Spring 2021 - CA 416 D100

Advanced Seminar in Cinema Studies (4)

Required Viewing: Films All Students Should See

Class Number: 8277

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    CA (or FPA) 316 (or 337) or CA (or FPA) 318 (or 335).



Features intensive study and analysis of selected topics in film theory, history, criticism and aesthetics. Examples include: work of specific directors or periods; theories of narrativity; particular aspects of national cinemas, etc. This course can be repeated once for credit if the topic is different. Students with credit for CA (or FPA) 436 may not take this course for further credit.


This course will be taught entirely online via Zoom or Canvas's video function. It will incorporate synchronous and asynchronous elements. Expect to meet during the scheduled class time.

This class will be an intensive "viewing class," in which we watch a number of films that are foundational for a good film education. What will those films be? Well, we will, in part, decide together once the term gets going. See below for a list of other possible films.

The seminar will also be project-based: each student will select a film (or perhaps a filmmaker) to focus on and get to know deeply from a number of different angles: the film's place in historical context, its influences, theoretical takes on the film, etc. The student will then develop a final project on the film to be presented to the class and to be shared online in Canvas. This project can be an essay, web-page, multimedia document, or a combination of all of them. The goal is to not only to come to know the film(maker) from multiple disciplinary perspectives, but to also present an interdisciplinary portrait of the film for the entire class.

The class will require significant independent work and the capacity for self-motivation; participation will make up a significant portion of the grade.


  • Final Project 30%
  • Final project outline/bibliography/progress reports 20%
  • Presentation 20%
  • Participation 30%


Assignments and Grading: The above assignments will be part of the term. NB!: This breakdown/description fo assignments is TENTATIVE. Assignments and the grade breakdown may change and will be finalized by the first week of class.

Films we may watch may include the following. (Note: these are initial thoughts, not a final list). Note that you will not be restricted to this list for your final project..

Jean-Luc Godard, Alphaville and Germany Year Zero

Barbara Kopple, Harlan County, USA

J.P. Sniadecki and Joshua Bonnetta, El mar la mar

Kidlat Tahimik, Turumba

Alain Tanner, Jonah, Who Will be 25 in the Year 2000

Raoul Peck, Lumumba, The Death of a Prophet

Jennie Livingston, Paris is Burning

Andrey Tarkovsky, Sacrifice

Lois Weber, The Blot

Marlon Riggs, Tongues Untied

Michael Haneke, Caché

Fritz Lang, The Testament of Dr. Mabuse


Technical requirements for online learning: Students will need access to internet capable of streaming live seminars and online films. A microphone (such as the built-in mic on a phone or laptop) will be needed for participation. A webcam (such as the built-in cam on your device) may be helpful for participation in tutorials.



All required readings for the class will be provided via Canvas or the library website. All films will be screened online.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).