This course provides an introduction to the discipline of feature film analysis through global film genres.
Through readings, screenings, and discussions, students use critical distance in order to better
understand the economic, political, and cultural contexts of film production, audience reception, and
audiovisual aesthetics. The course pays particular attention to the intersecting roles of technology,
identity, geography, language, transnationalism, and globalization while reading and comparing a
diverse array of films.
1. COURSE OBJECTIVES
By the end of this course, you should be able to:
a. understand and apply the basic technical and theoretical vocabulary of film analysis.
b. question your own roles as spectators and increase your ability to watch films critically.
c. appreciate how popular genres address the needs and desires of worldwide audiences.
d. recognize how national cinemas are shaped by local events and transnational trends.
e. write critically and creatively about film aesthetics within cultural/economic/technical contexts.
1. William V. Costanzo, World Cinema through Global Genres. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Blackwell, 2014.
FRIDAY JUNE 5: THE WARRIOR HERO
Preface ix-xii / How to Use This Book xv-xviii / Introduction 1-41
Chapter 1: The Warrior Hero 45-72
Close-up: The Magnificent Seven 100-105
Close-up: Seven Samurai 106-112
1. Seven Samurai (Japan, 1954)
2. The Magnificent Seven (USA, 1960)
3. Iron Fists and Kung-Fu Kicks (USA, 2019)
4. Enter the Dragon (USA, 1973)
COMPARATIVE ESSAY OPTIONS
a. “Girl power”
READ: Deep Focus on Chinese Cinemas 79-98
COMPARE: Come Drink with Me (Hong Kong, 1966) https://www.amazon.com/Come-Drink-Me-ChengPei-pei/dp/B01F7OXV1S and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (USA, 2000)
b. “Save us!”
READ: Close-up: Sholay 113-117 / Close-up: Way of the Dragon 118-123
COMPARE: Sholay (India, 1975) YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Vk6PtNMhYk Amazon
Prime https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/amzn1.dv.gti.6eb65e03-09d2-411e-5754e5ebc349d3eb? and Way of the Dragon (Hong Kong, 1972)
FRIDAY JUNE 12: THE WEDDING FILM
Comparative Weddings 150-153
Towards a Definition of the Genre 153-155
Deep Focus on Indian Cinemas 159-180
Close-up: Monsoon Wedding 187-191
1. Monsoon Wedding (USA, 2001)
2. Sembene! (Senegal, 2015) https://tampa.kanopy.com/node/5276463
3. This is Nollywood (USA, 2007) https://tampa.kanopy.com/node/139774
4. The Narrow Path (Nigeria, 2006) https://tampa.kanopy.com/node/120739
COMPARATIVE ESSAY OPTIONS
a. “Big Bollywood”
READ: Close-up: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 181
WATCH: Shalom Bollywood (Australia, 2013) https://tampa.kanopy.com/node/5638388)
COMPARE: Hum Aapke Hain Koum! (India, 1994) https://www.netflix.com/watch/60035870 and
My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding (USA, 2002) https://www.amazon.com/My-Big-Fat-GreekWedding/dp/B003KGIOY0
b. “Middle East Marriages”
READ: Arab Brides on the Border 142-144 / Close-up: Wedding in Galilee 197-201
COMPARE: Syrian Bride (Israel, 2004) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QN8gYDrkNB4 and
Wedding in Galilee (Palestine, 1987) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggyOqY1mBbk
FRIDAY JUNE 19: THE HORROR FILM
Chapter 3: The Horror Film 205 – 247
1. Nosferatu (Germany, 1922)
2. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (Iran, 2014)
COMPARATIVE ESSAY OPTIONS
a. “Ring Cycle”
READ: Deep Focus on Japanese Cinemas 254-268 / Close-up: Ring 287-291
COMPARE: Ring/Ringu (Japan, 1998) https://tampa.kanopy.com/video/ring-1 and The Ring (USA, 2002)
b. “Witches Brew-ha-ha”
READ: Close-up: Suspiria 276-281
COMPARE: Suspiria (Italy, 1977) https://tampa.kanopy.com/video/suspiria-0 and Suspiria (Italy, 2018)
FRIDAY JUNE 26: COMPARATIVE ESSAY – INDIVIDUAL MEETINGS
Due: Comparative Essay Draft
Due: Presentation Draft
FRIDAY JULY 3: WRAP UP
Due: Final Presentation
Due: Comparative Essay
COM 261: COMPARATIVE ESSAY
This is a chance to work on your own, applying what you have learned about global genres to a unit of
your choosing by comparing two films that exemplify that genre (the warrior hero, wedding film, or
horror film). I have pre-selected two options for each unit and included them in the syllabus for your
reference. If you would like to compare two films not listed in the syllabus (perhaps selected from the
filmographies listed at the end of each unit) you may make a proposal by sending me an email that
specifies the unit/genre you would be focusing on, describes the alternative films, and explains why you
would like to compare them. For example, you could suggest examining the warrior hero by comparing
Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Western, A Fistful of Dollars (Per un pugno di dollari, 1964) with Kurosawa’s
Bodyguard (Yojimbo, 1961), the Japanese samurai film that inspired Leone. Or you might compare
Guillermo del Toro’s The Devil’s Backbone (El Espinazo del Diablo, 2001) and The Orphanage (El
Orfanato, 2007) another Spanish film produced by del Toro. Alternatively, you also have the option of
analyzing any two of the four films with close-up sections in the Road Movie unit.
When researching your essay, keep the questions below in mind. You may choose to answer each
question in the same order as listed or integrate them into a traditional narrative, but be sure to give more
attention to the questions that seem most important for your chosen films.
Why did you make this selection? What appealed to you initially about the genre and these films?
What did you expect or hope to learn by comparing the two movies?
Briefly identify the elements of the genre as they appear in these films: familiar scenes, stock
characters, typical locations, iconic details, stylistic features, and recurring themes. For instance,
why do you classify these movies as a Western, a wedding comedy, road film, etc?
Who are the heroes (protagonists) and villains (antagonists) in these films? What conflicts do they
face, and how do they confront these challenges?
What do these filmed stories say about the cultures that produced them? What are the underlying
beliefs and attitudes toward life? How do local customs, history, and ideologies influence the way
these stories are presented on the screen?
Comment on the filmmaking. What special uses does the movie make of lighting, color, framing,
motion, or sound? What do the acting, costumes, makeup, and set design contribute to the story?
To what degree do codes and conventions change when they go global?
Research the film’s production, distribution, and reception. Check out interviews, books,
magazines, bonus features on the DVD, and websites. Who was responsible for directing,
producing, writing the script, casting, location scouting, and post-production work (editing,
music, and sound effects)? What did you learn from your research about the business side of
filmmaking, particularly in a global economy?
Give your final assessment of the films. What are your evaluative criteria? How do you rate these
movies compared to others in the genre and as individual works of cinema?
Be sure to give your essay a proper heading (name, date, instructor, course) and a title (centered). It
should be between 4 and 8 pages (1,000–2,000 words), double spaced, and follow APA guidelines for a
documented essay (parenthetical citations and a Works Cited page). Your work will be evaluated
according to the following criteria:
1. Focus: did you cover the suggested questions and stay on topic?
2. Argument: did you establish a thesis and build a case using evidence and specific examples?
3. Accuracy: did you demonstrate mastery of the material, cinematic terms, and relevant facts?
4. Expression: did you communicate your analysis in a formal scholarly mode using APA citation?
Purchase answer to see full