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Course Title
Film Critique and Analysis - Understanding Movies - The Art of Viewing Films


Get more out of your movie watching experience!  Learn to view films with a critical eye and gain an appreciation for the art of film making. This class will explore the concepts of film analysis and criticism with emphasis on style, form and function in the art of movie making. In-class discussions, critiques and dissections will focus on a film's use of symbolism and imagery, mythology and legend as well as the foreshadowing motifs used in films. Plus, optional outside excursion once class ends for critical film viewing and analysis (this will be at the student's own expense). Individual motion pictures may/may not be shown in their entirety. Objectionable material will not be shown.


To develop a critical awareness and appreciation for the art of film making



Week 1


  • Brief history of films
  • Early film makers - the pioneers; the biz-early Hollywood
  • Styles and types of films
  • Setting the mood - titles

Week 2


  • The frame
  • Composition and design
  • Spaces and territories
  • Proxemic details

Screening - Citizen Kane - 1941

Week 3 

Film Editing and its elements

Screening - Citizen Kane - 1941

Week 4

Film clips/screenings and discussions 

Week 5

Narrative techniques

Film possible film clips -

  • The economy of a scene - Faster - 2010
  • Foreshadowing - Aliens - 1986
  • Planting - Terms of Endearment - 1983
  • Symbolism/Imagery - Schindler's List - 1993, Jurassic Park -1993
  • Motif - Leitmotif
  • Dramatic irony and juxtaposition - Godfather - 1972

Final Discussion and Wrap Up

Film Recommendations





None; except a desire to view films with a critical eye for technique and stylistic elements

Method of Instruction

Discussions and film clip viewing

Optional outside excursion once class ends for critical film viewing and analysis


Exam:  No

Class participation:  Yes

Demonstration of skills:  Yes