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On Thoughts Occasioned By

ENGL 257.401
also offered as: FNAR 177, FNAR 677, CIMS 177
T 1:30-4:30


The Essay Film is an important tradition within the various genres that constitute the field of Film and Video Art. Through the element of time it differentiates itself from it’s literary and photographic antecedents. It borrows selectively from both narrative fiction and documentary - highly subjective and occasionally poetic but without perhaps the burden of truth. The Essay Film is an attempt to dimensionalize our experience of the world and our place in it. It represents an argument, a meditation, a critical engagement with a place, a time or a subject.

This is a combination seminar / studio course. Through readings, screenings and discussion students will gain an historical perspective on the genre. The core assignment is for each student to complete a short film (20 minutes max.) in the tradition of the Essay Film.

The class is co-taught by Timothy Corrigan, a Professor of English and Cinema Studies along with David Hartt, an artist and filmmaker.

Corrigan defines the essay film as: a testing of expressive subjectivity through experiential encounters in a public arena, the product of which becomes the figuration of thinking or thought as a cinematic address and a spectatorial response.

Readings, screenings, discussions and critiques make up the curriculum along with studio
time. While the focus of this course is not technical, prior knowledge of design programs, camera functions, and post-production techniques is expected.

fulfills requirements