Contacts | Program of Study | Program Requirements | Summary of Requirements | Grading | Honors | Advising | Minor Program in Cinema and Media Studies | Courses

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Program of Study

For more than a century, and across widely different cultures, film has been a primary medium for storytelling; it has served to depict and explore the world, to engage and shape the human senses and emotions, memory, and imagination. We live in a time in which the theatrical exhibition of films to a paying public is no longer the primary venue in which motion pictures are consumed. But cinema seems to survive, even as it is being transformed by television, video, and digital media; these media, in turn, are giving rise to new forms of moving image culture.

The major in Cinema and Media Studies provides a framework within which students can approach the history of film and related media from a variety of historical, critical, and theoretical perspectives. Focusing on the study of the moving image, as well as sound, the program enables students to analyze how cinema creates meanings through particular forms, techniques, and styles; how industrial organization affects the way films are produced and received; and how the social context in which they are made and circulated influences our understanding of the medium.

At the same time, the goal is to situate the cinema and related media in broader contexts: modernity, modernism, and the avant-garde; narrative theory, poetics, and rhetoric; commercial entertainment forms and consumer culture; sexuality and gender; constructions of ethnic, racial, and national identities; and international media production and circulation.

Students graduating with a Cinema and Media Studies major will be trained in critical, formal, theoretical, and historical thinking and analysis. The program thus fosters discussion and writing skills. Students will gain the tools to approach film history as well as today's media environment within specific cultural contexts and broad transnational perspectives.

Students wishing to enter the program should consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies no later than Spring Quarter of their second year. Participation in the program must be declared to the Director of Undergraduate Studies before registration. 

Program Requirements

The major consists of twelve courses (four required courses and eight elective courses) and a BA research paper.

Required Courses

The following five courses are required:

CMST 10100 Introduction to Film Analysis: This course provides an introduction to the basic concepts of film analysis. It should be completed before other Cinema and Media Studies courses; it must be completed before other required courses. It should be completed as early as possible; it must be completed by the end of the third year.

History of International Cinema sequence CMST 28500 and 28600: This required two-quarter sequence covers the silent era (CMST 28500 History of International Cinema I: Silent Era) and the sound era to 1960 (CMST 28600 History of International Cinema II: Sound Era to 1960), as well as major characteristics and developments of each. It is typically taught in Autumn and Winter Quarters. It should be completed by the end of the third year.

CMST 29800 Senior Colloquium: In Autumn Quarter of their fourth year, students must participate in a Senior Colloquium that helps them conceptualize their BA research paper and address more advanced questions of methodology and theory.

CMST 29900 BA Research Paper: Students are required to register for CMST 29900 BA Research Paper during the term in which they plan to graduate from the College. CMST 29900 BA Research Paper is a zero credit course. Registration for CMST 29900 ensures that a thesis grade will appear on the student's transcript. While students who entered the College before Autumn Quarter 2011 are not required to register for CMST 29900 as part of the major, they are strongly urged to do so to ensure that a thesis grade appears on the transcript. Whether or not these students choose to register for CMST 29900, they must complete the BA thesis as part of the program requirements.

Elective Courses

Of the eight remaining courses, five must either originate in or be cross-listed with Cinema and Media Studies. Students must receive prior approval of the five courses that they choose, and they are encouraged to consider broad survey courses as well as those with more focused topics (e.g., courses devoted to a single genre, director, or national cinema). Members of the affiliated faculty often teach courses that meet requirements for the three elective courses; students are encouraged to consult with them when making their selections. A course agreement form to be signed by the Director of Undergraduate Studies by fourth week of Autumn Quarter of the student's third year is available on the CMS website at

Although the other three courses may be taken outside Cinema and Media Studies, students must demonstrate their relevance to the study of cinema. For example, a group of courses could focus on: traditional disciplines (e.g., history, anthropology/ethnography, philosophy, psychology, linguistics, sociology, political economy); subfields within area studies (e.g., East Asian, South Asian, African American, Jewish studies); art forms and media other than film, photography, and video (e.g., art history, architecture, literature, theater, opera, dance); or cross-disciplinary topics or sets of problems (e.g., the urban environment, violence and pornography, censorship, copyright and industry regulation, concepts of the public sphere, globalization). A form listing and explaining the choice of outside electives must be submitted to the Director of Undergraduate Studies by fourth week of Winter Quarter of the student's third year is available on the CMS website at

Note: CMS majors may not enroll in CMST 14400 Film and the Moving Image or any of the CMST 14500-14599 courses.

BA Research Paper

Before seventh week of Spring Quarter of their third year, students meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to discuss the focus of their required BA project. Students begin reading and research during the summer. By the end of fourth week of the Autumn Quarter of their fourth year, students select a project adviser and prepare to present an outline of their project to the Senior Colloquium. Writing and revising take place during Winter Quarter. The final version is due by fourth week of the quarter in which the student plans to graduate.

The BA research paper typically consists of a substantial essay that engages a research topic in the history, theory, and criticism of film and/or other media. A creative project in film or video production supplemented by an essay is sometimes an option, contingent on the approval of the faculty.

