Film & Television Studies 096
Film Noir, the City & Existentialism
Professor Hilary Neroni
How is the city represented on film? Our experience of cities is often conflicted: we feel both a great sense of community and an aching sense of alienation. Cities bring all the elements of humanity, good and bad, into close proximity of each other. Out of the history of film, film noir has emerged as particularly attuned to these extreme social tensions and how they impact and infect us as individuals. Film noir is a type of film that has a dramatic style often marked by stark lighting and intricate plots featuring cynical heroes and detectives that have to get their hands dirty in order to solve the crime. In this course, we look at the history of film noir and the city while studying such films as Double Indemnity, The Big Clock, and Chinatown. We also spend time considering contemporary film and television that either falls into the category of film noir or is influenced by it, including films such as Dark City, Fargo, and Devil in a Blue Dress, and television series such as Breaking Bad, True Detective, and Top of the Lake. To investigate these topics we study existentialism, the philosophy most associated with film noir. This philosophy provides a way to think about the experience of the subject.
World Literature 025
Tales from the Global City
Professor Ignacio Lopez-Vicuna
What conventional boundaries must we transgress in order to form authentic communities? How can we live together as diverse groups of strangers? In the late-20th and early 21st centuries, world cities are crucibles of diversity and mobility, yet globalization and privatization lead to individuals’ isolation and alienation. In this course, we examine the individual’s search for connectedness, purpose, and beauty in the international metropolises of New York, Shanghai, Buenos Aires, and Mexico City through literary fiction and nonfiction, framed by the lenses of urban theory and architecture. Additionally, we consider the extent to which diverse bodies (marked by gender, race and ethnicity, and sexuality) are free (or not) to circulate in urban space, and how.