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Experimental Film and Literature

ENGL 292.910
MTWR 1-2:35

Fulfills Distributional Course in Arts and Letters

At the turn of the 20th century, while literary modernism attempted a revolution of the very practice of writing, a newly invented medium (Film) was laying the foundations for its own cultural dominance. This course will begin here. We'll take as our starting point issues that animated literary modernism: the Unconscious, its obsession with point-of-view and perspective, the illusion of realism, and the perception of time. We'll examine and discuss how these issues took center stage through the work of several highly influential films by directors such as Orson Welles, Jean-Luc Godard, and Dziga Vertov.

Providing a general overview of the oppositional and experimental impulses of modernism, our main goal will be to understand how film can represent reality and question the representation of it, so as to signal and hide the means by which cinema can manipulate the perceptions of its own audience. On the way, we'll write a shorter and longer essay.