asian-American movie.

Reading: Dixon & Foster, pp. 399-405

Elisabetta Marino, “When East Meets West: A Sweet and Sour Encounter in

Ang Lee’s The Wedding Banquet.” Postcolonial Text vol. 1 no. 2 (2005)

Screening: The Wedding Banquet aka Xi yan – Ang Lee, Taiwan/USA, 1993



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