Although the film program is housed within the English department, the film minor is interdisciplinary, involving collaboration and cross-pollination among a number of departments and programs. The classes that are run through the English department focus mainly on analysis, treating films as texts. But since films can illustrate much about the historical and cultural contexts in which they were produced, studying film can add a dimension to any course of study; and anyone can minor in film, regardless of major.
Film as a medium has been used for an endless variety of purposes: films entertain us and provide a temporary escape into the lives of others; but they can deliver messages about life and philosophy; and they can be used to enlighten and inform. Film is an art form and its aesthetics capture us: for a couple hours or so, we are part of the microcosm that it creates and that our minds temporarily treat as reality.
Studying film is a multifaceted endeavor that encompasses an understanding of cultural, historical and technological contexts. Even a film with the sole purpose of entertainment can relate a lot of information about humanity’s concern at the time. For example, the optimistic, extravagantly happy worlds of many of the films made during the great depression offer a stark contrast to the public's general state of poverty and pessimism.
As a medium that engages psychology, history, politics, culture, emotion and aesthetics, film has become one of the most influential and beloved art forms, and individual films have become time capsules of cultures at particular moments in time.
Link to Department of English home page
Link to Department of Communication and Film Studies home page
Link to The Gifford Family Theatre's Summer Arts Institute