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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 10 hour class will explore the concepts of film analysis and criticism; with emphasis on style, form and function in the "art" of movie making. Class time will include a field trip on the fourth session for an outside film viewing (at the students expense), then  a final in-class discussion, critique and dissection of the film's use of symbolism and imagery, mythology and legend and the foreshadowing motifs used in films 


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

Field trip - outside film viewing (student will be responsible for own admission fee)

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

Outside field trip


Exam:  No

Class participation:  Yes

Demonstration of skills:  Yes