Summer Undergraduate Courses

All Cinema Studies Summer 2021 courses will take place online. F term runs May 3 to June 30. S term runs July 4 to August 30. Course details are subject to change. Please check this webpage for the most up-to-date information.

Group A: Foundations

Introduction to film analysis; concepts of film style and narrative. Topics include: documentary, avant-garde, genres, authorship, ideology, and representation.

Day and time: Monday and Wednesday 10:00-12:00 Eastern Time

Delivery Method: Online – Synchronous

Delivery Instructions: Lectures and discussion are online synchronous. Screenings will be online asynchronous. Students need internet connection, access to a web camera, and microphone for participation in online discussions.

Instructor: Daniel McFadden

Exclusion: INI115Y1

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: 1. Creative and Cultural Representations

Group C: Social and Cultural Practices

From anxiety-inducing Public Service Announcements to psychedelic experimental films, from TV news reports to music videos, drugs and media have persistently converged into and shaped one another across the 20th and 21st centuries. Drugs on Film will provide students with a deeper understanding of this fascinating political, social, and aesthetic relationship.

This course is divided into four units. The first three units each consider different drugs: psychedelics, crack cocaine, and opiates. The first unit reckons with the preoccupations by mid-20th-century countercultural filmmakers with psychedelic drugs. Countercultural filmmakers such as Kenneth Anger, Roger Corman, and Alejandro Jodorowsky intertwined cinema and psychedelics in an attempt to leverage their consciousness-altering practices into therapeutic and spiritual advancement. The second unit steps forward to the 1980s to analyze how popular media such as PSAs, local TV news reports, and popular television series stoked racialized fears about crack cocaine. Additionally, this unit considers how Black artists including Kahlil Joseph, Terence Nance, and Khalik Allah have used music videos, television series, and experimental documentaries to interrogate the still unfolding ramifications of America’s war on drugs. The third unit shifts attention to the ongoing opiate crisis. In this unit, the opiate crisis provides the backdrop for understanding both the forces behind addiction’s categorical emergence and slipperiness, as well as cinema’s autobiographical potential for understanding addiction. Finally, in this course’s fourth unit, we will examine two distinct models of substance abuse recovery. This unit will contrast cinematic depictions of twelve-step meetings with Indigenous understandings of healing. Throughout these four units, we will consider significant works of film theory, media studies, critical race theory, addiction studies, and critical theory.

By the end of this course, students should be able to analyze particular historical convergences of drugs and media; discuss openly and sensitively how media have politicized certain forms of drug use; and engage with the aesthetics of drug use through formal analysis.

Day and time: Monday and Thursday 18:00-20:00 Eastern Time

Delivery Method: Online - Synchronous

Delivery Instructions: Both lectures and discussions will be live-streamed and recorded (permitting both synchronous delivery, but also asynchronous attendance) as per the meeting schedule. However, synchronous attendance will be necessary for participation grades, and asynchronous participation should be limited to either catching up on or reviewing materials. Weekly screenings will be online and asynchronous via MyMedia. Students will need a web camera, microphone, and high-speed internet connection for video conferencing, media screenings, and access to Quercus (discussion boards, BB collaborate, etc.).

Instructor: Morgan Harper

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: 3. Society and its Institutions

This second-year course focuses on the horror genre since 1999 as a global phenomenon, a period that has both been dismissed as a low-point for the genre but also, of late, celebrated as the source of a new “Horror Renaissance.” Drawing upon approaches of film history, theory, and philosophy, this course provides students with tools for analyzing the horror genre as a contemporary phenomenon. What is considered frightening, horrific, or haunting today? Why do audiences want to be scared? Why has the family become the subject of so much recent horror, such as The Conjuring, The Babadook, Hereditary, Midsommar, Get Out, Us, etc.? And what can such films teach us about ourselves and the world we inhabit?  

Day and time: Wednesday 13:00-15:00 Eastern Time

Delivery Method: Online – Synchronous

Delivery Instructions: Asynchronous lectures will be posted online each week via links posted to Quercus. Asynchronous screenings will be posted on Quercus as streaming links. A synchronous pre-screening discussion will take place as per the meeting time prior to each screening either on Zoom or on BB Collaborate through Quercus. Students need access to a computer with Internet access, a microphone, and ideally, a webcam.

Instructor:  Erin Mick

Exclusions:  CIN210H1 - Horror Film, INI226H1

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: 3. Society and its Institutions

Focusing on critical auteurs from France, Japan, Germany, Iran, China and Taiwan, this course invites the contemplation of theoretical questions necessary for an understanding of the process and outcome of educational experience. Not only will we probe the success and failures of education discussed in the film narrative, we will also interrogate the (re-)educational effect of various film forms by examining how the viewing experience re-conditions our perception. How do these films, situated in different times, different cultures and different languages, carve out a communal space where we can explore the fundamental questions concerning the existential, psychological and moral difficulties in education, while preserving the significance and specificity of the characters and their lived experiences? And if that which is worth learning cannot be taught, where does that leave us?

