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.
London: The Global City
Professor Paul Deslandes
This course explores London’s long history as a global city by examining developments from the medieval period to the present. In addition to examining the urban experience of people from a diverse range of backgrounds, it explores London as a site of encounter. Topics covered will include global trade and foreign merchants; travel and tourism; the legacies of empire; immigration; racial violence and racial conflict; museums and the presentation of cultural difference; exhibitions and expositions; food and foodways; and the meanings of multiculturalism. We use a range of source material to uncover the history and the complexity of the city’s past including articles and books by historians of London, primary texts, visual media, and films.