Course Description

Ways of Seeing covers the six elements of film style and introduces students to identify and to analyze those elements in narrative and non-narrative film.

Time and Place

Tuesdays, 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM
Film Video Building, Room 102

Instructor

Juan Monroy

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Office Hours

Tuesdays, 12:30 - 1:30 PM
East Building, Room 207
By appointment only

Schedule an appointment

Course Materials

Textbook

The following book is available for purchase on online retailers and on reserve at the Pratt Library.

Reserves

All of the in-class films screenings, with the exception of Allures and The Sweet Hereafter, are available on reserve at the Visual and Multimedia Resources Media Library on lower level of the Brooklyn campus library.

LMS

We will not be using the LMS for this course.

Requirements

This class consists of five components. You cannot satisfactorily complete this course without all five of these.

Attendance

At each class, we will cover material I expect you to know for the midterm exam and your assignments. I will present on the historical and cultural context relevant to the films covered that particular week.

Screenings

Each week, there will be an in-class screening. A good number of screenings are available online at sites like YouTube or Internet Archive, and you might able to able to purchase titles from stores such as Amazon. However, the greatest value of this class comes from our watching films and discussing them as a group, in the context of other films, readings, and spontaneous conversation.

Readings

Please read the assigned course material before each week’s class. Consult the Course Schedule, listed below, for the required reading assignments.

Midterm Exam

The midterm exam will be administered in class and is designed to reward regular attendance and diligent studying. There will be an in-class screening portion, along with a take-home portion due at the beginning of class the following week.

Assignments

All assignments must be completed on time in order to receive full credit. Late assignments will be penalized by a 10% reduction for each 24-hour period it is late. After seven calendar days, the assignment will not be accepted and you could fail this class.

Policies

Professionalism

Please respect the classroom environment. You should pay attention to the lecture, take notes, and avoid distractions, such as web surfing or using your mobile phone. Studies have consistently shown that students using laptops and mobile phones perform about 11% worse than students who are not distracted by these devices. On a personal note, it’s very difficult to stay motivated as a teacher if I see students seemingly disinterested in their own education. If I find you engaging in disruptive behavior, such as watching online videos, passing notes, instant messaging, chatting, or texting, I will remove you from the classroom and have you withdraw from the class.

Community Standards

Students must adhere to all Institute-wide policies listed in the Bulletin under “Community Standards” and which include policies on attendance, academic integrity, plagiarism, computer, and network use.

Late Work and “Incomplete” Grades

Please submit your work on time. Late work will be penalized by a 10% reduction for each 24-hour period it is late. After one calendar week, the assignment will not be accepted and you will likely fail this class.

There will be no incomplete grades for this class except in the case of a documented emergency in the final weeks of the semester. If you experience such an emergency, please contact me immediately, and we will work out a schedule for you to complete the outstanding work before the beginning of the following semester.

But aside from these circumstances, no late work will be accepted and no “incomplete” grades will be granted. If you have difficulty keeping up with coursework, consider giving yourself extra time to complete assignments, reducing your overall course load, and/or taking this class at a later semester.

Academic Integrity

Absolute integrity is expected of every member of the Pratt Community in all academic matters, particularly with regard to academic honesty.

The latter includes plagiarism and cheating. In addition, the continued registration of any student is contingent upon regular attendance, the quality of work, and proper conduct. Irregular class attendance, neglect of work, failure to comply with Institute rules, and official notices or conduct not consistent with general good order is regarded as sufficient reasons for dismissal.

Mobile Phones

Please silence or turn off the radio in your mobile phone (power down the phone or set to “Do Not Distrub” mode).

Email

Please check your official email account on a daily basis, if not more often. I will broadcast announcements and send point-to-point communiques using your official email address.

Please note that I am not allowed to discuss your grade from an account that is not your official email account.

Students with Disabilities

The mission of the Disability Resource Center, a part of the Office for the Vice President for Student Affairs, is to ensure that all students with disabilities can freely and actively participate in all facets of Pratt life. To this end the office provides and coordinates services and programs that support student development, enable students to maximize their educational and creative potential, and assist students to develop their independence to the fullest extent possible. Furthermore, the office’s goal is to increase the level of awareness among all members of the Pratt community so that students with disabilities are able to perform at a level limited only by their abilities, not their disabilities.

Students who require special accommodations for disabilities must obtain clearance from the Office of Disability Services at the beginning of the semester. They should contact Mai McDonald, Disability Services Coordinator, in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, Main Building, Lower Level: 718–636- 3711.

