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HUMN3205 Detective Films Origins & Evolution of a Genre

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CRS Acad Level: UG

Course #: HUMN3205

Credits: 3

Term: Fall

About the Course:

Although we often view detective films as popular entertainment, the elements of detection — causality (who has done something and why?) and temporality (what happens next?) — are essential not just to cinema, but to all storytelling. This course focuses on the origins and evolution of the detective genre in American and international films from the silent era to the present. The course analyzes enduring works by many of the most influential Hollywood directors (Keaton, Houston, Preminger, Coppola, etc.) as well as examples from the French New Wave, Italian New Realism, Japanese Yakuza, and post-revolutionary Iran. We shall assess these films as individual works, as responses to the conventions of genre, and as reactions to the cultural and historical eras in which they were produced (pre-Hays code, World War II, the Cold War, Vietnam, post-Watergate, etc.). Readings include source material, genre theory, scholarly criticism, and detective fiction. Prerequisites: ENGL1003 or HUMN1001.

Course offered: Fall.

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