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Romantic Comedy

ENGL 016.403
instructor(s):
fulfills requirements:
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major
Elective 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.