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The Auteur's Policy and Politics in European New Cinema

ENGL 292.920
crosslisted as: CINE 202
instructor(s):
TR 5:30-8:40

This course will examine the theoretical and political stakes of auteurism, from its emergence in the revolutionary sensibilities of the French New Wave to its effects on the styles of numerous European filmmakers of the 1960s and 70s. Our exploration into the issues of personal style, political expression and impact of films from countries experiencing a film renaissance at the time (here we will primarily examine France, Spain, Italy and Germany), will begin by a consideration of the sometimes paradoxical nature of the relationship between literary authorship and cinematic authorship.  The influence of Bazin’s notion of the auteur will guide our critical inquiry into the political consequences of style and a belief in the individual authority of the director. We will examine the politics of style in such representative films as Francois Truffaut’s Jules et Jim, Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless Victor Erice’s The Spirit of the Beehive, Carlos Saura's Raise Crows Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Spider’s Strategem, and R.W. Fassbinder’s Despair. A central topic in regarding these films will be their effective use of self-reflexivity and how it functions in relation to autuerism vis a vis the style of a particular director. This course is intended to provide some familiarity with and critical understanding of the French New Wave, New Spanish Cinema, Germany’s Das Neue Kino and the Second Italian Renaissance. In addition to the films and readings assigned, coursework will entail a submission of three film analyses and a final paper as well as full participation in class discussion. No prior knowledge of film is required.