Evaluation

Attendance

Regular attendance is required and will count towards your grade.

  • Weight: 10% of your final grade

Film Analyses

Every two weeks, you will write an essay, about three-to-four pages in length, analyzing the film we screened in class based on the following elements of film style:

  1. Film Form
  2. Film Narrative
    • Choose one of the following:
      • Nostalgia (Hollis Frampton, USA, 1971, 36 min)
      • Calendar (Atom Egoyan, Canada, 1993, 73 min.)
      • Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, USA, 1944, 107 min.)
    • Assignment Guidelines
    • due September 27
  3. Mise-en-scène
    • Choose one of the following:
      • Bonnie and Clyde (Arthur Penn, USA, 1967, 111 min.)
      • Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick, UK/USA, 1999, 159 min.)
    • Assignment Guidelines
    • due October 18
  4. Cinematography
    • Choose one of the following:
      • The Celebration (Thomas Vinterberg, Denmark, 1998, 105 min.)
      • Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (Rainer Fassbinder, West Germany, 1974, 94 min.)
    • Assignment Guidelines
    • due November 8
  5. Editing
    • Choose one of the following:
      • Night and Fog (Alain Renais, France, 1956, 32 min.)
      • An Unseen Enemy (D.W. Griffith, USA, 1912, 17 min.)
      • Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, USA, 1960, 109 min.)
      • Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, USA, 1941, 119 min.)
    • Assignment Guidelines
    • due November 22
  6. Sound
    • Choose one of the following:
      • Playtime (Jacques Tati, France, 1967, 115 min.)
      • M (Fritz Lang, Germany, 1931, 99 min.)
    • Assignment Guidelines
    • due December 13

You may skip one of the papers or, if you write all six papers, I will drop your lowest grade for these assignments.

  • Weight: 75% of your final grade

Midterm Exam

A brief, in-class midterm exam where you identify some of the terms we covered in the first half of the course.

  • Date: October 18
  • Weight: 15% of your final grade

Course Schedule

August 23 • Welcome

August 30 • Introduction to Film Form

Reading
Screening
  • Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (F.W. Murnau, USA, 1927, 94 min.)
Review

September 6 • Film Form Analysis

Screening
  • Lone Star (John Sayles, USA, 1996, 140 min.) Availble on Amazon Video.
Assignment

September 13 • Introduction to Film Narrative

Reading
  • Spadoni, Chapter 2, “Film Narrative”
Screening
  • Nostalgia (Hollis Frampton, USA, 1971, 36 min)
  • Calendar (Atom Egoyan, Canada, 1993, 73 min.)
Review

September 20 • Film Narrative Analysis

Screening
  • Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, USA, 1944, 107 min.)
Assignment

September 27 • Introduction to Mise-en-Scène

Reading
  • Spadoni, Chapter 3, “Mise-en-Scène”
Screening
  • Meshes of the Afternoon (Maya Deren, USA, 1943, 14 min.) Available to stream via Pratt Library.
  • Bonnie and Clyde (Arthur Penn, USA, 1967, 111 min.)
Review

October 4 • Mise-en-Scène Analysis

Screening
  • Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick, UK/USA, 1999, 159 min.)
Assignment

October 18 • Midterm Exam

We will take the midterm exam today in class. Review the outlines on form, narrative, and mise-en-scène.

October 25 • Introduction to Cinematography

Reading
  • Spandoni, Chapter 4, “Cinematography”
Screening
  • Mechanical Principles (Ralph Steiner, USA, 1929, 11 min.)
  • The Celebration (Thomas Vinterberg, Denmark, 1998, 105 min.). Available to stream on Amazon.
Review

November 1 • Cinematography Analysis

Screening
Assignment

November 8 • Introduction to Editing

Reading
  • Spadoni, Chapter 5, “Editing”
Screening
Review

November 15 • Editing Analysis

Screening
  • Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, USA, 1941, 119 min.)
Assignment

November 22 • Introduction to Sound

Reading
  • Spadoni, Chapter 6, “Sound”
Screening
  • Allures (Jordan Belson, USA, 1961, 8 min.) Note: Other Jordan Belson titles are available to screen on 16mm at the Video and Multimedia Resources division of the Pratt Library.
  • Playtime (Jacques Tati, France, 1967, 115 min.) Available to stream via Pratt Library.
Review

November 29 • Sound Analysis

Screening
  • M (Fritz Lang, Germany, 1931, 99 min.)
Assignment