To be considered for this option, the student will submit a written proposal to the Director of Undergraduate Studies by the seventh week of Spring Quarter of the third year. Priority will be given to students who have completed three production classes (2 must originate in CMST) by the end of Autumn Quarter of their fourth year.

In addition to enrollment in CMST 29800 Senior Colloquium during the Autumn Quarter of the fourth year, students who supplement their BA thesis project with film or video work are required to enroll in the Senior Creative Thesis Workshop during the Winter Quarter of their fourth year. The Senior Creative Thesis Workshop may not be counted toward distribution requirements for the major. All students are required to register for CMST 29900 BA Research Paper during the term in which they plan to graduate from the College.

Summary of Requirements

CMST 10100Introduction to Film Analysis100
CMST 28500-28600History of International Cinema I-II200
CMST 29800Senior Colloquium100
5 elective courses in Cinema and Media Studies (courses originating in or cross listed with Cinema and Media Studies) *500
3 elective courses (courses originating in Cinema and Media Studies or elsewhere that are relevant to the study of cinema) **300
CMST 29900BA Research Paper 000
Total Units1200

A course agreement form to be signed by the Director of Undergraduate Studies by fourth week of Autumn Quarter of a student's third year is required to obtain approval of these courses.


A form to be signed by the Director of Undergraduate Studies by fourth week of Winter Quarter of a student's third year is required to obtain approval of these courses.

 Students are required to register for CMST 29900 BA Research Paper, although it carries no course credit. Students must register for CMST 29900 during the term in which they graduate from the College.


Students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies must receive a quality grade in all courses required for the major. With prior consent of instructor, non-majors may take Cinema and Media Studies courses for P/F grading.


Students who have earned an overall GPA of 3.25 or higher and a major GPA of 3.5 or higher are eligible for honors. To receive honors, students must also write a BA research paper that shows exceptional intellectual and/or creative merit in the judgment of the first and the second readers, the Director of Undergraduate Studies, and the Master of the Humanities Collegiate Division.


A course agreement form to be signed by the Director of Undergraduate Studies by fourth week of Autumn Quarter of the student's third year is required to obtain approval of the five elective courses that must either originate in or be cross listed with Cinema and Media Studies. A form to be signed by the Director of Undergraduate Studies by fourth week of Winter Quarter of the student's fourth year is required to obtain approval of the three additional elective courses. Both forms are available on the CMS website at

Minor Program in Cinema and Media Studies

The minor in Cinema and Media Studies requires the completion of six courses:

CMST 10100Introduction to Film Analysis100
CMST 28500-28600History of International Cinema I-II200
Three courses numbered 20000 or above300
Total Units600

Students are encouraged to take CMST 10100 Introduction to Film Analysis early in their undergraduate career, or at the beginning of their minor course of study. It must be taken no later than Spring Quarter of a student's third year.

Students who elect the minor program in Cinema and Media Studies must meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies before the end of the Winter Quarter of their third year to declare their intention to complete the minor and to select courses. The Director's approval of the minor program should be submitted to a student's College adviser no later than the end of Spring Quarter of a student's third year. Approval forms are obtained from the Director of Undergraduate Studies, the department website, or the College adviser.

Courses in the minor (1) may not be double-counted with the student's major(s) or with other minors; and (2) may not be counted toward general education requirements. All classes toward the minor must be taken for quality grades, and more than half of the requirements for the minor must be met by registering for courses bearing University of Chicago course numbers.

Sample Minor Program in Cinema and Media Studies

CMST 10100Introduction to Film Analysis100
CMST 28500History of International Cinema I: Silent Era100
CMST 28600History of International Cinema II: Sound Era to 1960100
CMST 23404French Cinema of the '20s and '30s100
CMST 24701Left-Wing Art and Soviet Film Culture of the 1920s100
CMST 25201Cinema and the First Avant-Garde, 1890-1933100

For the most up-to-date listing of Cinema and Media Studies courses, please visit the Courses page on the Cinema and Media Studies website, at

Cinema and Media Studies Courses

CMST 10100. Introduction to Film Analysis. 100 Units.

This course introduces basic concepts of film analysis, which are discussed through examples from different national cinemas, genres, and directorial oeuvres. Along with questions of film technique and style, we consider the notion of the cinema as an institution that comprises an industrial system of production, social and aesthetic norms and codes, and particular modes of reception. Films discussed include works by Hitchcock, Porter, Griffith, Eisenstein, Lang, Renoir, Sternberg, and Welles.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Autumn,Winter,Spring
Note(s): Required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 20000,ARTV 25300,ENGL 10800

CMST 10300. Visual Language: On Time and Space. 100 Units.

