MASTERS OF CINEMA: THE FILMS OF JEAN RENOR AND MAX OPHULS
CSCL/Cl/CSDS 5910

THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA, TWIN CITIES
Spring 2011

CLASS INFO

 

Professor: Hisham Bizri; Assistant: Simmons Joe (simm0171@umn.edu)

Course hours: T 2:30-5:15

Voice: (612) 625-8460

Course location: Nicholson Hall 315

Email: hbizri@umn.edu

hishambizri.com/teaching/umn/Spring11/digitalfilmmaking2/

Office hours: T&TH 1-2 (146A Nicholson Hall); an appointment is required

CSCL office: 235 Nicholson Hall

ABOUT THE COURSE

The course will focus on the sound films of French director Jean Renoir (from A Day in the Country (1936) to Elena and Her Men (1954)) and Austrian director Max Ophuls (from Leibelei (1933) to the great Lola Montès (1955)). We will study the directors' different and at times intersecting filmmaking methods and how style shaped and was shaped by the cultural, historical, artistic, and political changes that took place in pre- and post-war Europe and America. We will look how each filmmaker approached in their films the tension between theater and novel, and between studio and location shooting as they made the transition to sound. We will also study their relationship to realism, spectacle, melodrama, and vaudeville, as well as to the avant-garde and literary figures and examine how their films explore the human condition in their native continent and when "exiled" in Hollywood.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

To LOOK at and DISCOVER the sound films of Jean Renoir and Max Ophuls.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS

  1. Mandatory class attendance (if you miss class you are required by the U to submit an official report to the instructor).
  2. To see with one's own eyes; to have to be in class.
  3. Readings: about 50 pages per week or more or less.
  4. Weekly reports; two-page summary of the readings; two-page analysis of each film screened.
  5. One class presentation (all the films are on reserve on DVD in Walter Library Smart Commons; make sure you watch the film several times before your presentation).
  6. One final paper (15 pages, double space).

READINGS (available at the U bookstore; in class handouts)

André Bazin, JEAN RENOIR (Da Capo Press, 1992)
Jean Renoir, MY LIFE AND MY FILMS (Da Capo Press, 2000)
Arthur Schnitzler, ROUND DANCE AND OTHER PLAYS (Oxford University Press, 2009)
Jean Renoir, RENOIR ON RENOIR (Cambridge Univesity Press, 1989)
Susan M. White, THE CINEMA OF MAX OPHULS (Cambridge Univesity Press, 1989)
André Bazin, WHAT IS CINEMA, volume I? (University of Californa Press, 1967), Read The Evolution of the Language of Cinema.
Jean Leahy, Jean Renoir, http://www.sensesofcinema.com/2003/great-directors/renoir/#senses
Tag Gallagher, Renoir and the Scandal of "First Love" or The Perils of Catherine, http://www.sensesofcinema.com/2005/34/renoir_scandal
Lutz Bacher, Max Ophuls's Adaptation to and Subversion of Classical Hollywood Cinema and Their Effect on his European Filmmaking, http://www.fipresci.org/undercurrent/issue_0306/bacher_ophuls.htm
Tag Gallagher, Max Ophuls: A New Art – But Who Notices?, http://www.sensesofcinema.com/2002/22/ophuls


SCREENINGS

Jean RENOIR
Partie de campagne (A Day in the Country, 40 minutes, 1936)
La Grand illusion (Grand Illusion, (114 minutes, 1937)
La Règle du jeu (The Rules of the Game, 110 minutes, 1939)
The River (99 minutes, 1951)
Le Carrosse d'or (The Golden Coach, 103 minutes, 1952)
French Cancan (102 minutes, 1954)
Elena et les hommes (Elena and Her Men, 102 minutes, 1954)

Max OPHULS
Leibelei (88 minutes, 1933)
La Signora di Tutti (97 minutes, 1934)
Letter from an Unknown Woman (86 minutes, 1948)
La Ronde (97 minutes, 1950)
Le Plaisir (97 minutes, 1952)
Madame de... (105 minutes, 1953)
Lola Montès (116 minutes, 1955)

ASSIGNMENTS & GRADING

  1. Weekly reports (30%); your six best will be your 30%.
  2. In class paper presentation (20%).
  3. A final research paper 15 pages, double space (50%).

SCHEDULE

WEEK 1, January 20
Screening: Partie de campagne (16mm)

WEEK 2, January 27
Screening: La Grand illusion (16mm)
Reading:
André Bazin, JEAN RENOIR (pp. 15-73)
Jean Leahy, Jean Renoir.

WEEK 3, February 3
Screening: La Règle du jeu (16mm)
Reading:
André Bazin, JEAN RENOIR (pp. 172-182)
André Bazin: The Evolution of the Language of Cinema (pp. 23-40)
Tag Gallagher, Renoir and the Scandal of "First Love" or The Perils of Catherine.

WEEK 4, February 11
Screening: The River
Reading: André Bazin, JEAN RENOIR (pp. 74-91 & 183-198)

WEEK 5, February 19
Screening: Le Carrosse d'or
Reading: RENOIR ON RENOIR (pp. 1-52)

WEEK 6, February 24
Screening: French Cancan
Reading: RENOIR ON RENOIR (pp. 53-111)

WEEK 7, March 3
Screening: Elena et les hommes
Reading: RENOIR ON RENOIR (pp. 112-144)

Assignment due: 5-page essay on Renoir's MY LIFE AND MY FILM

WEEK 8, March 10
Screening: Le Plaisir
Reading: Tag Gallagher, Max Ophuls: A New Art – But Who Notices?

WEEK 9, March 14-18
Spring Break
Reading: Arthur Schnitzler, ROUND DANCE AND OTHER PLAYS (Round Dance: pp. 49-108; Countess Mizzi: pp. 163-194)

WEEK 10, March 24
Screening: Leibelei (16mm)
Reading: Lutz Bacher, Max Ophuls's Adaptation to and Subversion of Classical Hollywood Cinema and Their Effect on his European Filmmaking

WEEK 11, March 31
Screening: La Signora di Tutti

WEEK 12, April 7
Screening: Letter from an Unknown Woman

WEEK 13, April 14
Screening: La Ronde

WEEK 14, April 21
Screening: Madame de... (16mm)

WEEK 15, April 28
Screening: Lola Montès

WEEK 16, May 5 (Final paper is due in class)
Screening: Lola Montès