Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2023
Units: 4
Hours: 4 lecture, 1 laboratory per week (60 total per quarter)
Advisory: Not open to students with credit in F TV 1, MDIA 1 or VART 1.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Area I: Humanities
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the interchange of film history and technology and the influence of both upon cinematic form.
  • Critically analyze the formal properties of film (such as editing, narrative structure, mise en scene, sound design and cinematography) through different ideological perspectives.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in cinematic language through critique and written analysis of film.


A survey of the language, technology, theory, and aesthetics of the moving image as an art form, with an emphasis on the critical analysis of film and media. The honors section offers an enriched and rigorous study in film analysis and introductory film theory. Completion of the honors section requires in-depth analytic readings and completion of critical analysis essays. Assessment of exams and essays is rigorous. Strongly suggested for students planning to transfer to a four-year college or university in film and media studies.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:

  1. Identify and describe cinematic technique and terminology
  2. Critically analyze the formal properties of film (such as editing, narrative structure, mise en scene, sound design, and cinematography) through a variety of ideological perspectives
  3. Recognize important historical film movements (such as German Expressionist cinema, French New Wave, and Cinema Verite) and their impact on cinematic form and ideology
  4. Identify the aesthetic and historic relationships between film and other art forms and movements of the 20th century
  5. Identify a range of film and video technologies (such as film stocks, color technologies, aspect ratios, HD formats) and evaluate their creative use within the film form
  6. Understand the influence of the moving image in shaping values and perceptions in the U.S. and abroad
  7. Examine the writings, research, and experimentation of film artists and theorists and interpret how their ideas have been implemented within the language of moving images
  8. Demonstrate proficiency in cinematic language through critique and written analysis of film
  9. Through research and study of international cinemas and global media, identify contributions to cinematic language made by people from diverse cultures and backgrounds

Course Content

  1. Language of film
    1. Film concepts and terminologies, such as mise en scene, shot descriptions, camera framing, staging, and production design
    2. Editing concepts and terminologies
    3. Cinematography terms and concepts
    4. The aesthetics of sound and music, collision of sound and image, narration
    5. Storytelling, narrative structure, and the script
    6. The aesthetics of color and black and white
  2. Motion picture technologies
    1. Early sound films
    2. Development of color processes, including Technicolor
    3. Aspect ratios and widescreen formats
    4. Visual effects and current special effects technologies
    5. The film production process, including the nature of film as a collaborative medium
    6. Consumer broadcast and media technologies
    7. Future and developing technologies
  3. Critical thinking and film theory
    1. Film genre studies
    2. Multi-cultural, gay, and lesbian cinemas
    3. Feminist film theory
    4. Psychoanalysis
    5. Post-modern cinema
  4. Film histories and their influence
    1. Evolution of narrative fiction, documentary, experimental, and fine art film and video
    2. The history and evolution of the U.S. film business, including the impact of the production code of 1930 and the Paramount Supreme Court decision of 1948
    3. Evolution of the language of editing, contributions of important filmmakers, including E.S. Porter, D.W. Griffith, Lev Kuleshov, Sergei Eisenstein, Dziga Vertov
    4. Major international film movements (including German Expressionism, French New Wave, and Cinema Verite) and contributions of filmmakers to the art of the moving image
    5. Major film genres and their evolution
    6. Developments in experimental, third world cinemas, and global media

Lab Content

Screenings of films and videos either on campus or via the internet, including narrative fiction, fine art, and documentary, for completion of written assignments.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

1. Forum-type room with projection booth, video projection system, amplified sound system. Internet access and laptop computer patch to system. Playback equipment formats required: Blu-ray, DVD.
2. Library for film research, books, scripts, videotape/DVD playback facility.
3. When taught via Foothill Online Learning: on-going access to computer with email software and capabilities, email address, JavaScript-enabled internet browsing software, and videotape viewing ability as stated in 2, above.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

Film analysis writing assignments that require the student to select film(s) from viewing list and construct, develop, and defend an argument referencing the film and the reading materials
Quizzes and exams that reference the reading materials, films, and discussion periods
Written journals and discussion forum when taught via Foothill Online Learning

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

Lectures and presentations that present and examine course objectives
Discussion and critique of assigned reading and representative media
Cooperative learning exercises that require students to apply core media production concepts
Group project presentation followed by in-class discussion and evaluation
Screenings of media that illustrate and support course content

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Barsam, Richard. Looking at Movies: An Introduction to Film. 2021.

Corrigan, Timothy, and Patricia White. The Film Experience: An Introduction. 2020.

Corrigan, Timothy. A Short Guide to Writing About Film. 2014.

Prince, Stephen. Movies and Meaning: An Introduction to Film. 2013.

Bordwell, David, Kristin Thompson, and Jeff Smith. Film Art: An Introduction. 2019.

Braudy, Leo, and Marshall Cohen. Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings. 2016.

Geiger, Jeffrey, and R.L. Rutsky. Film Analysis. 2013.

Although some texts listed are older than the suggested "5 years or newer" standard, they remain seminal texts in this area of study.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

  1. Critical film analyses (approx. 400 words each) in the form of journals or online discussion assignments
  2. Analytical essay (800-1000 words) that requires the student to select film(s) from viewing list and construct, develop, and defend an argument referencing the film and the reading materials
  3. Analytical essay (approx. 1800 words) that requires the student to conduct independent research on a film of their choosing in relation to film form, theory, ideology, or historical issues
  4. Weekly reading assignments from text and modules ranging from 30-60 pages per week


Media Production or Film Studies