Film Aesthetics & Analysis
Spring 2008
CRN 10794

Mondays & Wednesdays, 5:30 to 6:45 p.m.
101 Kell Hall

Mr. Bryan Cardinale-Powell
Room 817-A, One Park Place

Office Hours:
Mondays & Wednesdays, 3 to 5 p.m., or by appointment

Course Description:
This course lays a foundation for the study of motion pictures and their important contributions to cultural and social discourse. Assigned readings, movie screenings and class discussions will introduce students to vocabulary, concepts, and perspectives helpful in the critical study of motion pictures. Our aim is to examine the various ways meanings are generated by the film viewing experience. This knowledge is then put to use in the completion of exams and essay assignments which offer each student opportunities to develop and demonstrate his or her own ability to discuss a film’s potential meanings and the manner in which these messages are conveyed.

Course Objectives:
Upon successful completion of this course, the student should be able to demonstrate the following:
  • familiarity with terminology useful in the description and analysis of films;
  • the ability to identify and explain a variety of codes and conventions deployed in movies;
  • an awareness that various aspects of the film experience and movie culture may be mobilized in order to explain the variety of meanings associated with any given film text;
  • the ability to apply his or her knowledge in a written analysis of a film text.

Required Texts:
  • Corrigan, Timothy and Patricia White. The Film Experience: An Introduction. Bedford/St. Martin’s: Boston, 2004.
  • Coursepack. Available for purchase through The Printshop on Decatur Street. Place your order online here.
As deemed necessary by the instructor, additional readings may be assigned during the term. Any additional readings either will be distributed in class or electronically via email. More information will be provided as necessary.

Readings assigned for this course were selected to complement class activities and screenings. Therefore, reading assignments should be completed before attending class.

Course Requirements:
In addition to the assigned readings mentioned above, student requirements for this course include the following:
  • Attendance and participation in classroom activities/discussions
  • Quizzes
  • Mid-term Exam
  • Term Paper
  • Final Exam
Attendance and Participation: Each student is entitled to two unexcused absences, but keep in mind that failure to attend class is the best way to fail class. Your attendance is expected and will be monitored.

Quizzes: Students will complete short pop quizzes at the discretion of the instructor. These quizzes will cover reading material assigned for that class session and will likely include multiple choice, matching, and short answer questions.

Mid-term exam: The mid-term exam will focus primarily on vocabulary and formal elements of film design. It will likely include multiple choice, matching, and short answer questions.

Term paper: Over the duration of the semester, each student will develop an analytical essay that examines closely one film text. This project will occur in three stages, details of which will be distributed as appropriate throughout the semester.

Final exam: The final exam will require students to use examples from class readings and screenings in the completion of short essays.

IMPORTANT! Throughout the semester, class-related information will be communicated via email. To ensure that this works as smoothly as possible, please be sure you have access to your email account, and that you check that account regularly. If you’d rather use a different email address for class-related correspondence, please let the instructor know by the end of the first week of classes.

Plagiarism, cheating, and/or academic dishonesty in any form will not be tolerated in this course. Please refer to the Policy on Academic Honesty available online here for further details.


Students will earn final grades based on the following formula:

10% Attendance
10% Quizzes
25% Mid-term exam
30% Term paper
25% Final exam

Assignment scores and calculated totals will correspond to letter grades according to the following scale:
94-100 A 75-78 C+
90-93 A- 72-74 C
86-89 B+ 68-71 C-
83-85 B 60-67 D
79-82 B- 0-59 F

Withdrawal Policy:
There is a new withdrawal policy for all undergraduates starting Fall 2006: All undergraduates are allowed to withdraw with a grade of "W" a maximum of six times in their entire careers at Georgia State. Students who exceed the limit will automatically receive a grade of "WF" which will count as an "F" for GPA calculations. Withdrawals taken before Fall 2006 will not count against the limit and neither will hardship withdrawals, withdrawals at other institutions or withdrawals after the midpoint. Withdrawals after the semester midpoint are automatically given a grade of "WF."

To avoid withdrawals, a student is encouraged to attend class regularly and complete every assignment on time. Students should seek the instructor via e-mail or during office hours to discuss any problems with the course. A student who does not perform well in class and/or on assignments and exams will be sent an e-mail by the instructor seeking a meeting to discuss any problem(s) the student is having with the course. The purpose of the meeting will be to remedy the problem(s) and allow the student to find ways to succeed in this course.

The department of communication's Undergraduate Studies Office will also be notified of apparent student underperformance, and an advisor will be available to provide confidential mentorship or to put you in contact with other university resources that can help you navigate this class. At any time in the semester a student can seek an appointment for an advisement session with the Undergraduate Studies Office by sending an e-mail to or by going to 835 One Park Place.

March 3rd is the last day students can withdraw from this class and receive a grade of W. If you choose to withdraw from this course, please be sure to follow the Registrar’s procedure to make sure your withdrawal is official before the deadline, otherwise you will receive an F for the course.

Make-up exams and grades of Incomplete (I) are reserved solely for verifiable hardships.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at any time during the semester to discuss your classroom performance. However, I will not disclose any grades via email.

They’re your grades. You earn them.