This course aims to teach students how to look at film by concentrating on a genre that is virtually as old as cinema itself: the Western. We will study the classics of the genre as well as its notable mutations in the spaghetti western and the post-modern “global” western. We will also pay attention to the curious historical interplay between the Western, which is almost definitionally American in idea, and the quintessentially Japanese Samurai film. Students will be asked to watch two films a week (one in class, the other on their own) and to participate in classroom discussion, conducted in English.
Introduction to the Western: Sessions 1-2: The Classic Western I screening: John Ford, Stagecoach Every screening will be followed by lecture, discussion, and (beginning in Session 4) class reports. Homework (viewing to be done by students on their own in preparation for the next week’s sessions): George Stevens, Shane (1953) Sessions 3-4: The Classic Western II Screening: Howard Hawks, Red River (1948) Lecture/discussion/reports Homework: Anthony Mann, Winchester 73 (1950), or Nicholas Ray, Johnnie Guitar (1954) Sessions 5-6: Self-reflection in the Classic Western Screening: John Ford, The Searchers (1956) Lecture/discussion/reports Homework: Akira Kurosawa, Yojimbo (1961) or Masaki Kobayashi, Samurai Rebellion (1967) Sessions 7-8: The Spaghetti Western Screening: Sergio Leone, A Fistful of Dollars (1964) Lecture/discussion/reports Homework: John Huston, The Misfits (1961) or Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men (2007) Sessions 9-10: The Western “in decline” Screening: Sam Peckinpah, The Wild Bunch (1969) Homework: Sergio Leone, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966) Sessions 11-12 The Western crosses the border Screening: Christian Vincent, Les Cowboys (2015) Homework: John Ford, My Darlin’ Clementine (1946) or Sergio Leone, Once upon a Time in the West (1968) Session 13 Concluding discussion of My Darlin’ Clementine and Once Upon a Time in the West
Lecture and discussion
discussion, class reports, and short essay
films will be screened in class or watched by students on their own. Critical materials will be provided by the instructor.
Students interested in taking the course should feel free to contact the Professor in advance: firstname.lastname@example.org