Four Semesters (Fall, Spring and Fall, Spring)
Core Requirements 16 credits (cr)
COM FT 520: TV Theory and Criticism
This course will set aside evaluative considerations of TV in favor of theoretical and critical approaches that challenge widespread assumptions about the medium and expand our understanding of its role in our lives. Such approaches include, but are not limited to, critical political economy, cultural studies, semiotics, genre theory, and narrative theory. Students will emerge from the course with a thorough understanding of how to perform television-focused research and analysis. As students discover the critical and theoretical foundations of the study of television, they will learn how to apply those foundations to crucial developments in television (in their midterm exam) and to expound upon them (in the form of a scholarly final paper). Undergrad Pre-req FT 303
COM FT 722: American Masterworks
Subjects vary with instructor. Directors include: D.W.Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, King Vidor, Frank Borzage, Victor Fleming, Howard Hawks, Frank Capra, Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, John Huston, Elia Kazan, George Cukor, Orson Welles, Robert Altman, John Cassavetes, and Woody Allen.
- Two Electives (8 cr)
COM FT 536: Film Theory and Criticism
An introduction to classical and contemporary film and media theory. Topics include montage theory, realism, structuralism, post-structuralism, semiotics, psychoanalysis, phenomenology, and cultural studies. The course includes screenings of films that have contributed to critical debate and those that challenge theoretical presuppositions.
COM FT 721: International Masterworks
An eclectic and unsystematic survey of a small number of the supreme masterworks of international film created by some of the greatest artists of the past eighty years. The focus in on cinematic style. What does style do? Why are certain cinematic presentations highly stylized? What is the difference from realistic, representational work? We will consider the special ways of knowing, thinking, and feeling that highly stylized works of art create and devote all of our attention to the function of artistic style and form to create new experiences and ways of thinking and feeling.
- Two Electives (8 cr)
- Four Electives (16 cr)
- Four Electives (16 cr) *Students are advised to enroll in 8 thesis credits.*
Curriculum Offerings of non-required courses
These courses are not offered every semester.
COM FT 500: Writing Film Criticism
This course examines the art of film and television criticism and gives students extensive practice in writing about film and TV in a way that balances informed, insightful analysis and lively writing. Students write several film and TV reviews, each covering a different type of film or TV show, as well as a longer think piece. Students will review films currently playing in local theaters and TV shows currently available on broadcast, cable or other internet platforms, such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and the like. Key critics discussed include James Agee, Andrew Sarris, Pauline Kael, Roger Ebert, Emily Nussbaum, Matt Zoller Seitz, Anthony Lane, Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott.
COM FT 533: American Independent Film
A survey of cinema from the past three decades originating outside of the studio system. Though the screening list changes from semester to semester, filmmakers to be dealt with include Elaine May, Barbara Loder, John Cassavetes, Robert Kramer, Mark Rappaport, and Charles Burnett, among others.
COM FT 549: The Profane
Explores a wide variety of topics concerning censorship, feminist theory, feminism, psychoanalytical theories, pornography, voyeurism, repression, homosexuality, rape, body image, and national identities as exemplified through a large selection of films considered "Profane"/scandalous/ "X-rated", touching upon uncanny regions in which one is "never at home". Further discussion will include an examination of the cultural and historical factors that serve as background for the themes explored and presented in the selected films.
COM FT 550: Scandinavian Cinema
This course traces the major discourses that have developed around the Dogme'95 movement. The major focus of this class is to study the work, vision, influences and contribution of Lars Von Trier to the New Scandinavian Cinema and its assorted practitioners. We will attempt to perceive and critique Von Trier's vision as a site for understanding cultural dynamics of European and American Societies. The course is organized chronologically to structure and present the development of both Trier's work and evolvement of the Dogme 95' movement. Some of the readings are assigned around those concerns.
COM FT 560: The Documentary
Surveys the history of the documentary and the changes brought about by the advent of television. Examines the outlook for the documentary idea in national and international markets. Periodic highlighting of special areas such as the portrayal of war, historical events, drama-documentary, and propaganda. Students develop critical and professional skills. Lectures, screenings, discussions.
COM FT 563: French New Wave
Studies the great 1960s movement in filmmaking that has stayed forever fresh and challenging and has influenced all filmmaking since. The class will view and discuss films of Resnais, Malle, Truffaut, Godard, Chabrol, Rohmer, Varda, and others. We will consider the directors' innovative production practices and film styles, their attitude to their times and to life in general, and what their films finally achieve as works of art. We will talk about this movement's influence and what has developed out of it. Readings will include writings by the filmmakers, many of whom were prolific as film critics and theorists.
COM FT 567: Film Styles
"Style" is a term that crops up routinely in discussions of film, but does it really mean anything? Through the careful study of a broad variety of films, we will compile a catalog of stylistic components which critic and filmmaker alike can use to think more clearly about this slippery concept. How does one create a style? How does style influence narrative? What tools does a director use to create a distinctive style? Using feature films and film clips, this course will answer these and other questions about film style.
COM FT 569: Holocaust on Film
Holocaust on Film examines the aesthetics of filmic texts which place the experience of the Holocaust at the center of their investigation.
American Independent Film
Three Masters: Ozu, Dreyer, Bresson
The French New Wave
New Scandinavian Cinema
Holocaust on Film
Third World Cinema
Introduction to Screenwriting for Non-Screenwriters
Introduction to Video Art
History of the Avant-garde (4 survey courses; sequence not required)
The City in Film
The Cinema of Stanley Kubrick
The World of David Lynch
Italian-American: Coppola and Scorsese
Noir and Neo-Noir
The Films of Alfred Hitchcock
African American Representation
American Film in the Sixties
American Film in the Seventies
Gender and Horror
Antonioni and Bergman
Bresson and Tarkovsky
Four Non-fiction Filmmakers
Creative Non-fiction Film
Women and Film
Pasolini, Sembene, Akerman, Kiarostami
The Cinema of Michael Haneke
Polish Cinema: Wadja, Polanski and Keislow
It Came From Canada: The Films of David Cronenberg
Renoir and Buñuel
Classical Hollywood Romantic Comedies and Melodramas
The Hollywood Blacklist
Uncensored TV: Original Programming on Cable Television
Some courses have prerequisites which are not listed above. All Film & Television requirements, prerequisites and course descriptions are listed on the Boston University Academics website.