History of Russian Cinema

Description: Lecture, three hours; discussion, one hour; film screening, two hours. Key works, names, events, and concepts of Russian cinematic tradition. Development of skills in analyzing and interpreting films and acquisition of critical terminology of film studies. How film form and aesthetics are conditioned by technology, ideology, economics, theory, tradition, and culture. How cinema in Russia has created and contested narratives of history and identity, how cinema has served interests of state, and how it has defied them. P/NP or letter grading.

Units: 5.0
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Overall Rating 4.0
Easiness 4.9/ 5
Clarity 4.0/ 5
Workload 4.3/ 5
Helpfulness 4.0/ 5
Most Helpful Review
Fall 2021 - I think the historical grade distributions speak for themselves. This class is not only an easy A but an easy A+. Grading is based on quizzes, participation, film diaries, a midterm paper, and a final assignment. Nothing is done under a strict time constraint, making it a class that you can put on the back burner for weeks on end. Quizzes have no time limit and simply test whether you have paid the slightest bit of attention to the syllabus/prescribed films. Participation comes from posting to the course Slack page. If you are the kind of person to wait until the last minute to complete assignments, this grading category will work splendidly in your favor: the overwhelming majority made their first and last posts in the Slack page during finals week. The film diaries can be whatever you want them to be, as long as they're around 250 words long and show that you've engaged with the films from class. You can literally write down bullet points on a film as you watch it and get full credit. 5 are mandatory, and the other 5 count for 2% extra credit toward your final course grade if you elect to do them. Let me pause for a moment to draw your attention to that last sentence. You can get a total of 10% extra credit toward your final grade just by writing down bulleted notes for 5 five films. For perspective, since I did well on my midterm paper, I only needed to get somewhere in the 50's or 60's on the final to get an A in the class. All because of the extra credit. And that's pretty wild. The midterm paper tasks you with analyzing a scene from a prescribed film. Focusing on the stylistic devices the directors employ—cinematography, mise en scène, and editing—you discuss how the scene contributes to the meaning of the film in under 1000 words. This counts for 25% of your grade. If you play your cards right and get a good grade in this assignment, you can literally fail the final and get an A in the class. For the final, you can either write a 6-to 8-page research paper comparing/contrasting any element of any two films from the class or do a creative project with an accompanying explanation of your stylistic choices. This counts for 40% of your final grade. Although I paid minimal attention to this class and nearly never attended lecture or discussion, I very easily got an A+. I found this class interesting and still did my own research and viewings outside of class, but you definitely do not need to pay attention to everything covered in the class to do well. Take this class if you want the easiest (and most interesting) A you have ever achieved.
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