ARH 463/498/598 Cinematic Space: Art, Architecture, and Landscape in Film

From the city to the desert, representations of landscape in cinema often extend beyond the mere “setting” or backdrop for the narrative and become an important character of the film in and of itself. In this course, we will examine a range of films that feature landscape and the creation of cinematic space on-screen as an undeniable presence and persona within the world of the film, without which such a story would not be possible.

Key questions include: How does landscape function in cinema? What are the roles of setting, set design, and architecture in the creation of cinematic space? Furthermore, how can we read cinematic landscape as a cultural artifact, and what do such representations reveal regarding aesthetics and storytelling on screen? Such depictions of landscape and setting reveal an intricate relationship between the external physical world and the internal meanings we create from it.

Students will study cinema as an art form and landscape as both a visual style and narrative device across a wide range of film types and genres. We will make use of documentaries, narrative fiction films, and experimental cinema in order to explore how landscape operates as an underlying protagonist and key visual subject in film. Creative final projects are an option.

Prerequisite(s) for 400 level: A ARH 260, junior or senior standing, 2 upper division film studies courses. Prerequisite(s) for 500 level: graduate student status in any department.
Contact: Dr. Shira Segal, Director of Film Studies Minor