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Film at Summer Classics 2017

One Theme, Three Seminars

The Western: The Cowboy and His Role in Shaping the American Vision Through Cinema  

July 2-7

Formation of a Genre

David Carl and Krishnan Venkatesh

July 9-14

Expanding the Tradition

David Carl and Lise van Boxel

July 16-21

The Last Stand

David Carl and David McDonald

The goal of this class is two-fold: first, to learn to see and understand the art of cinema more deeply through a close study of some of the greatest examples of “The Western” movie by some of cinema’s most important directors; and second, to deepen our understanding of the art of cinema through the analysis of technical aspects of filmmaking, such as camera work, editing, mis-en-scene, visual effects, landscape, and narrative. We will also study the evolution of The Western as a uniquely American film genre and the figure of the cowboy and the changing ideas and ideals of heroism that attach to his character. We will consider how these films reflect aesthetic, social, and philosophical concerns such as the conflict between good and evil, the notion of social responsibility, and themes related to the questions of heroism, the use of violence, and moral conflict. Is the cowboy a uniquely “American” hero? If so, how does he or she differ from the figure of the hero in other examples of world literature? If not, what common themes of heroism emerge from our study of “The Western” as a film genre?

Participants may enroll in any one, two, or all three of the seminar weeks. Each week will be a self-contained, individualized curriculum, which, taken together, will offer a 65-year survey of the evolution of the Western over the course of the history of cinema itself, from the 1930s to the 21st century. Tuition for a film seminar is the same as other Summer Classics seminars.

Participants should view all movies before arriving on campus. Copies of the films and a suitable viewing area will be available for students’ use during their time on campus. Participants do not need their own copies of the film while on campus. The College will provide films for classroom use. If you need assistance viewing the films before arriving on campus, please contact Summer Classics at santafe.classics(at)sjc.edu. Tuition for a film seminar is the same as other Summer Classics seminars.