English 160 - Spring, 2018

Film as Narrative

    Topic: Shooting Fascists

Class Information

Instructor: Stratton, Matthew
CRN: 82533
Time: MW 2:10-5:00
Location: 118 Olson


    The topic of this course is "Shooting Fascists," and will consider how different aesthetic, historical, political, and ethical relationships between "shooting" different kinds of films and "shooting" different kinds of people help to analyze American, British, and European culture from the 1920s to the 2010s. Through a variety of historical and theoretical frameworks, we will see comedy and tragedy, documentary and satire, "propaganda" made by and for fascists and "art" made with the explicit aim of both defeating European fascism and accounting for its legacy and alarming relevance. Troubling distinctions between "propaganda" and "art" and "popular entertainment," we will tackle central questions about how film makers and film audiences can, do, and should respond to what one historian describes as "the major political innovation of the twentieth century, and the source of much of its pain."

    No prior experience with film analysis is required. Class will meet twice per week: Mondays will be entirely devoted to film screenings, and Wednesdays will be a combination of lecture, discussion, and screening. Films will include (in all or part):

    Triumph of the Will / Triumph des Willens (1935); Scipio Africanus: The Defeat of Hannibal / Scipione l'Africano (1937); Olympia (1938); Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939); The Great Dictator (1940); The Man I Married (1940); To Be or Not to Be (1942); Hitler's Madman (1943); Hangmen Also Die! (1943); Rome, Open City / Roma città aperta (1945); The Stranger (1946); Night and Fog / Nuit et brouillard (1956); Kapò (1960); Judgment at Nuremberg (1961); The Spirit of the Beehive / El espíritu de la colmen (1973); Star Wars (1977); The Boys from Brazil (1978); The Nasty Girl / Das schreckliche Mädchen (1990); Schindler's List (1993); Land and Freedom / Tierra y Libertad (1995); Starship Troopers (1997) ; American History X (1998); Downfall / Der Untergang (2004); Sophie Scholl: The Final Days / Die Letzten Tage (2005); Pan's Labyrinth (2006); This is England (2006); Inglourious Basterds (2009); Green Room (2015); and more!


    Short responses, essays, and final exam.


    Sikov, Ed., Film Studies: An Introduction
    Course Reader (free), Canvas
    The Anatomy of Fascism, Robert O. Paxton