The Black Image in Cinema (FMTV-UT 1216)

This is a critical analysis of the Black image in cinema through film screenings, discussions, and selected readings. Film is an art form whose influence dictates how we see others and ourselves. It shapes our worldview and, yet, it is one of the youngest and most misunderstood art forms. On the surface, film viewing might seem like a passive form of learning, but effective films engage us on emotional, intellectual, spiritual, cultural, and political levels. Film is one of the most powerful mediums ever invented and since it’s invention, the Black image and experience has been distorted, demonized, romanticized, erased, appropriated as well as exalted and reified. So, it is our duty and responsibility to know its history, understand its present effects, so we can dictate its future and participate in how the Black image evolves and is treated over time. This course will survey and critically explore an historical range of the Black image on screen and Black films in relation to inspiration, narrative, a scene, set, and site of production. Screening will include a sampling of important Black independently made, and/or Black cast and narrative feature films. We will discuss and analyze specific technical elements (direction, editing, framing and composition, mise-en-scene, music, etc.) that reinforce and demonstrate these larger themes. Accordingly, our discussions and readings will cover the full range of current issues and debates in Black cinema studies, from independence vs. mainstream filmmaking; gender and sexuality; class and color caste; the ghettoization and upwardly mobile integration of urban zones; cooptation and the rise of the bourgeois story as genre, and so on.

Undergrad Film & TV (Undergraduate)
3 credits – 14 Weeks

Sections (Fall 2024)

FMTV-UT 1216-000 (19573)
09/03/2024 – 12/12/2024 Mon
3:00 PM – 6:00 PM (Late afternoon)
at Washington Square
Instructed by Pollard, Jason