Through studio work and critical discussion on four-dimensional form, this course is designed to reveal the conventions of the moving image, performance, and/or the production of digital-based media. Basic formal elements and principles of art are presented, but also put into practice to reveal perennial issues in a visual field. Form is studied as a means to communicate content. Topics as varied as but not limited to narrative, mechanical reproduction, verisimilitude, historical tableaux, time and memory, the body politic, and the role of the author can be illuminated through these primary investigations. Some sections focus solely on performance; others incorporate moving image technology. Please check the time schedule for details. Visits to museums and other fieldwork required, as is participation in studio exercises and group critiques. Students must attend class for the full first week in order to confirm enrollment. Pink slip/wait list requests are due several weeks before the quarter begins. Sign up for the wait list at

Terms Offered: Autumn,Winter,Spring
Note(s): ARTV 10100, 10200, and 10300 may be taken in sequence or individually. This course meets the general education requirement in the arts. Previous experience in media-based studio courses not accepted as a substitute for this course.
Equivalent Course(s): TAPS 23400,ARTV 10300

CMST 14400. Film and the Moving Image. 100 Units.

This course seeks to develop skills in perception, comprehension, and interpretation when dealing with film and other moving image media. It encourages the close analysis of audiovisual forms, their materials and formal attributes, and explores the range of questions and methods appropriate to the explication of a given film or moving image text. It also examines the intellectual structures basic to the systematic study and understanding of moving images. Most importantly, the course aims to foster in students the ability to translate this understanding into verbal expression, both oral and written. Texts and films are drawn from the history of narrative, experimental, animated, and documentary or non-fiction cinema. Screenings are a mandatory course component.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Autumn,Winter,Spring
Note(s): For nonmajors, any CMST 14400 through 14599 course meets the general education requirement in the arts.

CMST 14503. Cinema in Theory and Practice. 100 Units.

The course proposes an introduction to audio-visual literacy through the analysis of films, selective readings, and short film exercises focusing on fundamental cinematic elements such as shot, framing, point of view, camera movement, editing, and relations of image and sound. Assignments will consist in in writing review sheets and a formal film analysis, and in creating three 1-3 minute single-shot movies based on the works seen and discussed in class.

Instructor(s): D. Bluher     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment. For nonmajors, any CMST 14400 through 14599 course meets the general education requirement in the arts.

CMST 14504. Film Comedy. 100 Units.

What can film tell us about comedy, and vice versa? This course investigates the comic procedures in various film forms—from silent slapstick and sophisticated comedy to screwball comedy and musical all the way to postmodern pastiche and mockumentary. Instead of treating film comedy as a self-contained genre, we will study how questions of comedy are central to the history of cinema. Readings include critical discourses about comedy, film history, and film theory, e.g., Bergson, Freud, Benjamin, Miriam Hansen, Tom Gunning, and Noel Carroll. It is often said that a joke dies when we analyze it. We will see that it in fact reincarnates, if we analyze it the right way.

Instructor(s): X. Dong     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment. For nonmajors, this course meets the general education requirement in the arts.

CMST 14507. Margins of the Medium: Text/Image. 100 Units.

In this course, we will study nineteenth- and twentieth-century visual and written texts from primarily French photographic, literary, painterly, and cinematic traditions. These thematically interrogate spatial, cultural, geographic, social, and political margins. By also examining the long-standing and often fraught historical and theoretical relationship between text and image, we will simultaneously investigate the boundaries between divergent media practices (photography, literature, film, painting) in order to question the visual, narrative, and philosophic limits of representation.

Instructor(s): J. Wild     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment. For nonmajors, this course meets the general education requirement in the arts.

CMST 14509. The Uncanny in Cinema. 100 Units.

No description available.

Instructor(s): T. Gunning     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): For nonmajors, this course meets the general education requirement in the arts.

CMST 21019. African American Cinema 1900 to 1950. 100 Units.

In this course, we will look at early African American filmmaking practices from their emergence in the 1910s, through the rise of Race film, up to the immediate post-WWII period. We will approach this body of work with regards to specific contexts of production, distribution, exhibition, and reception—but also aspects of form and aesthetics. This includes issues of representation, the politics of early Black filmmaking, Black film criticism, and intersections with Hollywood. To explore these topics, we will look at a range of film forms including theatrical, nontheatrical, religious, sponsored, educational, and various fiction genres such as comedy, melodrama, and the western. Emphasis will also be on the historiography of African American film, issues of methodology, and the possibilities and limits of the archive. Filmmakers and film companies include: William Foster, George Broome, George and Noble Johnson, Richard D. Maurice, Norman Film Manufacturing Company, Oscar Micheaux, Spencer Williams, Colored Players Film Corporation, James and Eloyce Gist, Zora Neale Hurston, and S.S. Jones.

Instructor(s): A.N. Field     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Prerequisite(s): CMST 10100, ARTH 20000, ENGL 10800, ARTV 25300, or consent of instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 31019

CMST 21110. Imagining Futures: Speculative Design and Social Justice. 100 Units.

