Film Studies

Film Studies courses examine the following aspects of film:

  • Aesthetics
  • History
  • Theory
  • Genre (film noir, horror, biopics, musicals)
  • Directors (eg. Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Clint Eastwood)
  • Special Topics (such as Women and Film and African Americans and Film)

Film studies courses examine films the way that Literature courses study literature, considering:

  • how film uses a language of its own to create an experience for the spectator
  • how to understand that experience in all its dimensions
  • how film is influenced by culture, other arts, and the industries and personalities that produce it

Our track also offers a world film history sequence, a course on film and literature, and courses on decades and eras in American film history. Graduate students may take courses for graduate credit, as well as develop Masters theses on film-related topics.

Students who wish to pursue their interest in film outside of class are encouraged to participate in the Film Studies Club.
For more information, contact:
Dennis Bingham
CA 501V

Film Studies Courses

FILM–W 260 Film Criticism
Viewing and critiquing current films, with emphasis on the quality of production and direction. Contemporary films are viewed; papers serve as a basis for discussion during class. Students will be expected to pay for their movie admissions.

FILM–C 292 An Introduction to Film
Nature of film technique and film language; analysis of specific films; major historical, theoretical, and critical developments in film and film study from the beginnings of cinema to the present. This is a Core Curriculum course. 

FILM C--350 Film Noir
Private detectives, femmes fatales, dark, shadowy criminal underworlds. But what, really, is Film Noir? A genre? A historical cycle? A style? Film scholars don't agree. Iconic noirs of the 1940s and 1950s lurk here alongside international examples, precursors, and contemporary neo-noirs.

FILM C351 Musicals
A study of the genre from the dawn of "talkies" to the Glee era; the film musical in its folk, fairy tale, and show business variants; the "organic" musical; Busby Berkeley; Astaire and Rogers; the Freed Unit at M-G-M; Broadway adaptations; revisionist musicals; revival in the 2000s: All will be covered.

FILM--C352 Biopics
A highly respectable genre of very low repute; the "Great Man" biopic, the Female Biopic and the historical stages of both; the minority appropriation; the "biopic of somebody who doesn't deserve one," and more. Come have the time of someone else's life.

FILM--C361 Hollywood Studio Era 1930-1949
Hollywood's "Golden Age"; "pre-Code" era; genres, auteurs, and stars; "House style"; "mass audience" when that meant something; the House Un-American Activities Committee and the Hollywood Ten; the U.S. vs. Paramount decision and other factors that ended the era.

FILM--C362 Hollywood in the 1950s
A period of transition and reinvention. Television, the blacklist, widescreen, Method acting, psychological realism, the decline of the Production Code, the influence of art cinema; iconic films from Sunset Blvd. to Some Like It Hot, Singin' in the Rain to The Searchers, Rebel Without a Cause to On the Waterfront.

FILM--C380 French Cinema
Arguably the world's most fervid and versatile film culture; the first public film showings; the first fantasy/science fiction films; the wide-screen lens; the idea of film noir, the Auteur Theory, the New Wave; philosophy and aesthetics, culture and politics; the cross-pollenation between French and U.S. cinemas.

FILM–C 390 The Film and Society: Topics
Film and politics; race and gender; social influences of the cinema; rise of the film industry. May be repeated once with different topic. Topics have included African Americans and Film, War and Cinema, Silent Cinema, and American Film in the 1990s.

FILM–C 391 The Film: Theory and Aesthetics
Film form and techniques; aesthetic and critical theories of the cinema; relationships between film movements and literary and artistic movements; relationships of word and image; analysis of significant motion pictures.

FILM–C 392 Genre Study in Film
Problems of definition; the evolution of film genres such as criminal or social drama, comedy, the western, science fiction, horror, or documentary film; themes, subject matter, conventions, and iconography peculiar to given genres; relationship of film genres to literary genres. Focus on one specific genre each time the course is offered. May be repeated once with different topic.

