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Theories of Melodrama (FILMSTUD 413)

Requirements: 
WAY-A-II, WAY-ED
213
Subject: 
FILMSTUD

Commonly derided for being over the top, with films in this mode put down as weepies, tear-jerkers, and women's films, melodrama as a genre and a cinematic mode has been reclaimed by feminist-queer-film scholars as providing a powerful site of ideological struggle and sustained engagement with individual and social subjection and suffering. Melodrama, a transgeneric mode of emotional dramaturgy, centered around body and community, delay and chance, realism and excess, affords radical critiques of discourses of gender, sexuality, race, class, and nation. We will consider melodrama's careful calibration of sensation and affect through its employment of cinematic form (color, music, editing etc.), and sweeping performative gestures. Through an analysis of films from Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, by auteurs such as Douglas Sirk, Ritwik Ghatak, Wong Kar-wai, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and Pedro Almodovar, among others, we will study global and transnational flows in the adoption of the politics and aesthetics of the melodramatic mode. The seminar is conceived to be interdisciplinary and participants are encouraged to work with texts from disciplines other than film studies as well, including theatre, visual arts, music, dance, literature etc.

Course ID: 
218 551
Grading: 
Letter (ABCD/NP)