Combining attentive formal analysis with an openness to engaging with the philosophical and aesthetic problems raised in the texts, we will study both these films’ explicit portrayal of children, youth and adults – their autonomy and confusion, growth and suffering – as well as the cinematic techniques that the films employ to comment on its own diegesis and compel us to see and think differently. The films selected will include but are not limited to the following: King of the Children by Chen Kaige, A Summer at Grandpa’s by Hou Hsiao-Hsien, The Apple by Samira Makhmalbaf, The White Balloon by Jafar Panahi, and The Wild Child by François Truffaut.

Day and time: Monday and Wednesday 10:00-12:00 Eastern Time

Delivery Method: Online – Synchronous

Delivery Instructions: Lectures will be online synchronous and will include PowerPoint presentations, film clips, and in-class discussions. Live-streamed lectures will be recorded, but synchronous participation is mandatory. Screenings will be online asynchronous and can be accessed through the course website. Students will need a computer, webcam, microphone, and high-speed internet access to use Quercus and BB Collaborate.

Instructor: Ruochen Bo

Prerequisite:  CIN105Y1

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: 1. Creative and Cultural Representations

Group D: Theory and Criticism

This course examines how desire, sociality, and identity are disclosed throughout cinema’s long history of homoeroticism. We will explore how cinematic portrayals of homosociality have coincided with cinema’s erotic gaze, from the paranoid trappings of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope (1948) to the kinetic lushness of Kathryn Bigelow’s Point Break (1991) to the homely bromance of Lynn Shelton’s Humpday (2009). Throughout this course, we move away from the tendency to define homoeroticism as latent homosexuality, and consider it as something richer, weirder, and more uncertain than our vernacular conceptualizations frequently allow. We pay particular attention to how race and gender performance are intimately tied to cinematic renderings of homoeroticism, and how they structure our understanding of the potential desires and pleasures that flow through homosociality. In this course, we are guided by key voices in queer theory (Sedgwick, Edelman), film studies (Mulvey, Oudart, Sobchack), and Black studies (Spillers, Fanon). Each critically elaborates on the enmeshed social, perceptual, and desirous tendencies of homoerotic cinema.

Day and time: Tuesday and Thursday 10:00-12:00 Eastern Time

Delivery Method: Online – Synchronous

Delivery Instructions: Lectures will be delivered online synchronously per meeting schedule. Screenings will be online and asynchronous, but will be coordinated with lectures. Students need access to high-speed internet service and the ability to use Blackboard Collaborate on Quercus.

Instructor: Samuel Reimer

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: 1. Creative and Cultural Representations

What makes media “stars” persistently fascinating to us individually and collectively? How are they created and sustained? How does stardom overlap with celebrity? Using an array of screen performances, the purpose of this course is to understand the wide-ranging nuances and repertoires of acting styles spanning historical periods, and to interrogate the affective resonances produced by these stylistic differences.

Drawing from a historically and critically diverse set of film performances and theoretical texts, this class will explore the cultural phenomenon of screen stardom, acting, celebrity, and the performance of star personas. This course is an extensive introduction to screen stardom spanning historical studio-era Hollywood to post-studio stardom and contemporary media celebrity. Stardom is a lens to interrogate modes of performance, acting, identity, and media consumption practices. Stardom as dynamic social, industrial, aesthetic, and cultural processes continue to fascinate us and to draw our eyes upon its continuing evolutions. As well, this course will dissect some distinctive star performance styles to understand their performative labours. One (or more) live-interviews with known celebrity personalities will offer fresh perspectives on stardom.

Key theorists we will read include Richard Dyer, Edgar Morin, Richard De Cordova, James Naremore, Cynthia Baron, Diana Taylor, Lisa Bode, Judith Butler, etc. 

Some representative stars/performances we will be examining include: Bette Davis, Cary Grant, Barbara Stanwyck, Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, Shelley Winters, Charlize Theron, Keanu Reeves, Isabella Rossellini, Anna Magnani, Jennifer Lopez, Harrison Ford, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, etc. 

Diversity-inclusive content and alternative stardoms will be included. New media stardoms (such as TikTok stardom and social media) bringing us up-to-the-moment will also be included. In a time when some critics argue that mainstream cinema no longer needs “stars”—this course interrogates the meaning of stars and stardom, and argues for the persistence of “stardom” in our hyper-mediated digital age. 

Day and time: Thursday 10:00-11:30 Eastern Time

Delivery Method: Online – Synchronous

Delivery Instruction: Discussion meetings will be online synchronous as per meeting schedule; students are required to attend the live discussion. Lectures and screenings will be online asynchronous. Students need high-speed internet for streaming and video conferencing, access to a web camera and microphone, and the ability to use functions within Quercus (e.g., submitting Assignments, accessing files, participating in Discussion Boards, and operating BB Collaborate, etc.).

