English 166

Special Topics: Hitchcock and His Artistic Children


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Spring 2005 Miller, D.A.
Miller, D.A.
MW 11-12:30 in 300 Wheeler, plus film screenings Mondays 5-8 P.M. in 300 Wheeler 300 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Gianetti, L.: Understanding Movies; Rothman, W.: Hitchcock: The Murderous Gaze; Spoto, D.: The Art of Alfred Hitchcock; Truffaut, F.: Hitchcock; plus course reader including texts by Bellour, Bonitzer, Edelman, Miller, Modleski, Mulvey, and Rose

Description

Unique among Hollywood directors, Hitchcock played on two boards. As a master of entertainment who had nothing to say, he produced work as thoroughly trivial as it was utterly compelling. But thanks to the French reception of his work in the 1950s, Hitchcock also came to be considered a master of art, the Auteur par excellence. If his films had nothing to say, they hardly needed to; in their unparalleled formal originality, they distilled the pure essence of cinema itself. The course will focus on this dialectic between entertainment and art, between saying nothing and being everything, from two vantage-points: (1) from within Hitchcock's own body of work, and (2) from in-between that body and certain art films engendered by it. Within Hitchcock's work, we shall pay particular attention to a Style that is, on the one hand, commodified as a 'touch' that all can recognize, and, on the other, recessed in strange, inconsequential, gibberish-making details that, far from courting recognition, seem to defy it. Among Hitchcock's 'artistic children,' we will focus most on Claude Chabrol, the still-working director in whom (the instructor is mystical enough to think) Hitchcock remains thrillingly alive.

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