Perspectives on Film

I.     Course Prefix/Number: HUM 260

       Course Name: Perspectives on Film

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course presents different modes of filmmaking. Content includes narrative, documentary, and animation; variety of current critical methodologies for studying film, such as genre theory, authorship theory, star theory, national cinema, feminist film theory, and structuralist theory (hero studies).  IAI F2 908

IV.   Learning Objectives

After completing this class, students will be able to do the following:

  1. Identify different narrative, non-narrative, and documentary modes of filmmaking.
  2. Recognize and evaluate the most recent critical methodologies for examining film (at least three methodologies will be examined).
  3. Develop media literacy by learning to read films as media texts, that is, to be active rather than passive viewers.
  4. Apply concepts and classroom experiences to increase their enjoyment of film outside of class.
  5. Develop their critical thinking and writing skills.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

(This is a list of suggested topics. Instructors may choose to approach this class historically or topically. In your outline of topics please specify the dates on which you will cover specific topics as well as other important dates, such as exams and paper deadlines.)

  1. Modes of Filmmaking
  2. Introduction to the Course
  3. Critical Methodologies for Studying Film: A Brief Overview
  4. Narrative Film: Form and Function
  5. Documentary Film: Form and Function
  6. Animation/The Experimental Film: Form and Function
  7. Genre Theory
  8. What is Genre Theory?
  9. Genre #1: The Conventions of the Western (or horror, sci-fi, musicals)
  10. Interpreting the Western
  11. Genre #2: The Conventions of Film Noir
  12. Interpreting Film Noir
  13. Authorship Theory
  14. What is Authorship Theory?
  15. What makes a Director an Auteur?
  16. Director #1: (s/b director from the past, i.e. Hitchcock, Wilder, Ford)
  17. Director #2: (s/b director from the recent past, i.e. Coppola, Scorsese)
  18. Director #3: (s/b contemporary director, i.e. Spielberg, Lee)
  19. The Director in Contemporary Hollywood
  20. Issues of Creative Control
  21. Corporate Hollywood vs. the Auteur
  22. National Cinema
  23. What is the study of a national cinema?
  24. Introduction to the Cinema of Iran (or France, Australia, China, etc., etc.)
  25. The Cinema of Iran - Continued
  26. The Cinema of Iran - Conclusion

The following are alternative topics for Section IV:

  1. Feminist Film Studies
  2. What is a Feminist Approach to Studying Film?
  3. The Earliest Theories and Writings
  4. Changes in Feminist Film Theory
  5. Issues Regarding Women in Film
  6. Female Characters and the Motion Picture Production Code
  7. Issues Regarding Women in Film
  8. Female Characters in Male-Dominated Genres
  9. The Hero in Cinema
  10. Introduction to the Study of Heroes (A Part of Structuralism)
  11. The Hero’s Journey and the Classic Hollywood Protagonist
  12. The Hero Falls: Protagonists from the Film School Generation
  13. Contemporary Heroes
  14. Hollywood and the Star System
  15. Introduction to Star Studies
  16. What Are the Star System and Star Images?
  17. History of the Star System
  18. Stars as Cultural Barometer
  19. Stars as a Storytelling Technique: How Directors Use Stars

VII.  Methods of Instruction

  1. Lectures and discussion
  2. Small group work
  3. Films
  4. Student presentations and debates
  5. Guest speakers
  6. Field trips may be required

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

(Please include information here about all expectations you have for your students regarding behavior, work, etc. The following are sample topics you may wish to cover. Please be aware that you must require students in this course to produce at least 15 pages of critical written assignments over the course of the semester. These may be assigned in a variety of ways including journals, response papers, field trip projects, etc.)

  1. Attendance
  2. Standards for written work
  3. Quizzes/Exams
  4. Participation
  5. Essays
  6. Final Project
  7. Special policies about make-up exams, late papers, or other matters of concern

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Text(s) such as:

  1. Understanding Movies by Louis Giannetti (10th ed.)
  2. Critical Approaches to Writing About Film by John Moscowitz
  3. Handouts
  4. Films

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

(In this section, please present the percentages or point breakdown of their final grade. The writing assignments should count for at least 40% of the final grade. An example follows.)

  1. Quizzes/Exams……40 points
  2. Essays……40 points
  3. Final project with oral presentation……10 points
  4. Attendance and participation………10 points
  5. Grading scale: 90-100, A…….80-89, B………70-79, C……….60-69……..D

XI.   Other Course Information

Instructor information
Office and office hours:
Email and website:

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.