Academics Navigation

Courses

Get a feel for the exciting variety of courses taught at Marlboro.

This is a list of courses that faculty felt was representational of the courses offered. It is not a complete list of courses, some courses are offered yearly, while others are infrequent. A course may be inspired by events or strong interests and taught only once.

Most advanced work is in the form of tutorials on specific subjects, a collaboration between one faculty member and one student or a handful of students.

Film

African Cinemas: Close-up on Colonialism
(4.00 Credits — Multi-Level)

Fall 2013
Global Perspective

This course is designed to facilitate learning and critical analysis of how Africans revisit and treat their colonial past. In that regard, the course surveys different issues in order to acquaint students with Africa’s colonial past and the bearing of that legacy on its present and future. Those surveyed issues include violence, Africans’ portrayal by Westerners, the impact of colonialism on local communities (identity, education, language, social organization) and the present-day relationships between African countries and France. From the 1930s Hollywood movies like Tarzan and King Solomon’s Mines to African productions such as The Gods Must be Crazy or Identity Pieces, films are selected across historical and geographical boundaries to bring depth to the corpus.

In addition to screenings and discussions, coursework also includes analysis of texts.

Cinematography: Peter and John
(3.00 Credits — Intermediate)

Spring 2014

AVAILABLE TO MOVIES FROM MARLBORO STUDENTS - AND TO A LIMITED NUMBER OF REGULAR MARLBORO STUDENTS WHO SHOULD CONTACT JAY CRAVEN (jcraven@marlboro.edu) TO DISCUSS THEIR INTEREST.

For Film offerings, also see:

AMERICA ON STAGE AND SCREEN
Gender and Sexuality in Francophone Film

Film/Video Studies

Antonioni, Bresson, and Bunuel--Films of Desire and Transcendence
(4.00 Credits — Multi-Level)

Spring 2013

Filmmakers Michelangelo Antonioni, Robert Bresson and Luis Bunuel endure as three of the 20th Century’s most visionary and influential filmmakers, forging poetic narratives and aural landscapes that deeply probe themes of human connection and fallibility, alienation and faith, desire and transcendence.  

This class will examine work by each of these directors.  Titles include: Antonioni—Il Grido (1957), L’avventura (1960), La Notte (1961), L’eclisse (1962), Blow Up (1966), The Passenger (1975), Red Desert (1964), and Beyond the Clouds (1995).  Also Bresson: A Man Escaped (1956), Pickpocket (1959), Au Hazard Balthazar (1966), Diary of a Country Priest (1951), Mouchette (1967), The Devil, Probably (1977), and L’argent (1983).  And Bunuel: Los Olvidados (1950), Viridiana (1961), The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972), Un Chien Andalou (1929), The Phantom of Liberty (1974), That Obscure Object of Desire (1977), Simon of the Desert (1965), and Belle de Jour (1967).  Students will be expected to read supporting materials, write weekly film assignments and exams, and participate in discussion.  Screenings and discussions will be held Wednesdays 6:30 to 9:30pm.  There will also be an additional weekly out-of-class screening to be announced.  Prerequisite: None

Additional Fee:$25

Cinematography Workshop
(4.00 Credits — Multi-Level)

Fall 2010

This group tutorial will focus on the theory and practice of cinematography for narrative, documentary, or experimental applications—using the motion picture camera to capture imaginative, expressive, and affecting images. Weekly activities will include shooting assignments; in-class critiques; readings; screenings; and discussion. Students who plan to work as cinematographers for the Marble Hill web TV series are strongly encouraged to enroll. Assigned text: Blain Brown’s Cinematography: Theory and Practice. Image Making for Cinematographers, Directors, and Videographers.

DIRECT CINEMA
(4.00 Credits — Intermediate)

Spring 2010

Direct cinema is a kind of documentary filmmaking that records spontaneous observation of naturally occurring events. It challenges the filmmaker to engage the audience without resorting to formal interview, voice over, or pre-conceived structure that shapes documentaries to resemble narrative films, with rising and falling action.

