Critical Approaches to Cinema
This college-preparatory, UC-approved English elective calls for students to analyze directorial intent, to derive purpose and meaning from the rhetorical elements embedded in works of art—in this case, storytelling through cinema. Students will move beyond a plot-level understanding of story to interpret how structures of film— sound and lighting, framing and camera angles—create meaning. Students will also learn theoretical frameworks common of a typical advanced English course: a deconstructive approach, a social/political approach, a feminist approach, and a mythological approach. Each of these frameworks will give the students a more critical eye when viewing film.
Because film tends to be a complex gathering of technique, storytelling, art, ideas and viewer interpretation, this argument-centered, discussion-based class will ask students to study film techniques and archetypes, learn vocabulary to further a more nuanced, critical discussion, look for ambiguous or complex interpretations, and find evidence of directorial or writer intent while considering audience interpretation. Students will read, discuss, and write daily, offer formal and informal analysis of individual film frames, selected clips and full-length films, as well as participate in formal discussion and debate.