FILM–C 393 History of European and American Films I
C393 is a survey of the development of cinema from its beginnings in 1895 to approximately 1949. We will see classic films in their historical, political, and social contexts. The class includes the silent era and the coming of sound in the late 1920s. We then survey the Golden Age of Hollywood, and world cinema before, during, and immediately after World War II, including movements such as French Poetic Realism, the postwar renaissance in countries such as Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom, and the fall of the Hollywood Studio System.

FILM–C 394 History of European and American Films II
C394 is a survey of world cinema from about 1950 to the present. Attention will be paid to the representative work of leading filmmakers; the emergence of film movements, from the French New Wave to the New Hollywood Cinema; and the growth of cinema internationally, from European countries such as Italy, France, and Germany, to cinemas of Japan, China, Hong Kong, Iran, and South America. We will study the effect on cinema of changing technologies, from television and home video to the digital revolution.

FILM–C 491 Authorship and Cinema
Study of the work of one or more film artists. Attention paid to the style, themes, and methods that make the filmmaker’s work unique. Filmmakers studied in the contexts of film traditions, ideologies, and industries that informed their work. May be repeated once with a different topic.

FILM–C 493 Film Adaptations of Literature
Analysis of the processes and problems involved in turning a literary work (novel, play, or poem) into a screenplay and then into a film. Close study of literary and film techniques and short exercises in adaptation.

Film Studies Requirements

English majors must take at least 15 hours of 300/400 level courses in the major. A minimum grade of C is required in each course in this concentration.

Gateway Course (3 cr.)
Film C292 Introduction to Film Studies (formerly ENG C190 Introduction to Film Studies, which will also count for this requirement)

Film Theory Course (3 cr.)
Film C391 The Film: Theory and Aesthetics

Culture and Film History Courses (6 cr.)
- Film C390 The Film and Society: Topics (Variable subjects)
- Film C393 History of European and American Films I
- Film C394 History of European and American Films II
- American Film Decades (so far; others are taught under C390):
- FILM C361 Hollywood Studio Era 1930-1949
- FILM C362 Hollywood in the 1950s
- FILM C380 French Cinema

Genres and Authorship Courses (6 cr.)
- FILM C392 Genre Study in Film (Variable Subjects)
- FILM C350 Film Noir
- FILM C351 Musicals
- FILM C352 Biopic
- FILM C491 Authorship and Cinema (Variable Subjects)

Film, Writing, and Literature Course (3 cr.)
- Eng W260 Film Criticism
- Eng W302 Screenwriting
- Film C493 Film Adaptations of Literature

English Experience (9 cr.)
Choose one from each category (must be 200 level or above):
- Linguistics (including ENG W310 Language and Study of Writing)
- Literature
- Writing or Creative Writing (excluding ENG W260 Film Criticism, ENG W302 Screenwriting, ENG W396 Writing Fellows Training Seminar, and ENG E398 Internship in Writing)

Capstone Seminar (3 cr.)
Choose from:
- ENG E398 Internship in English
- ENG E450 Capstone Seminar
- ENG W426 Writing Nonfiction: Popular and Professional Publication
- ENG 496 Writing Tutor Training Seminar
- ENG L440 Senior Seminar in English and American Literature
- ENG L433 Conversations with Shakespeare
Interested in a Minor in Film Studies?

Film Studies Opportunities

The Film Society at IUPUI

The Film Society at IUPUI provides comraderie and scheduled group screenings followed by discussion.
For more information, contact:

Dennis Bingham, Professor of English
Phone: 317-274-9825

Library Resources

A wonderful collection of film studies journals, websites, and references available via the IUPUI library system. A librarian is also available to contact for assistance.

Possible Careers

A number of careers are possible for a Film Studies major:

Film editor
Cinema/Theater manager
Arts Administrator
University professor
Script supervisor
Film preservationist
Hgh School teacher