In this class, students will be expected to each make three short direct cinema documentaries on subjects of their choosing. We'll also watch and discuss examples of direct cinema by the Al and David Maysles (Salesman, Gimme Shelter, Grey Gardens), Frederick Wiseman (High School, Welfare, Belfast, Maine), D.A. Pennebaker (Don't Look Back, The War Room), Barbara Kopple (American Dream, Harlan County, U.S.A.), and others. Prerequisite: Previous film study or permission of instructor

Documentary Film--Theory and Practice
(4.00 Credits — Multi-Level)

Fall 2012

This class will explore the theory and practice of documentary filmmaking through an examination of cinema verite, direct cinema, reflexive documentary, compilation films, mock documentary, and experimental/poetic documentary.  We'll also explore various visual strategies in documentary filmmaking aimed at effectively communicating theme, tone, and characterization.

Through readings and discussions, we’ll study various aspects of social, ethical, and philosophical issues surrounding non-fiction film and video -- the blurring of boundaries between reality and fiction; questions of documentary truth; power relations between filmmaker and subject; effective interviewing; and the role of film in constructing and defining cultural history and memory.

Students will be expected to complete a series of readings, writings, and documentary production assignments.  The primary text for the course will be Michael Rabiger’s book, Directing the Documentary, which is available in the bookstore. 

Films that will be assigned or screened in part or in whole include Dziga Vertov’s  Man With a Movie Camera; Chris Marker’s San Soleil; Stan Brakhage’s Birth; Su Friedrich’s Sink or Swim; The Maysles’ Salesman; David Sutherland’s Country Boys; Amanda Wilder’s Approaching the Elephant; Ross McElwee’s Sherman’s March; Frederick Wiseman’s  Belfast, Maine; Jonathan Caouette’s Tarnation; Barbara Kopple’s Harlan County, USA; Steve James’ Hoop Dreams; Peter Watkin’s War Game; Erroll Morris’ Thin Blue Line and Fast Cheap and  Out of Control; Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me and Christopher Guest’s Best in Show and Waiting for Guffman.

Film Acting, Directing, & Cinematography - Marble Hill
(4.00 Credits — Multi-Level)

Fall 2013

Students will work to produce a series of ten-minute episodes for a web-based TV comedy series, Marble Hill. Actors, directors, cinematographers, sound recordists, music composers, and others are encouraged to enroll, so that students can work in groups where they collaborate and draw on each others interests and abilities. The goal of this class is to advance production skills development and facilitate the students’ acquisition of the means to achieve more disciplined expression in narrative film. This will involve focused work in film acting, directing, script development, camera coverage, lighting, sound recording, design, and editing.Student production teams will participate in pre-production planning, location scouting, shot listing, casting, rehearsal, production and post-production. The class will include screenings of outside material and exercises intended to sharpen students’ imaginative capacities and intuitive instincts. Completed episodes that meet rigorous technical and creative standards will be posted online through YouTube and other outlets. Prerequisite: Previous film and/or acting study or experience, or by permission of the instructor

Film Editing Workshop
(2.00 Credits — Intermediate)

Spring 2011

This workshop will provide students with hands-on opportunities to edit episodes of the Marble Hill comedy series and, by doing so, enhance their skills and theoretical background. Students will be given weekly assignments that focus on particular aspects of cutting narrative material. Emphasis will be given to the idea of orienting the viewer fully in the scene, through the establishment of mood and place, timing narrative articulation and pacing, and character development. Outside films will also be screened to illustrate editing technique. Students who wish may also work on their own projects and bring them into class for review and critique. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor

Group Tutorial: Thinking Like A Producer
(2.00 Credits — Multi-Level)

Spring 2013

Students will enroll in this group tutorial to advance individual projects based on ideas for narrative, documentary, or experimental films.  The focus here will be to function as a producer, shaping the vision, mobilizing resources, and successfully executing plans for production.  Class time will be spent brainstorming, reviewing and critiquing plans, works-in-progress, and finished films.  Producers may also play additional roles in the production, as writer, director, cinematographer, etc.  Or they may bring others onto their teams.  But each student's primary role will be as the person to make the production happen.  Prerequisite: None

Group Tutorial: The Films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder
(2.00 Credits — Intermediate)

Fall 2013

Rainer Werner Fassbinder died at the age of 37 but he made 44 films during the 16 years of his career. Fassbinder’s films helped define the ground-breaking New German Cinema of the late 1960’s and 70’s. They explore complicated relationships, historical memory in a nation still emerging from trauma, and gender roles in a time of shifting cultural mores. For this group tutorial, we’ll view Fassbinder’s monumental 15-hour Berlin Alexanderplatz and also study various of his feature films, including Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, The Marriage of Maria Braun, Effi Briest, In a Year of 13 Moons, Veronika Voss, and The Merchant of Four Seasons.

