AMERICA DREAMS AMERICAN MOVIES
A course in selected American films that create and reflect—both for better and for worse—American identity from the beginnings of Hollywood moviemaking through the rise of Indie spirit. We will view and discuss nine to twelve beloved movies such as The Gold Rush, King Kong, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Casablanca, Rear Window, Singin’ in the Rain, and Dr. Strangelove, by directors such as Charlie Chaplin, Frank Capra, Alfred Hitchcock, and Stanley Kubrick.
The course is alert to American cultural history, to the development of the movie industry, to the evolving idea of the director as artist (auteur) and, above all, to storytelling and narrative form in film and to the fundamentals of film analysis. It aims to enhance your understanding of how movies work for lifelong enjoyment.
For each major genre we address—comedies, musicals, romantic comedies, romantic dramas, westerns, suspense thrillers, and genre mash-ups, we will include a class that telescopes ahead to developments through the 21st century.
Assignments are both written and visual experiments in filmmaking, as suits the interests of the class.