This experimental course seeks to disrupt dominant narratives about “the future”: a monolithic concept that often comes from technologists and policymakers. Instead, we explore what alternative futures might look like when imagined by and with marginalized communities. Beginning with movements such as Afrofuturism, we will read speculative and science fiction across media, including short stories, critical theory, novels, films, transmedia narratives, and digital games. Rather than merely analyzing or theorizing various futures, this course will prepare students in hands-on methods of “speculative design” and “critical making.” Instead of traditional midterm essays and final research papers, the work of the course will consist primarily of blog responses to shared readings, coupled with short-form, theoretically-founded, and collaborative art projects. These projects will imagine alternative futures of climate change, gender, public health, finance, policing, and labor. The work will be challenging, transdisciplinary, and will blur expectations about the relationship between theory and practice at every turn. As such, it is not a course for the craven; it is a course for students who wish to explore the complexities of collaboration and the sociopolitical possibilities of art. (B, H)

Instructor(s): P. Jagoda and T. Soundararajan     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 31110,ARTV 21110,ARTV 31110,CMST 31110,TAPS 28432,TAPS 38432,ENGL 21110

CMST 21805. Chicago Film Cultures. 100 Units.

Chicago not only boasts a rich history of film production (from silent comedies to industrial, educational, student, documentary, and contemporary Hollywood filmmaking) but also has a long, significant history of film presentation.  Chicago features iconic movie palaces built downtown and in neighborhoods across the city in the 1920s.  And it is has been the site of a wide variety of film exhibition venues and film-related events that are currently thriving: festivals, conferences, workshops, lectures.  Films are screened in every type of museum (history, art, science), in large mainstream venues and in smaller, community-based and artist-run spaces.  Our own campus boasts Doc Films, the longest-running film society in the country. This course examines the conceptual and historical frameworks that have been used for presenting cinema – historical and contemporary – in the city's varied institutional and cultural contexts.  Students will study past film and current cultures in Chicago by researching particular events, venues, critics and curators, and by employing a variety of methods, including archival research, participant observation and interviews. Topics covered will include include exhibition, funding and marketing, debates on curating and film in museums, audience and fan culture studies (with attention to Chicago's particular demographic contours), national cinemas, genre, authorship and multi-media presentational modes.

Instructor(s): J. Stewart     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 31805

CMST 21806. The New Latin American Cinema and Its Afterlife. 100 Units.

This course will introduce students to Latin American film studies through an assessment of its most critically celebrated period of radical filmmaking. The New Latin American Cinema (NLAC) of the late 1950s-70s generated unprecedented international enthusiasm for Latin American film production. The filmmakers of this loosely designated movement were defining themselves in relation to global realist film traditions like Italian Neorealism and Griersonian documentary, in relation to--mostly failed-- experiments in building Hollywood-style national film industries, and in relation to regional discourses of underdevelopment and mestizaje. Since the late 1990s, a reassessment of the legacy of the NLAC has been taking shape as scholars have begun to interrogate its canonical status in the face of a changed political climate.  In the sphere of filmmaking, contemporary Latin American new wave cinemas are also grappling with that legacy-sometimes disavowing it, sometimes appropriating it. We will situate the NLAC in its historical context, survey its formal achievements and political aspirations, assess its legacy, and take stock of the ways and the reasons that it haunts contemporary production.

Instructor(s): S. Skvirsky     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 31806

CMST 23905. Creative Thesis Workshop. 100 Units.

This seminar will focus on how to craft a creative thesis in film or video. Works-in-progress will be screened each week, and technical and structural issues relating to the work will be explored. The workshop will also develop the written portion of the creative thesis. The class is limited to seniors from CMS and DOVA, and MAPH students working on a creative thesis.

Instructor(s): J. Hoffman     Terms Offered: Winter,Spring
Prerequisite(s): CMST 23930; CMST 23931 or 27600; departmental approval of senior creative thesis project. CMST 23905 cannot be used to meet distribution requirements.

CMST 23930. Documentary Production I. 100 Units.

This class is intended to develop skills in documentary production so that students may apply for Documentary Production II. Documentary Production I focuses on the making of independent documentary video. Examples of various styles of documentary will be screened and discussed. Issues embedded in the documentary genre, such as the ethics and politics of representation and the shifting lines between fact and fiction will be explored. Pre-production methodologies, production, and post-production techniques will be taught. Students will be expected to develop an idea for a documentary video, crews will be formed, and each crew will produce a five-minute documentary. Students will also be expected to purchase an external hard drive.

Instructor(s): J. Hoffman     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Prior or concurrent enrollment in CMST 10100 is strongly recommended.

CMST 23931. Documentary Production II. 100 Units.

This course focuses on the shaping and crafting of a nonfiction video. Students are expected to write a treatment detailing their project. Production techniques focus on the handheld camera versus tripod, interviewing and microphone placement, and lighting for the interview. Postproduction covers editing techniques and distribution strategies. Students then screen final projects in a public space.

Instructor(s): J. Hoffman     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): CMST 23930/ARTV 23930

CMST 24405. Kieślowski’s French Cinema. 100 Units.

