Course Information

AS3742 Myths and Images in Film

MTWRF 1:00-4:35

Instructor: Sarah Friedland


Office: Student Union 313

Office Hours: by appointment

Class blog:


Course Description:

This course will begin with an overview of the forms and aesthetics of film.  Looking at films of great artistic innovation, we will learn how to analyze the structure and creative components of the medium.  From there, we will complicate the notion of film as the isolated art object and approach it from the cultural conditions in which it was produced.    Art is not divorced from the events that take place outside of time rather it is influenced by the past, the future, and most importantly, the social, political, and cultural moment in which they are conceived. It is impossible to avoid the exaggerated and manipulated representation of society we are offered by media. In his book Suspensions of Perception Jonathan Carry says, “Attention…was an inevitable ingredient of a subjective conception of vision: attention is the means by which an individual observer can transcend those subjective limitations and make perception his own and perception is at the same time a means by which a perciever becomes open to control and annexation by external agencies.”  This class will offer the space to gain  control over our attention and dissect the spectacle media presents us with.  In order to understand the various methods deployed by filmmaking as well as the ideologies encoded in these moving images,  we will watch the acknowledged classics as well as popular Hollywood films.

Course Requirements and Grading

Description                                                   Points                         Percent

Group Presentation                                     150                  15

Weekly Summaries                                        200                  20

Final Essay                                                   200                  20

Class Participation                                                 250                  25

Research Questions                                         100                  10

In Class Work                                                   100                  10


Total                                                               1000                100%


Letter Grading

A                     B                     C                     D                     F

900-1000             800-899      700-799      600-699      0-599

●      The final paper will be a critical essay, 5-7 pages (typed, 12-point font, double spaced) on one of the feature films watched in class. You must refference 3 outsdie sources.

●      Group Presentations will be assigned for each feature film watched.  Students should prepare a brief presentation about the film watched that week based on the reading assigned and outside sources.

●      Research Questions are assigned for each feature film watched and will be used to account for the student’s attendance.  Students should prepare three questions to be turned in on Monday, screening days, about the film we will be watching that day.

●      Weekly, one page essays are due for the first 2 weeks of class and will be turned in Monday the 30th and Monday the 6th.  Essays should analize, based on film technique and themes,  one scene from one of the films shown in class the previous week.

●      Class participation is worth 250 points, and is therefore considered the most

important element of this class. While it can be hard at times to express opinions,

especially when they differ from those of your peers, you must learn to develop

this skill at the earliest stages of your academic career. You will be expected to

participate on a regular basis in class, and will be graded as such.

Class participation graded as follows:


A (275-300 pts) Miss no more than 2 classes, be prompt, complete all the readings; consistently add questions, ideas and reasoned opinions to class discussions, critiques and group activities; actively contribute to the success of the class, your own learning, and the learning of others; act as a leader in group assignments; bring a copy of all assigned readings to class

B (250-274 pts) Miss no more than 3 classes, be prompt, complete all the readings; consistently add reasoned opinions and ideas to discussions, critiques and group activities; take an active role in group assignments; bring a copy of all assigned readings to class

C (225-249 pts) Miss no more than 4 classes, regularly complete the readings; occasionally add reasoned opinions and ideas to discussions, critiques and group activities; participate in group assignments at a moderate level; bring a copy of all assigned readings to class

D (200-224 pts) Miss no more than 5 classes; complete readings irregularly, rarely participate in discussions and critiques; take a minimal role in group assignments

F (below200 pts) Miss 6 or more classes; failure to participate in group assignments, or Attend class regularly but display disruptive behavior that makes it difficult for the instructor to teach and students to learn. For example, talking with your neighbor during discussions, lectures, or presentations; refusing to follow the instructor’s directives; making inappropriate comments during class discussions or critiques (i.e. comments that are completely off topic, personal attacks on classmates, refusing to take the material and course seriously)



Course Policies:

At the end of this document you will find a Course Contract. Make sure you read and understand it.

●      You will be required to read up to 150 pages per weeks for this course.

●      You will be required to spend up to 6 hours per week outside of class on readings and assignments (more if you’re a slow reader, have difficulty writing, or are unfamiliar with computer technology)

●      Being late to class (or leaving early) 2 times is equal to one absence.