 All film screening will take place outside of class. Students will be expected to arrive having screened the film(s) and read the assigned text. Grades will be based on classroom participation and written analysis and critiques. Prerequisite: Admission to this group tutorial will be by permission of the instructor

New Hollywood Films
(4.00 Credits — Multi-Level)

Spring 2011

The 1960's American film movement combined independent sensibilities with studio distribution that made possible the most creative period in Hollywood history. Influenced by the French New Wave and other European filmmakers, the New Hollywood included John Cassevetes, Martin Scorcese, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Altman, Brian DePalma, Dennis Hopper, Woody Allen, George Lucas, Arthur Penn, Paul Schrader, Terrence Mallick, and others. The films scheduled for screening include Bonnie and Clyde (1967), The Graduate (1967), Easy Rider (1969), Chinatown (1974), Annie Hall (1977), Five Easy Pieces (1970), Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974), American Graffitti (1973), The Conversation (1974), Badlands (1973), The Last Picture Show (1971), Woman Under the Influence (1974), Blue Collar (1978), and Sisters (1973).

Students will be expected to write weekly film critiques that engage the picture and develop a personal response that enlarges our thinking. The class is open to all interested students-with an enrollment cap of 12.

Nobody Loses All the Time: Obsession and American Crime Film
(2.00 Credits — Introductory)

Spring 2014

This course will be taught by Justin Harrison as part of his Plan. What drives people to commit crimes?  Why are crimes so often the result of someone's drive to fulfill their heart's desire?  American crime film has long been interested in the intersection between crime and obsession, and that interest has lead to some of the greatest movies ever made.  This eight-week class will explore that intersection and some of those films.  Students will discuss the the content and craft of each picture both on their own and in relation to the other films being discussed.  In addition to the in class discussions, there will be short weekly writing assignments and a final paper on a film of the student's choice.  The films discussed will include work by Kathryn Bigelow, Sofia Coppola, David Fincher, Martin Scorsese and others. Note: Given the subject matter, most of these films deal with some heavy content.  Please keep that in mind with regard to whether or not this class is for you.

Class will meet twice a week; discussions on Tuesdays will alternate with film viewing on Fridays. Prerequisite: None

SCREENWRITING
(4.00 Credits — Multi-Level)

Spring 2013

Effective screenwriting requires an understanding of story structure and an ability to shape character, theme, tone, and incident to dramatic effect. This class will focus on the regular practice of story and screenplay development, through writing exercises, character research, narrative construction, and regular revision aimed at producing scripts that can be made into films, using available resources. Emphasis will be on writing scripts of twenty or fewer pages, so that they can be regularly critiqued by the instructor and other students, and re-written to maximize impact. Students will also read and discuss produced screenplays and screen associated films and excerpts.  Prerequisite: Previous creative writing experience or permission of instructor

Additional Fee: $25

Screenwriting Workshop
(4.00 Credits — Intermediate)

Fall 2010

This class will continue work started last spring, for any interested writing students, whether or not they participated in that class. Our plan will be to develop characters and dramatic/comedic incidents set on the campus of the small fictional New England liberal arts college, Marble Hill. Completed material that meets rigorous standards for shaping and revision will be considered for production through the on-campus productions class running concurrently – and for possible TV, cable, and radio production. Classroom sessions will include brainstorming, critique, and study of effective screenwriting technique – aimed at the development of scripted scenes and sequences that shape character, theme, tone, and incident to dramatic and comedic effect. Outside scripts and produced episodes will also be studied and discussed. Students may enroll in this workshop for 2 or 4 credits, depending on the amount of work they are prepared to undertake and complete. Pre-requisite: Submission of a writing sample. Pre-requisite: Submission of a writing sample.

THE FILMS OF CHARLIE CHAPLIN
(4.00 Credits — Introductory)

Spring 2010

Comic trailblazer Charlie Chaplin appeared on movie screens within ten years of the medium's birth and before film was even considered an art form. But Chaplin broke new ground on many fronts, rendered unique and poignant moments in American history, and achieved global popularity as the first "world figure," recognized in all continents for his trademark, the Little Tramp. The former music hall comedian also survived the advent of sound movies, because he owned his own studio, and he produced some of his most enduring cinema when other silent film actors were out of work.