Krzysztof Kieślowski’s The Decalogue and The Double Life of Veronique catapulted the Polish director to the international scene. His subsequent French triptych Blue, White, Red turned out to be his last works that altered his image and legacy to affirm his status as an auteur and a representative of the transnational cinema. We discuss how in his virtual universe of parallel histories and repeated chances, captured with visually and aurally dazzling artistry, the possibility of reconstituting one’s identity, triggered by tragic loss and betrayal, reveals an ever-ambiguous reality. By focusing on the filmmaker’s dissolution of the thing-world, often portrayed on the verge of vague abstraction of (in)audibility or (un)transparency, this course bridges his cinema with the larger concepts of postmodern subjectivity and possibility of metaphysics. The course concludes with the filmmaker’s contribution to world cinema. All along, we read selections from Kieślowski’s and Piesiewicz’s screen scripts, Kieślowski’s own writings and interviews, as well as from the abundant criticism of his French movies. All materials are in English.

Instructor(s): Bożena Shallcross      Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): REES 31002,CMST 34405,REES 21002

CMST 24615. Chinese Musicals. 100 Units.

Are there Chinese musicals? It very much depends on what we would consider a Chinese musical. To answer Adrian Martin’s call for “Musical Mutations: Before, Beyond and Against Hollywood,” this course will look for Chinese musicals in both obvious and unlikely places. The “musical mutations” under discussion include traditional opera adaptation, back-stage opera film, martial-arts opera film, Maoist opera film, musical comedy, song-and-dance film, melo-drama, Hong Kong musical, and most certainly the “apocalyptic” musical named by Martin, The Hole (Tsai Ming-liang, 1998). The tripartite developments of Chinese-language cinemas provide a privileged site to chart the ways the musical genre expands, transforms, and rejuvenates across time and borders.

Instructor(s): X. Dong     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Pre-requisite(s): CMST 10100, ARTH 20000, ENGL 10800, ARTV 25300, or consent of instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): EALC 24614

CMST 24915. Visions of Japanese Cinema and Contemporary Media Culture. 100 Units.

This course explores the history and theory of cinema and media culture in Japan, engaging in rigorous examination of the transformations of cinematic forms and contents, and of the social, cultural and political elements bound up with those transformations. We will closely examine the place of cinema vis-a-vis a range of major political developments: the shaping of Japanese modernity, the Fordist industrialization of film, the Golden Age of the 1950s and its precipitous decline, the rise of the new cinemas in the 1960s, and the postmodern and independent cinemas in the face of global capitalism. The course will also pay attention to topics of contemporary media such as media convergence, the media ecologies of contemporary anime (and manga/comic), and media activism after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake. We will proceed through careful analysis of films, anime, and digital media, while also addressing larger questions of historiography, and work to integrate such inquiries into discussions of film style and aesthetics, identity, the nation and other issues. Filmmakers covered include Kinugasa Teinosuke, Shimizu Hiroshi, Ozu Yasujiro, Mizoguchi Kenji, Oshima Nagisa, Teshigahara Hiroshi, Hara Kazuo, Nomura Takashi, Kitano Takeshi, and Sono Shion/Sion.

Instructor(s): T. Tsunoda     Terms Offered: Autumn

CMST 24921. Japanese Documentary. 100 Units.

This course will examine documentary film in Japan, beginning with its prewar origins and into the present. It will also look at other forms of documentary media, such as photograpy and written reportage. We will pay particular attention to the political and social movements in which these filmmakers and artists participated--from Pacific War-era propaganda to 1960s radicalism. We will also look at theoretical approaches to documentary produced in Japan and elsewhere. What kind of reality does documentary seek to represent? How is this reality constructed--both aesthetically and politically?

Instructor(s): Marianne Tarcov     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): EALC 30421,CMST 34921,EALC 20421

CMST 25503. Issues in Contemporary Horror. 100 Units.

This course takes the modern horror film as its object.  For the purposes of this class, modern horror spans the period from 1960 to the present, although much of our attention will be directed toward the period form the 1980s to the present.  We will examine key problems in the genre including, but not limited to an examination of the nature of the horrific, close formal analysis (which typically is neglected in favor of more culturally oriented approaches), questions of POV and camera movement, the articulation and construction of space, the role of gender in the genre, the changing importance of women as performers, characters, directors, and spectators, found footage/surveillance, and the genre’s address to the viewer.

Instructor(s): J. Lastra     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 35503

CMST 25506. Long-Take Cinema. 100 Units.

As a stylistic device, the long take has long been a definitive feature of art cinema, being particularly conspicuous in filmmakers who make ethical and even metaphysical claims for their “slow cinema.” After surveying the use of the long take in silent and classical cinema (including Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock), we will concentrate on the long-take style that spanned the art cinemas of Western Europe (Michelangelo Antonioni, Chantal Akerman), Russia and Eastern Europe (Miklós Jancsó, Andrei Tarkovsky), and Central Eurasia (Ebrahim Golestan). We will then consider its influence on contemporary art cinema, from Aleksandr Sokurov and Béla Tarr to Nuri Bilge Ceylan and Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman). Along the way we will also consider the long-take style in documentary cinema, and will also consider the links between long-take cinema and certain tendencies in video art, exemplified by the work in video of Sharon Lockhart and James Benning. We will close by considering the feature films of artists Steve McQueen and Lucien Castaing-Taylor. Treating long-take style as a distinct approach to cinematic realism, in each case we will evaluate the claims made for the ethical, metaphysical and even political valences of the long take, with readings by filmmakers and by theorists from Henri Bergson and André Bazin to Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Rancière, Laura Mulvey and beyond.

