The Hollywood musical is one of the most popular genres of classical Hollywood cinema. A creative amalgam of American entertainment culture, it brings together the medium of film with other forms of ... read more
The Hollywood musical is one of the most popular genres of classical Hollywood cinema. A creative amalgam of American entertainment culture, it brings together the medium of film with other forms of popular entertainment such as music, dance, vaudeville and theater to constitute a new form with its very own rules, formal conventions, and narrative and affective strategies. The musical's popularity arises from its spectacular interplay of music and dance, movement and color; but a great part of its cultural significance lies also in the genre's its playful integration of various forms of cultural expression, and its theatrical negotiation of social values and attitudes concerning gender, race, and the representation of the body.
The seminar combines an introduction to the form and history of the genre with an examination of key debates and arguments relating to its formal conventions, genre theory, and theories of gender and the study of the body. Viewing and discussing films from the beginnings of the genre in early sound film to the classics of the last years of the Hollywood studio system, and reading relevant critical and theoretical texts, we will examine the form and structure of the film musical, its cultural elements and influences, the development of the genre and its function in American culture. In particular, we will investigate how the film musical represents and negotiates notions of gender and social identity, how it constructs the body as gendered and racial body in performative productions of identity. Students will be introduced to American film history, genre theory, and the basics of film analysis, and will examine film theory's arguments on the representation of gender in Hollywood cinema, as well as key arguments of gender theory and approaches to the cultural study of the bodyh.
Course requirements: Preparation of reading assignments, viewing the assigned films, participation in an expert group, oral presentation, and a term paper. There is a screening of each session's film before class. The course will be held in English. close