Instructor: Denise Mok

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: 1. Creative and Cultural Representations

Jean-Marie Straub has said of the films he made with his partner, Danièle Huillet, "We make our films so that audiences can walk out of them." Challenging, forbidding, difficult: the films surveyed in this course attract these and similar epithets like university libraries attract rats. Examining a range of modernist practices designed to provoke a Brechtian estrangement effect (Verfremdungseffekt) in the spectator, this course will pursue three related questions: is difficulty an aesthetic virtue in itself or is it valid only as a means to some other end? Do some difficult films have a revolutionary political potential or can they be recuperated by bourgeois ideology as so many masterpieces to be consumed by a connoisseur audience? And is difficulty a quality inherent in certain films or is it a critical construct whose definition changes over time and space? The films studied in this course include Gertrud (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1964), The Headless Woman (Lucrecia Martel, 2008), History Lessons (Huillet and Straub, 1972), New Babylon (Grigori Kozintsev/Leonid Trauberg, 1929), Night and Fog in Japan (Oshima Nagisa, 1960), Sweet Movie (Dušan Makavejev, 1974), Tribulation 99: Alien Anomalies Under America (Craig Baldwin, 1991), and Wavelength (Michael Snow, 1967).

Day and time: Monday and Thursday 18:00-20:00 Eastern Time

Delivery Method: Online – Synchronous

Delivery Instructions: Lectures and discussion periods will be delivered synchronously through Quercus per the meeting schedule. Films will be made available through Quercus one week prior to class for asynchronous viewing. Students will need access to high-speed internet, a web camera, and microphone to participate in Blackboard Collaborate discussions.

Instructor: Michael Sooriyakumaran

Prerequisite: CIN105Y1, CIN201Y1

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: 2. Thought, Belief and Behaviour

Group E: History and Nation

This course is inspired by, and comments on, the tradition of the “Grand Tour” of Italy, of which it follows the commonest trajectory from North to South in the attempt of recreating the experience of the many illustrious grand tourists who traced it. We will see Venice, Florence, and Rome, through the lenses of many great filmmakers who, across the decades, have engaged with their unique urban fabric, their monuments and landmarks, their streets, their culture, and their climate. We will ponder the implications of location shooting, the ethics of geographic manipulations, the idea of the city as character or as genre, and the phenomenon of cinematic tourism. The selected readings are compiled from an array of sources that include film studies, urban studies, literary fiction and non-fiction, art treatises, and poetry. This variety is intended to provide us with information on the films screened, as well as on the many clips and excerpts we will watch, but also on the cultural climate that influenced the filmmakers’ perception of the cities in which they were shooting and their relation with the classic texts of the Grand Tour. Taught in English and including film screenings.

The course is offered through the Virtual Summer Abroad program. Applications are now open. 

Course dates: August 3 to September 2, 2021

Instructor: Alberto Zambenedetti

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: 1. Creative and Cultural Representations

Recent European history is characterized by a backlash against multiculturalism and the mainstreaming of Islamophobia on both ends of the political and popular spectrum: In 2010, German chancellor Angela Merkel declared that multiculturalism in Germany had “utterly failed.” A range of international and European academic writers, such as Samuel Huntington, Bassam Tibi, and Gisèle Littman, have made careers as public intellectuals prophesying a ‘clash of civilizations’ between supposedly ahistorical axes, ‘the West’ and/vs. ‘Islam’, or bemoaning Europe’s crouching transformation into Eurabia. And, in much the same way, the European New Right is rebranding identitarian and Islamophobic sensibilities (and conspiracies) as socially acceptable critical thinking. European film studies have only indirectly addressed the question of how these twin phenomena of backlash and mainstreaming actually achieve popular cinematic and televisual form; the field’s overwhelming focus rests on the ‘good objects’ of oppositional and democratic art film practice.

In response, our first goal in this course is re-evaluative: to ask whether some of the canonical ‘good objects’ of European film studies – films hailed for their progressive agendas or political commentary such as Head-On, Ae Fond Kiss…, Layla M., and Divines – might actually be more ambiguous and troublingly populist. Secondly, we will interrogate to what extent certain commercial genre series – such as Élite, Turkish for Beginners, and Dogs of Berlin – derive their entertainment from blatantly Orientalist and Islamophobic structures, and what that implies about the relationship between politics and aesthetics, culture and imperialism. Overall, this course is designed as an introduction to European, and especially German, cultural and cinematic representational practices surrounding multiculturalism and Islam, as well as key concepts of transdisciplinary cultural theory that include Orientalism, identity, affect, populism, Islamophobia, and secularism, but also more recent theories of the post/human, the new materialisms, and (de)coloniality.

Day and time: Tuesday and Thursday, 15:00-17:00 Eastern Time

Delivery Method: Online – Synchronous

Delivery Instruction: Lectures will be online synchronous and followed by class discussion in seminar format. While lectures will be recorded, synchronous attendance and participation are mandatory. Screenings will be asynchronous and accessible through Quercus. Students will need a steady internet connection, a functional webcam, and microphone to access screenings as well as Zoom and PowerPoint, which are downloadable applications through the University of Toronto.

Instructor: Christian Zeitz

Prerequisite: CIN105Y1

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: 1. Creative and Cultural Representations