Instructor(s): R. Bird     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 35506

CMST 26000. The Films of Josef von Sternberg. 100 Units.

Few figures in the history of cinema are as complex as Joseph von Sternberg. He can be seen both as the epitome of Hollywood glamour and as an excluded outsiders. He worked primarily in the USA, but made two of his most famous films in foreign countries (Der Blaue Engel, Germany 1930 and Anatahan, Japan 1957). A pioneer in international sound cinema, he was also an established director during the silent era. A lynchpin of the Paramount Studio, he was also one of the first independent filmmakers with his debut feature The Salvation Hunters. This course will explore Sternberg’s manufacture of an authorial directorial persona and unique stylistics (and its relation to the “auteur theory”); his relation the Hollywood studio system of collaboration and his relation to the stars system, with especial attention to the films he made at Paramount with Marlene Dietrich. Most of Von Sternberg’s surviving works will be screened.

Instructor(s): T. Gunning     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 46000,FNDL 26001

CMST 26302. Ernst Lubitsch: An International Style. 100 Units.

“How would Lubitsch do it?” asks Billy Wilder, who famously hung this question in his office. He asked the question hanging in the minds of generations of filmmakers around the world, most likely including Lubitsch himself. In a career spanning nearly three decades, Lubitsch’s name has come to denote a style about style, first exported from Germany to Hollywood and then from Hollywood to the world. In this sense, Lubitsch is first and foremost a filmmaker for filmmakers, and his style decidedly an international one. It is the goal of this course to examine a broadly defined international stylistic history developed by and associated with Lubitsch, whose legacy cannot be adequately assessed without such a perspective. With dual emphases on formal and historical analyses, we will look at Lubitsch’s early Weimar comedy and epic films, American silent masterpieces, musicals, sound comedies, and political farces, as well as Lubitsch-esque films made in Japan, China, and France.

Instructor(s): X. Dong     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 36302,FNDL 26507

CMST 26803. Claire Denis. 100 Units.

Claire Denis is one of the major artistic voices in contemporary French cinema, and one of the most challenging filmmakers working today. In over 25 years, she has created an impressive body of work from across a wide variety of genres ranging from semi-autobiographical films informed by her own experiences during her childhood in Africa (Chocolat, White Material) to allegorical horror films (Trouble Every Day). Currently she is working on her first English language science-fiction film High-Life.  I Can’t Sleep is based on the true story of Thierry Paulin, a gay, black, HIV-positive, transvestite and serial killer. Her best-known film to date Beau Travail is loosely inspired by Herman Melville’s Billy Budd, and The Intruder by the homonymous autobiographical essay by French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy. We will also have a look at her lesser known films for television, her documentaries about dance and music, and her short films. Her films reflect a deep awareness of the complexities of French post-colonialism, as well as mesmerizing and sensual mise-en-scène of desire.  Students taking the class for French credit are expected to complete written assignments (and readings as applicable) in French.

Instructor(s): D. Bluher     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 26803,FREN 26803

CMST 26810. Agnes Varda. 100 Units.

This course examines the work of one of the most significant directors working in France today. Making important films from the 1960s to the present day, Varda has been crucial to the development of new film practices: both in the past—as with the birth of the French New Wave Cinema—and in the present by exploring new forms of plastic narration and by working with moving images in gallery spaces.

Instructor(s): D. Bluher     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 26506

CMST 27004. Crowd, Audience, Spectator. 100 Units.

No description available.

Instructor(s): J. Wild     Terms Offered: Spring

CMST 27220. Classical Film Theory. 100 Units.

This course will present a critical survey of the principal authors, concepts, and films in the classical period of film theory. The main though not exclusive emphasis will be the period of silent film and theorists writing in the context of French and German cinema. We will study the aesthetic debates of the period in their historical context, whose central questions include: Is film an art? If so, what specific and autonomous means of expression define it as an aesthetic medium? What defines the social force and function of cinema as a mass art? Weekly readings and discussion will examine major film movements of the classical period—for example, French impressionism and Surrealism—as well as the work of such major figures as Hugo Münsterberg, Rudolf Arnheim, Jean Epstein, Germaine Dulac, Béla Balázs, Erwin Panofsky, Hans Richter, Siegfried Kracauer, Walter Benjamin, and André Bazin.

Instructor(s): D.N. Rodowick     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): CMST 10100, ARTH 20000, ENGL 10800, ARTV 25300, or consent of instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 37220,FREN 27220,FREN 37220

CMST 27600. Introduction to Black and White Film Photography. 100 Units.

