ENGL 291: Film as Literature

Citrus College Course Outline of Record

Citrus College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Fall 2022
Credits: 3
Total Contact Hours: 54
Lecture Hours : 54
Lab Hours: 0
Hours Arranged: 0
Outside of Class Hours: 108
District General Education: C2. Humanities
Transferable to CSU: Yes
Transferable to UC: Yes - Approved
Grading Method: Standard Letter

Catalog Course Description

An introduction to film as literature, this course is designed to give students an understanding of the application of literary analysis to film. 54 lecture hours.

Course Objectives

  • apply the techniques of literary analysis to the study of film
  • describe the basic processes and techniques of film production
  • explain how a film communicates meaning through various cinematic, cultural, and genre codes
  • discuss how film both reflects and shapes the culture in which it is produced and consumed
  • evaluate works of cinematic art from a variety of perspectives

Major Course Content

  1. Introduction to Film and the Film Making Process
    1. Formalist Criticism
      1. Objectivity in Analysis
      2. Screening: Steven Spielberg’s Duel
  2. Standard Thematic Elements
    1. Plot
      1. Historical Criticism
      2. Screening: Roman Polanski's Chinatown
    2. Character
      1. Gender Criticism
      2. Screening: Elia Kazan's A Streetcar Named Desire
    3. Setting
      1. Cultural Criticism
      2. Screening: George Lucas’ American Graffiti
    4. Point of View
      1. Screening: Orson Welles' Citizen Kane
  3. Standard Cinematic Elements
    1. Mise-en-scene
      1. Screening: William Wyler's The Best Years of our Lives
    2. Montage
      1. Psychoanalytical Criticism
      2. Screening: John Frankenheimer’s Gran Prix
    3. Sound Design
      1. Screening: Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation
  4. Adaptation
    1. Screening: Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca
  5. Motifs and Symbols
    1. Screening: Nicholas Roeg's Walkabout
  6. The Concept of Genre
    1. Mythological/Archetypal Criticism
    2. Screening: Fred Zinnemann's High Noon
  7. Generic Transformation
    1. Screening: Robert Altman's McCabe & Mrs. Miller
  8. Rendering
    1. Objective Rendering: Documentary
      1. New Historical Criticism
      2. Screening: Martin Scorcese’s The Last Waltz
    2. Subjective Rendering: Animation
      1. Screening: George Dunning’s Yellow Submarine
  9. The Concept of National Cinema
    1. The Cultural Context of Film
      1. Marxist Criticism
      2. Screening: Guiseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradisio
    2. Film Theory and Criticism
      1. Screening: Federico Fellini's 8 1/2

Suggested Reading Other Than Required Textbook

Film criticism and discussions of literary theory available online and in the library.

Examples of Required Writing Assignments

Write a 1000-word deductive essay that analyzes the portrayal of women within Roman Polanski's "Chinatown."

Examples of Outside Assignments

Over an 18 week presentation of the course, three hours per week are required for each unit of credit. Two hours of independent work done out of class are required for each hour of lecture. Students will be required to complete the following types of assignments outside of the regular class time:
Study outside criticism related to "Citizen Kane." Answer questions about Hitchcock's adaptation of the novel "Rebecca." Read required materials related to "Cinema Paradisio." Write essays, research papers, lab reports, or journals about the experience of viewing the films listed on the course outline.
DEGREE APPLICABLE COURSE: 2 hours of independent work done out of class per each hour of lecture or class work, or 3 hours lab, practicum, or the equivalent, per unit.

Instruction Type(s)

Lecture, Online Education Lecture

IGETC Area 3: Arts and Humanities

3B. Humanities