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Realism and Cinema

ENGL 291.402

Realism is a central aesthetic and critical category in film studies. This course examines key films from the 1930s to the present rethinking what defines them as realist.  Taking into account relevant proposals and theories on cinema’s privileged relation to reality and truth (Andre Bazin, Kracauer, Doane, Morin, Rouch, etc), we will discuss: how cinema’s photographic basis inflects the illusion of reality; how conventions of verisimilitude (visual, aural and narrative) have historically shifted; the privileged relation of realism to particular themes such as the everyday, war or urban realities; the manner in which framing or duration enhance the film’s realist effects. Examined films include Italian Neorealist classics ; Jean Renoir’s work; Documentary (Spanish Earth, Chronicle of a Summer, The Act of Seeing with one’s own eyes, Goodbye CP); historical film  The Rise to Power of Louis the XIV; Two or Three Things I Know about her and Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, Abbas Kiarostami’s Kolker trilogy and  Jia Zhangke’s Still Life.

fulfills requirements
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major