Photography is a familiar medium due to its ubiquitous presence in our visual world, including popular culture and personal usage. In this course, students learn technical procedures and basic skills related to the 35mm camera, black and white film, and print development. They also begin to establish criteria for artistic expression. We investigate photography in relation to its historical and social context in order to more consciously engage the photograph's communicative and expressive possibilities. Course work culminates in a portfolio of works exemplary of the student's understanding of the medium. Field trips required.

Instructor(s): A. Clark, E. Hogeman     Terms Offered: Autumn,Winter
Prerequisite(s): ARTV 10100, 10200, or 10300
Note(s): Camera and light meter required.
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 34000,CMST 37600,ARTV 24000

CMST 27804. Fluxus and the Question of Media. 100 Units.

The course investigates the international Fluxus network of the 1960’s and 70’s from a media perspective. Often identified with the concept of “intermedia” launched in a 1966 text by artist, writer and publisher Dick Higgins, Fluxus artists seemed at pain to distinguish their work from the multimedia or gesamtkunstwerk approaches of the Happening artists, seeking instead to formulate a mode of working between or even beyond media. Underpinned by a desire to pass beyond the work of art itself, this was a complex position that had profound implications for their approaches to technologies and practices such as film, video, computing, sound/music, theatre, poetry and image-making. We will try to map the various facets of this position, with particular emphasis on its relation to another key Fluxus concept: the work as event.

Instructor(s): I. Blom     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 31314,CMST 37804,ARTH 21314

CMST 27805. Framing, Re-framing, and Un-framing Cinema. 100 Units.

By cinema, we mean the art of the moving image, which is not limited to the material support of a flexible band called film.  This art reaches back to early devices  to trick the eye into seeing motion and looks forward to new media and new modes of presentation. With the technological possibility of breaking images into tiny pixels and reassembling them and of viewing them in new way that this computerized image allows, we now face the most radical transformation of the moving image since the very beginnings of cinema. A collaboration between the OpenEndedGroup (Marc Downie and Paul Kaiser) artists who have created new modes of the moving image for more than decade and film scholar Tom Gunning, this class will use this moment of new technologies to explore and expand the moving image before it becomes too rigidly determined by the powerful industrial forces now propelling it forward. This course will be intensely experimental as we see how we might use new computer algorithms to take apart and re-experience classic films of the past. By using new tools, developed for and during this class, students will make new experiences inside virtual reality environments for watching, analyzing and recombining films and that are unlike any other. These tools will enable students, regardless of previous programming experience, to participate in this crucial technological and cultural juncture.

Instructor(s): T. Gunning, M. Downie, P. Kaiser     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 20805,CMST 37805,ARTV 30805

CMST 27811. Popular Science and New Media: Methods, Theory, and Practice. 100 Units.

This course explores affinities between new media forms and technologies (e.g., digital cinema, video games, streamable television, fitness trackers, smartphone apps) and contemporary science and medicine (e.g., infectious disease, noninvasive surgical procedures, drug addiction treatment). How do new media represent scientific processes and expertise? What are the particular habits and patterns produces by new media technologies? And how do they affect medical research methods and practice? Readings and screenings draw from across the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, and range from scholarly works to news articles, blog posts, videos, and mobile apps. Students will be asked to analyze, operate, and play with scientific new media. Central texts include recent science-driven films, like Contagion and The Martian, virtual dissection and surgical training smartphone apps, and pandemic games Infection and Bio Inc. The variety of activities will ask students to question the many ways in which new media respond to and shape scientific and medical research—and vice-versa.

Instructor(s): M. Kressbach     Terms Offered: Spring

CMST 28200. Nonfiction Film: Representations and Performance. 100 Units.

This course attempts to define nonfiction cinema by looking at the history of its major modes (e.g., documentary, essay, ethnographic, agitprop film), as well as personal/autobiographical and experimental works that are less easily classifiable. We explore some of the theoretical discourses that surround this most philosophical of film genres (e.g., ethics and politics of representation; shifting lines between fact and fiction, truth and reality). The relationship between the documentary and the state is examined in light of the genre's tendency to inform and instruct. We consider the tensions of filmmaking and the performative aspects in front of the lens, as well as the performance of the camera itself. Finally, we look at the ways in which distribution and television effect the production and content of nonfiction film.

Instructor(s): J. Hoffman     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): PQ: CMST 10100

CMST 28201. Political Documentary Film. 100 Units.

This course explores the political documentary film, its intersection with historical and cultural events, and its opposition to Hollywood and traditional media. We will examine various documentary modes of production, from films with a social message, to advocacy and activist film, to counter-media and agit-prop. We will also consider the relationship between the filmmaker, film subject and audience, and how political documentaries are disseminated and, most importantly, part of political struggle.

Instructor(s): J. Hoffman     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 28204,ARTV 38204,CMST 38201

CMST 28202. Contemporary Documentary. 100 Units.

This course looks at recent trends in documentary filmmaking.

Instructor(s): D. Bluher     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 38202

CMST 28301. Opera in the Age of Its Mechanical Reproducibility. 100 Units.

