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Romantic Comedy

ENGL 292.401
instructor(s):
fulfills requirements:
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major

We may know what it is like to fall in love, but how do movies tell us

what it is like? Through an exciting tour of American and World

cinema, we will analyze the moods and swings, successes and failures

of love in romantic comedy, one of the most popular but generally

overlooked and taken for granted genres. We will turn a spotlight on

it by examining what elements and iconography constitute the “romcom”

genre, what specific qualities inform its sub-groupings such as

screwball, sex comedy or radical romantic comedy, how they are related

to their historical, cultural and ideological contexts, and what we

can learn about their audiences. Watching classic as well contemporary

examples of the genre, from City Lights (1931), It Happened One Night

(1934) and Roman Holiday (1953), to Harold and Maude (1971), Annie

Hall (1977), Chocolat (2000), and The Notebook (2004), we will

problematize this overly-familiar cinema to make it new and strange

again, and open it up to creative analysis. Assignments include a

film-viewing journal, a critical film analysis and a creative final

project.