ARTH 1112 Introduction to Film
Spring 2016

DOWNLOAD PDF of Syllabus here


Professor Sandra Cheng
Office: Namm 602B
Office Hours: Mon 10:00-11:00 am, Tu/Th 9:00-10:00 am and by appointment
Email: (best way to contact me)
Phone: 718-260-5003 (not a good way to contact me)
Class Time/Location: Tuesday & Thursday 11:30 am – 12:45 pm, Atrium 631 (3 credits)

Course Description: An introduction to the history of film from its beginnings in the late nineteenth century to the present. Through illustrated lectures, selected screenings, and discussion, students will develop a historical appreciation of film genres including narrative, documentary, and experimental, and of the legacy of major filmmakers. Changing styles and techniques are outlined chronologically to examine the relationship between film and the visual arts.

Required Textbook: David Bordwell and Kirstin Thompson, Film Art: An Introduction, 10th Edition, McGraw-Hill, 2013  (it is OK to use earlier editions, copies are on reserve in the library) and access to Netflix or Hulu is Recommended

Learning Outcomes:
Students will,
• develop a historical appreciation of film genres including narrative, documentary, and experimental, and of the legacy of important filmmakers,
• learn and use critical tools and vocabulary to analyze cinematic form and content,
• acquire an understanding of different forms, traditions, and styles of filmmaking in different national and international contexts

General Education Learning Outcomes:
• demonstrate an ability to think critically, to distinguish between fact and opinion, in the analysis of different kinds of film,
• demonstrate the ability to evaluate critical and historical materials for the study of film in order to construct a coherent and substantiated argument, written in clear and correct prose,
• develop communication skills and demonstrate the ability to reflect critically on the learning process

Class Expectations: Look and think about what you’re looking at!
Students are responsible for the following: films, cinematic techniques, names, and vocabulary on the handouts, information presented in lecture and assigned readings, including the general historical context for all stylistic periods.

Class participation will be considered in determining final grades.

Screenings: We will watch numerous excerpts in class and occasionally we will attempt to screen an entire film. Due to the time restrictions of our 75-minute meetings, we will begin class promptly and at times, we will begin immediately with a film. Therefore, please arrive to class on time.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Some films that we screen for class contain elements that some viewers might find personally objectionable due to language, references to sex or violence, or political subject matter. Some films are rated R. If you think that you will have difficulties studying such films, it would be better to drop the course.

Website: You must access the class website by logging into CityTech’s OpenLab via /. Instructions on how to signup are on the OpenLab homepage. To access the OpenLab, you will need to register with your CityTech email account (if you have not activated your CityTech email, you need to go to a student helpdesk—i.e., 6th Floor Computer Lab in the General Building). Once you register on the OpenLab, locate my course (Humanities Department, Spring 2016) and ask to join! You need to “join” to be able to post!

Terms and Film List handouts will be distributed each week and posted online. Go to the Documents tab on the website to find the latest handouts. The weekly terms/film lists have the important names, vocabulary, and films that you are responsible for on exams. You will also have access to readings under Documents but these are password-protected (passwords will be provided in class). Although I will show slides of films and images that are not on your handouts or in Bordwell and Thompson’s Film Art, these unlisted works will not be on the exams.


Paper 1: Comparative Film Analysis                                         15%
Paper 2: Film Review                                                                         15%
Paper 3 and Presentation: Director Research Project  20%
Homework                                                                                              10%
Midterm Exam                                                                                      20%
Final Exam                                                                                              20%

PLEASE NOTE: Failure to turn in a paper or submit an exam/assignment will result in a zero (0).

How this adds up. Use the following formula calculate your current grade average:
.15 (paper 1) + .20 (midterm) + .15 (paper 2) + .20 (paper 3 and presentation) + .20 (final) + .10 (homework) = grade
Important Dates:

March 8, Tuesday          Paper #1 DUE
March 15, Tuesday                               Project Proposal DUE
March 24, Thursday                            Midterm Exam
April 5, Tuesday                                     Paper #2 DUE
April 11, Monday                                  Last day to withdraw with W grade
May 10, Tuesday                                   Paper #3 DUE and Presentations
May 19, Thursday                                Final Exam, 11:30 am – 12:45 pm
no incomplete work accepted after this date

Exams:  Exams are worth 40% of your grade. Exams consist of identifications (film name, director or actor, dates, significance of work), short answer questions, and definitions of terms/concepts. The essay component is a take-home exam and will need to be submitted with the midterm and final exam. Make-up exams will only be given for reasons of documented emergency.