●      Accruing more than 6 absences equals an automatic failure.

●      ·Use of cell phones, pagers, games, etc is not permitted in class. If you continue to violate this policy I may confiscate these items or ask you to leave.

●      Excused absences require documentation (i.e. a note from a medical professional) and include illness, death in the family, or family emergency. Absences that occur as a result of work obligations are not excused. Please arrange your work schedule so that you can attend class regularly and have ample time to complete assignments.

●      If you miss a class it is up to you to contact one of your classmates for the day’s notes and assignments. It is not my responsibility to bring you “up-to-date” unless you have an excused absence. Whether your absence is excused or not, if you miss a screening day it’s your responsibility to view the film before the next regularly scheduled class.

Freedom of Expression: Rights and Responsibilities

The open exchange of ideas is extremely important in the classroom. I hope to create a safe learning environment where students can disagree and debate with one another, but still respect each other as classmates and peers. This means that while you may be strongly opposed to an opinion expressed during a discussion or critique, you should never use personal attacks to get your point across. In my classroom I expect students to not only express their ideas, but to genuinely listen to the ideas of others and to offer reasoned responses.

Required Texts:

All readings are available on the class blog-


Late work will be marked down half a grade per day late, up to one week late.  After that, you will receive an F unless you talk with me privately regarding a medical or other emergency for which you can provide documentation.

SUNY College at Old Westbury Policy on Academic Integrity:

“As is the policy of all SUNY institutions, students are expected to maintain the highest standards of honesty in their college work.  Any act that attempts to misrepresent to an instructor or college official the academic work of the student or another student… constitutes academic dishonesty.  Cheating forgery and plagiarism are considered serious offenses and are subject to disciplinary action.”

“Plagiarism is defined as the use of material from another author, whether intentional or unintentional, without referencing or identifying the source material.  If students have any questions as to what constitutes plagiarism, it is their responsibility to get clarification by consulting with the appropriate instructor.”

Please review the full document at http:/// and see me if you have questions.

Office for Services for Students with Disabilities (OSSD):

Building: Academic Village: D-112        Phone: (516) 876-3009

Students seeking accommodations and services must identify themselves to Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (OSSD) and request an appointment to discuss their needs and requests. Students are encouraged to register with OSSD as soon as possible after admission to the College to ensure timely provision of services.

Date and Topic Agenda Asignments
5/23 Originsof Film,Generes,
5/24 Class canceled
5/25 CinemotagraphyMise-en- scèneEditingSound Film Terms and Topics
5/26 Terms Game Show AndIn Class Writing assignment  Style and Structure in Writing
5/27Cuacasians The Jazz Singer Inventing Whiteness by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster
5/30 No class memorial day  
5/31African Americans Medicine for Melencholy
 New Politics of Difference by Cornel West
6/1Native Americas Smoke Signals
Dear John Wayne by Sherman AlexieEssay Due
6/2Asians The Mask of Fu Manchu  The Legacy of Fu-Manchu – from “Writing Manhood in Back and Yellow Ralph Ellison, Frank Chin, and the Literary Politics of Identity” by Daniel Chin
6/3Latinos Scarface Imagined Bordersby Noriega AndAn unfortunate icon by Damarys Ocaña
6/6Arabs The Siege Arabs and Muslims in Hollywood: Breaking Down the Siege by Kenza Oumlilextra-  Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People by Jack Sheheen
6/7Class Winters Bone
Hollywood’s Class Warfare by A.O. Scott
6/8Femininity Tomb Raider Visual Pleasure in Narrative Cinema by Laura MulveyAnd Is Lara Croft Sexist
6/9Masculinity Superbad Feminized Men or Non-Hegemonic Masculinity (to be read for 6/9 and 6/10)From

The Masculinity Studies Reader- editors Rachel Adams and  David Savran 

Superbad- A Fine Bromanceby Richard Corlis (Time Magazine)

It’s, Like, a Buddy Film by, Like, Buddies by Michael Cieply (NYTimes)

Bruno and Bromances: Modern Masculinity go to the Movies by Caroline Hagood (Huffington Post)

6/10 Sexuality Trans America Feminized Men or Non-Hegemonic Masculinity

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