This class will include screenings of The Unknown Chaplin (1983), that explores the filmmaker's working methods - and the major Chaplin shorts, including Easy Street (1917), Shoulder Arms (1918), The Pilgrim (1923), and The Immigrant (1917). Also, the Chaplin features: The Kid (1921), The Gold Rush (1925), The Circus (1928), City Lights (1931), Modern Times (1936), The Great Dictator (1940), Monsieur Verdoux (1947), Limelight (1952), and A King in New York (1957).

The class is open to all interested students and has an enrollment cap of 12.

The Films of Robert Altman
(4.00 Credits — Introductory)

Fall 2010

Filmmaker Robert Altman broke stylistic ground and provided unique social commentary with his naturalistic, circular, and multi-layered narratives of fringe characters pursuing off-beat articulations of the American dream. Viewed as controversial, outspoken, and irreverent, Altman was nevertheless loved by actors, for the freedom he gave them. And a devoted legion of critics and fans applauded his unconventional cinema-style and open-ended explorations of society and culture.  Pictures slated for screening include MASH (1970), 3 Women (1977), McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971), The Player (1992), Nashville (1975), Short Cuts (1993), The Long Goodbye (1973), Secret Honor (1984), Vincent and Theo (1990), Gosford Park (2001), California Split (1974), A Wedding (1978), and The Gingerbread Man (1998).

The Literature of Northern New England
(4.00 Credits — Intermediate)

Spring 2012

The main goal of this survey course is to introduce students to the literature and culture of northern New England, and to cultivate sharpened critical reading and writing skills. We'll read novels, shortstories, essays, and poetry that explore and illuminate the character, place, history, and culture of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. As we read and discuss these texts we will consider the questions: To what extent is there a North Country character and culture that is truly distinctive, compared to other parts of the country? In what ways do New England writers develop themes that resonate universally—and what has been their contribution to an improved understanding of the American experience? How do the writers of northern New England advance, subvert, or interrogate the mythology of the region—and what is that mythology? What images of race, gender, family, and social class do we carry away from this sampling of the region's literature?

Several of the writers we'll be reading will visit classes and lead discussion. Students will be expected to fully read and discuss assigned texts and associated critical materials. Attendance and completion of weekly written assignments and two longer papers will also be required. Texts include Russell Banks' The Sweet Hereafter,Annie Proulx's Heartsongs and Other Stories, Richard Russo's Nobody's Fool, Ernest Hebert's The Dogs of March, Jeffrey Lent's In the Fall, Gretchen Gerzina's Mr. and Mrs. Prince, Craig Nova's Cruisers, and Howard Frank Mosher's Where the Rivers Flow North. Also poetry by Galway Kinnell, Adrienne Rich, Robert Frost, Hayden Carruth, and David Budbill. Films will also be screened for The Sweet Hereafter, Nobody's Fool, and Where the Rivers Flow North. Prerequisite: Must be enrolled in the Movies from Marlboro Project

The Psychological Thriller
(4.00 Credits — Multi-Level)

Fall 2012

The psychological thriller explores social relationships under pressure. Often they explore aspects of uncovering the unknown in other people—between a character and his/her intimate others, family and friends, or mysterious strangers.  This class will screen and discuss films that explore these dynamic and often dark relationships, which can reveal universal truths.

Films planned for screening, in or out of class, include: Henri Cluzot’s Diabolique, Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train, Dial M for Murder, and Psycho, Martin Scorcese’s Cape Fear, Atom Egoyan’s Exotica, David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers, Patrice Leconte’s Monsieur Hire, Cedric Kahn’s Red Lights, Lawrence Kasdan’s Body Heat, Roman Polanski’s Death and the Maiden, Georges Sluizer’s The Vanishing, Robert Altman’s The Player, David Lynch’s Mullholland Drive, Claude Chabrol’s La Ceremonie, Stephen Frears’ Dirty Pretty Things, and Morten Tyldum’s Headhunters.

Prerequisite: None

For Film/Video Studies offerings, also see:

Digital Multimedia

Detours

(a mostly random selection of Marlboro microdestinations)