Writing Assignments:  Papers are worth 50% of your grade. There are 3 papers for this course. Information on required papers will be given in separate handouts. In short papers, you must avoid using long quotes and aim to put your ideas into your own words. Extensive use of quotes will negatively affect your grade. For long papers, please be sure to properly cite your research.

You can find the “Grading Rubric for Papers” on the class website under Class Downloads. Your paper grade is an evaluation of content, organization, style, and grammar.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You must submit all papers to pass this course. Your papers are submitted through SafeAssign on Blackboard which checks your paper against a Google-like search engine and other student papers on file. You will receive 0 points for your paper if the matching rate exceeds 35%. A matching rate that nears 35% will be carefully checked for plagiarism. Please do not copy and paste from other sources because such practice will adversely affect your grade.

Paper #1: Film Analysis Paper (2-3 pp)
—This paper is a narrative analysis of two films. You will be given a list of film pairs to choose from (some are on reserve and available for viewing in the Media Lab of the CityTech Library).

Paper #2: Film Review (2-3 pp)
 —This paper is a film review. You will be given a list of films to choose from (some available for viewing in the Media Lab of the CityTech Library) or you may choose to screen a film at a movie theater (save your ticket stub!).

Paper #3 and Presentation: Director Research Project  (approx. 6-8 pp)
— This paper is part of your director research project. You will be given a list of directors to choose from. The project has 3 timed components, including a 1-page project proposal, 5-minute in-class presentation with printout of PowerPoint slides, and the final 6-8 pp research paper.

Papers are mandatory, it is unlikely that you will pass the class if you do not turn in the papers.

Late papers will be accepted only if students have received prior approval for late submissions.

Homework: Homework is worth 10% of the grade. Your homework consists of writing blog posts on the class website. Students are responsible for submitting blog posts (200-300 words) and/or comments (100-200 words). Instructions on how to post are located online under Blogging Guidelines. Homework is mandatory.

In-Class Assignments: You will have the opportunity to work in small groups for in-class assignments throughout the semester. Participation in class exercises is mandatory.

Extra Credit: You have the option to do one extra credit project worth 5 points. The extra credit assignment is due by the last lecture BEFORE the final. This is a short written assignments of approx. 1,000 words. If you complete the project well, it is possible to increase your final grade average by 5 points. You will find the extra credit assignment posted on the class website.

Attendance:  Students are expected to attend all classes. More than 3 absences will result in course failure. Excessive lateness will affect your grade. Three late marks equal one absence. See City Tech’s attendance policy below.

Plagiarism and Cheating: Presenting work by others as your own is completely unacceptable.  Plagiarism includes using material from books or the Internet without acknowledging the source as well as submitting something written by someone else.  Either will result in a 0 (zero) for that particular assignment/exam. A second instance will result in an automatic F for the course.

Decorum:  Please turn off your cell phones, beepers, alarms, etc. and no sleeping, internet surfing, txt msgs while in lecture.

The Fine Print:

New York City College of Technology Policy on Academic Integrity:
Students and all others who work with information, ideas, texts, images, music, inventions, and other intellectual property owe their audience and sources accuracy and honesty in using, crediting, and citing sources. As a community of intellectual and professional workers, the College recognizes its responsibility for providing instruction in information literacy and academic integrity, offering models of good practice, and responding vigilantly and appropriately to infractions of academic integrity. Accordingly, academic dishonesty is prohibited in The City University of New York and at New York City College of Technology and is punishable by penalties, including failing grades, suspension, and expulsion.

New York City College of Technology Policy on Attendance
You are expected to attend each class meeting. The college policy allows you to be absent without penalty for no more than 10% of the class instructional hours during the semester; that is 3 absences per semester for a class that meets twice a week. Students who are absent for more than 10% of the hours the course meets are subject to a designation of WU (unofficial withdrawal with penalty) rather than a final grade. The “WU” and “WN” count as an “F” in the computation of the GPA.

Absence from class is defined as any time the student’s physical body is not inside the assigned classroom (whether from non-attendance, lateness, taking unauthorized breaks, or leaving early). Absence is failure to attend any part of a class, from roll call to dismissal.

*Syllabus is subject to change.


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