ART 201: History of Motion Pictures 1945-Present

Citrus College Course Outline of Record

Citrus College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Fall 2023
Credits: 3
Total Contact Hours: 54
Lecture Hours : 54
Lab Hours: 0
Hours Arranged: 0
Outside of Class Hours: 108
Total Student Learning Hours: 162
District General Education: C1. Arts
Transferable to CSU: Yes
Transferable to UC: Yes - Approved
Grading Method: Standard Letter

Catalog Course Description

An introductory course providing an overview of motion picture history from 1945 to the present. The historically significant thematic developments in world cinema are analyzed in a technical and production context. 54 lecture hours.

Course Objectives

  • Analyze both the technical elements of film and how these elements are deployed in the works of historically significant filmmakers in terms of Hollywood vs. non Hollywood style.
  • Explain the development of critical theories of film scholarship in terms of a sociological topic of study and as an art form.
  • Demonstrate skills necessary in utilizing research materials, covering a subject of filmic historical consequence.
  • Analyze the development of different national cinemas, their innovations and influence.

Major Course Content

  1. Pre World War II
    1. The classic Hollywood style -- a technical analysis.
    2. The non-Hollywood style -- Jean Renoir
  2. The Rise of Italian Neo-Realism
    1. The development of Italian film before 1945
    2. Open City and the appearance of neo-realism -- thematic and technical innovations
    3. The influence of neo-realism in America -- film noir
  3. The Japanese Response to Neo-Realism
    1. Kurosawa -- humanistic themes and the uses of montage
    2. Ozu -- traditional/conservative themes and techniques
  4. The Fifties in America -- Social Realism, The Rise of Television
    1. On the Waterfront
    2. Anatomy of a Murder
  5. The French New Wave
    1. Renais -- non-continuous narrative
    2. Goddard -- the logical extension of neo-realism
    3. The development of the auteur theory -- personal cinema, the breakup of the studio system
  6.   Auteur Directors and Producers
    1. Robert Altman -- The working Hollywood Auteur
    2. Francis Ford Coppola and Steven Spielberg -- the auteur director/producer
    3. Michael Cimino and the fall of the Hollywood AuteurReaction
  7.  Auteur Backlash:  The Sequel and Low Budget Horror
  8. Independent, International and Art House Films
    1. Independent filmmakers such as the Coen Brothers and Quentin Tarantino
    2. International and Art House films -- such as Chariots of Fire and The Gods Must be Crazy
  9. New Approaches to Film Criticism
    1. Structuralism
    2. Semiotics and cinema

Suggested Reading Other Than Required Textbook

Research for assigned papers which could mean articles, books or online materials that the student would access on his/her own. Materials dispersed in class (assigned articles, etc.) or online materials linked to on the course website. An example might be visiting a website like this This website is a collection of links to articles about sound in the silent cinema and essays by theorists about the use of sound and its effect. Students could be assigned a short research paper or discussion on the many topics found here.

Examples of Required Writing Assignments

View "Double Indemnity." Prepare a short paper where you describe both the noir techniques at work as well as any other sentiments at work in this film that resonate with the period in which it was made. What are some of the visual differences you have observed between a French New Wave film (such as Breathless/A Bout a Souffle) and a classical Hollywood film of the same period of your choice (such as North By Northwest or Anatomy of a Murder). Think in terms of framing, movement and figure expression and movement.

Examples of Outside Assignments

View required films. Read required materials. Write essays and research papers. Answer questions. An example of an actual assignment that would encompass these tasks: View Le Weekend. How does this film struggle with the issues of realism and modernism? This assignment could be used to stimulate a discussion about the film's influence sociologically.

Instruction Type(s)

Lecture, Online Education Lecture

IGETC Area 3: Arts and Humanities

3A. Fine Arts