Focusing on a diverse set of productions of Mozart’s "The Magic Flute" by Ingmar Bergman, William Kentridge, Martin Kusej, Simon McBurney, and Julie Taymor, we will seek to locate opera in the contemporary medial landscape, exploring some of the theoretical stakes, dramaturgical challenges, and interpretive achievements that characterize opera on film, DVD, and via live-streaming. Readings by W. Benjamin, T. W. Adorno, F. Jameson, M. Dolar, C. Abbate, P. Auslander, et al.

Instructor(s): D. Levin     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): GRMN 37717,TAPS 28422,TAPS 38422,CMST 38301,MUSI 24517,MUSI 34517,GRMN 27717

CMST 28500-28600. History of International Cinema I-II.

This sequence is required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies. Taking these courses in sequence is strongly recommended but not required.

CMST 28500. History of International Cinema I: Silent Era. 100 Units.

This course introduces what was singular about the art and craft of silent film. Its general outline is chronological. We also discuss main national schools and international trends of filmmaking.

Instructor(s): T. Gunning     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Prior or concurrent registration in CMST 10100 required. Required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies.
Note(s): This is the first part of a two-quarter course.
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 28500,ARTH 38500,ARTV 26500,ARTV 36500,CMLT 22400,CMLT 32400,CMST 48500,ENGL 29300,ENGL 48700,MAPH 36000

CMST 28600. History of International Cinema II: Sound Era to 1960. 100 Units.

The center of this course is film style, from the classical scene breakdown to the introduction of deep focus, stylistic experimentation, and technical innovation (sound, wide screen, location shooting). The development of a film culture is also discussed. Texts include Thompson and Bordwell's Film History: An Introduction; and works by Bazin, Belton, Sitney, and Godard. Screenings include films by Hitchcock, Welles, Rossellini, Bresson, Ozu, Antonioni, and Renoir.

Instructor(s): D. Morgan     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Prior or concurrent registration in CMST 10100 required. Required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies.
Note(s): CMST 28500/48500 strongly recommended
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 28600,ARTH 38600,ARTV 26600,CMLT 22500,CMLT 32500,CMST 48600,ENGL 29600,ENGL 48900,MAPH 33700

CMST 28601. History of International Film, Part III: 1960 to Present. 100 Units.

This course will continue the study of cinema around the world from the late 1950s through the 1990s. We will focus on New Cinemas in France, Czechoslovakia, Germany, the United States, the UK, and other countries. We will pay special attention to experimental stylistic developments, women directors, and well-known auteurs. After the New Cinema era we will examine various developments in world cinema, including the rise of Bollywood, East Asian film cultures, and other movements. A course like this is necessarily going to omit many important films and filmmakers, but we will try to attenuate those omissions by scheduling two screenings a week.

Instructor(s): J. Lastra     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 38601

CMST 28801. Digital Imaging. 100 Units.

This studio course introduces fundamental tools and concepts used in the production of computer-mediated artwork. Instruction includes a survey of standard digital imaging software and hardware (i.e., Photoshop, scanners, storage, printing, etc.), as well as exposure to more sophisticated methods. We also view and discuss the historical precedents and current practice of media art. Using input and output hardware, students complete conceptually driven projects emphasizing personal direction while gaining core digital knowledge.

Instructor(s): J. Salavon     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): ARTV 10100, 10200, or 10300
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 32500,CMST 38801,ARTV 22500

CMST 28810. Advanced Study Theater: Games & Performance. 100 Units.

No description available.

Instructor(s): P. Jagoda, H. Coleman     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Independent Study for those with advanced experience in theater. These courses are designed for students wishing to pursue self-motivated study in a specific field of theater/performance. Intensive study and reading is expected. Faculty advisor required. Completed forms to be submitted to the TAPS office by the end of first week of quarter of enrollment can be found at
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 21118,TAPS 28810

CMST 28903. Video. 100 Units.

This is a production course geared towards short experimental works and video within a studio art context.

Instructor(s): S. Wolniak     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): ARTV 10100, 10200 or 10300
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 23801,ARTV 33801

CMST 29700. Reading and Research Course. 100 Units.

No description available.

Terms Offered: Autumn, Winter, Spring
Prerequisite(s): Consent of faculty adviser and Director of Undergraduate Studies
Note(s): Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Form. This course may be counted toward distribution requirements for the major.

CMST 29800. Senior Colloquium. 100 Units.

This seminar is designed to provide fourth-year students with a sense of the variety of methods and approaches in the field (e.g., formal analysis, cultural history, industrial history, reception studies, psychoanalysis). Students present material related to their BA project, which is discussed in relation to the issues of the course.

Instructor(s): J. Stewart     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): CMST 10100. Required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies.

CMST 29900. BA Research Paper. 000 Units.

No description available.

Terms Offered: Winter, Spring
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor. Required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies.
Note(s): Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Form. This course may not be counted toward requirements for the major or as a free-elective credit.


Undergraduate Primary Contact

Director of Undergraduate Studies
Jennifer Wild
Classics 314B


Administrative Contact

Department Coordinator
Hank Sartin
Classics 304


Daniel Morgan
Classics 308