Increasingly, fictional film is used as a lens to view the social dynamics of the society that produced the film. Analysts, critics and theorists rely on a variety of conceptual frameworks and models to interpret, analyze and assess these texts and the history of their production and audience reception. These approaches include film studies, culture studies and criticism in the humanities, and content and thematic analysis in the social sciences, as well as philosophic investigations of the arguments made in film.
This connection enables students to explore various aspects of this rich field in different national cinemas. In the First-Year Seminar, The Dreams We See, offered every year, students learn how to analyze selected American box office hits from over the last century as primary historical documents.
In FR 246, students learn to distinguish between modes of representation like realism, surrealism and subjective narratives to see how they reinforce or resist paradigms of class, gender or nationalism. For RUSS 282, it is a given that Russian film reflects sociopolitical issues-as well as artistic and philosophical issues: students explore what artistic choices film-makers made to translate these issues to the screen. In ITAS 320, students examine how works by major Italian film directors respond to aesthetic and cultural debates and reflect the Italian sociohistorical context.