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Film and the City: Philadelphia

ENGL 091.920
instructor(s):
MW 4:30-7:40

Recent film history has investigated the relation between cultural
practices such as the railway or the architecture of glass and iron in
the arcade as specifically tied to urban space and the development of
a postmodern sensibility.  The course will explore the relation
between these arcade as specifically tied to urban space and the
development of  a postmodern sensibility.  The course will explore the
relation between these developments in cultural history, the
literature that explores them and the film practices and theory to
which they have a dialectical relation.  Films which make the city
their subject and which inspire particular stylistic or technical
innovations will be the focus of the screenings:  "Man With a Movie
Camera," "Berlin, Symphony of a City" and "Wings of Desire" as well
as film noir in "Chinatown" and "Blade Runner" following Gore Vidal's
Vineland.  Historical background will be considered before addressing
Philadelphia as a city which preceded post modernism and film but
which is now the subject of independent film and video in such works
as "Styx," "Prodigal Father" and "Two Plus One."  The course will move
from the histories of cinema, the city and its literature into present
representations of Philadelphia and the community of independent film
and video which represents it.  Wolfgang Schivelbush's The Railway,
Mike Davis' City of Quartz, Anne Friedberg's Window Shopping and
recent studies of Philadelphia, patterns of immigration and
architecture will be included in the readings for the course.