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FILM UN2190 Topics in American Cinema. 3 points.

Once associated with images of fishnet-costumed fans of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the concept of the “cult film” has gone increasingly mainstream in recent years. This course seeks to assess the popularization of the phenomenon, asking: what exactly is a cult film? And what does the mainstreaming of the concept suggest about our changing relation to today’s media environment?,

Whereas most types of film can be defined through widely recognized elements of story and setting (tumbleweed, deserts, gunfights: it’s a western), this is far from being the case with cult. Some have defined the cult film as “created” by audiences (again, Rocky Horror); others in terms of nonclassical or aberrant modes of textuality (e.g., various forms of “bad taste” cinema). This course, however, seeks to go beyond audience- and text-based definitions, instead placing cult within a series of historical contexts:,

as an outgrowth of film industry practices that sustained the low cultural status of certain movie types during the classical Hollywood cinema (e.g., B movies, exploitation, etc.);,as the product of audience reception practices, shaped by the politics of cultural taste and “camp” viewing practices that first coalesced during the “midnight movie” phenomenon of the late 1960s/1970s;,as sustained by the transnational flow of media content, offering new frameworks for understanding “national” cinemas.,

In offering such an approach, this course seeks to isolate the different uses to which “cult” has been put, in order to indicate how pervasive and adaptable the idea has recently become. As we will see, the cult phenomenon implies both a perspective on the past, hence inseparable from the experience of nostalgia, as well as an engagement with our media-driven present.,

Spring 2018: FILM UN2190
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
FILM 2190 001/74412 M 1:10pm - 2:25pm
Kob Lenfest Center For The Arts
Robert King 3 77/100
FILM 2190 001/74412 W 1:10pm - 3:55pm
Kob Lenfest Center For The Arts
Robert King 3 77/100
Fall 2018: FILM UN2190
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
FILM 2190 001/24208 M 10:00am - 1:45pm
511 Dodge Building
James Schamus 3 13/65