FLMS1200: Hollywood & Beyond, Part 2




FLMS1200: Hollywood and Beyond, Part Two –

American Independent Cinema


Module Outline


Seminars: Thursday 3:15 – 6:15


Module Leader: Dr. Paul Elliott





Module Description:

 Hollywood Cinema is the foundation stone of all film and therefore should form a large part of a film student’s education. This module looks at the rise of the Hollywood product and how it has been shaped by the ideology and the history that surrounds it. We will look at two major areas: the Hollywood mode of production and the Hollywood mode of narration, (i.e. how Hollywood films are made and how they are written) and explore the connections between the two. We will interrogate the films and the scripts themselves and ask how we can better understand that most pervasive and ever-present of texts: the Hollywood movie.

Intended Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the module, students will be able to:

  1. Understand the basic historical shifts in cinema’s development, which will include areas such as technology, distribution and production.
  2. Explore the relationship between Hollywood cinema and other European and world traditions.
  3. Discuss and compare film movements and epochs.
  4. Display an ability to express their research in a cogent and well formatted manner.

Attendance Policy:

 It is expected that you will attend all taught sessions, in the same way that attendance is expected in the workplace. Indeed regular attendance has a significant impact on student engagement, understanding and successful completion of University courses. Furthermore non-attendance will significantly affect your ability successfully to complete a module and may jeopardise your ability to undertake re-assessment in the event of failing a module.

It is your responsibility as a student, just as it would be if you were an employee, to ensure that you are punctual and that your attendance has been recorded on the register each week.

Should you, for some unavoidable reason, be unable to attend a scheduled session (for example if you are ill) then you must send an email to ihcastudentabsence@worc.ac.uk . Please include in your email  your name and student number, the module code and name, the date of the missed session, and your reason for missing it. You should make sure that you copy the module tutor into the email and also contact your module tutor to make arrangements to catch up on any work you have missed.

Notification must be received within 6 days of the date of the missed session.

Alternatively you can inform IHCA of your absence via the telephone. Please ring 01905 542015 with the required details.

Students with two or more unexplained absences may be required to attend a tutorial/ interview with the module leader, course leader or head of division to discuss their progress.

Learning Contract:

On this module you are expected to be courteous and attentive to your fellow classmates and to the module tutor. You are also expected to undertake the required reading each week and to view the film or films under question. Failure to do either of these things will severely impede your success on the module.

The use of mobile phones will not be tolerated in classes, lectures or screenings. Please turn off all phones before the lesson starts.

Please feel free to email me with any queries you have regarding the module, I will try to reply within 3 working days. My office hours will be posted on the door of my office, however I am always open to seeing students at other times if you make an appointment.   


 There will be a reader that will contain all the main readings for the module, however you should also purchase the following:

Set Texts (You should purchase these books):

Gomery, D. and C. Pafort-Overduin. 2011. Movie History: A Survey. London. Routledge.


Essential Reading (You will need to photocopy or read sections of these books):

Bordwell, D. 1987. Narration in the Fiction Film. London; Routledge.

Bordwell, D; K. Thompson and J. Staiger. 1988. The Classical Hollywood Cinema: Film, Style and Mode of Production to 1960. London: Rouledge.

Thompson, K and D. Bordwell. 2009. Film History: An Introduction. London: McGraw Hill.


Further Reading (You will find these books useful):

Cook, D. 2004. A History of Narrative Film. London. W.W. Norton.

Dixon, W. W. and G.A. Foster. 2008. A Short History of Film. London. IB Tauris.

Grieveson, L and P. Kramer (eds). The Silent Cinema Reader. London. Routledge.

King, G. 2002. New Hollywood: An Introduction. London. IB Tauris.

Maltby, R. 2003. Hollywood Cinema. London. Wiley Blackwell.

Neale, S. 1998. Contemporary Hollywood Cinema. London. Routledge.

Nowell-Smith, G. 1997. The Oxford History of World Cinema. Oxford: OUP.


Module Calendar (please note, subject to change):


Week Date Film
1. ‘B’ Movies and Drive-ins 2nd February 2017 The Blob (Irvin Yeaworth, 1958)
Required Reading Murray, R. 2011. “American Independent Cinema: An Overview” in Studying American Independent Cinema. London; Auteur Books, pp. 5 – 16.
Supplementary Reading and Viewing Berra, J. 2010. Directory of World Cinema: American Independent: 2. London; Intellect.

Hall, P. 2009. The History of Independent Cinema. New York: BearManor Books.

Hillier, J. (ed) 2001. American Independent Cinema: A Sight and Sound Reader. London: BFI.

Holm, D.K. 2008. Independent Cinema. London: Kamera Books.

Rhodes, G.D. 2008. Horror at the Drive-in: Essays in Popular Americana. New York: McFarland.

Tzioumakis, Y. 2006. American Independent Cinema: An Introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Return of the Seacaucus Seven (John Sayles, 1979)

The Brown Bunny (Vincent Gallo, 2003)

The Blair Witch Project (Myrick and Sanchez, 1999)

Week Date Film
2. Founding Figures I 9th February 2017 The Mask of the Red Death (Roger Corman, 1964)
Required Reading Tzioumakis, Y. “Chapter Four: An Audience for the Independents: Exploitation Films for the Nation’s Youth” in American Independent Cinema: A Introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp. 135-168.
Supplementary Reading and Viewing Corman, R. 1998. How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime. New York: Dacapo Press.

Gray, B. 2013. Roger Corman: Blood Sucking Vampires, Flesh Eating Cockroaches and Driller Killers. New York: AZ Ferris.

Mathijs, E. and Sexton, J. 2011. Cult Cinema. London: Wiley Blackwell.

Nashawaty, C. 2013. Crab Monsters, Teenage Cavemen and Candy Stripe Nurses: Roger Corman King of the B Movie. London: Abrams.

The Little Shop of Horrors (Corman, 1960)

The Fall of the House of Usher (Corman, 1960)

The Wild Angels (1966)

The Trip (1967)

Week Date Film
3. Founding Figures II   Shadows (John Cassavetes, 1959)
Required Reading Margulies, I. 1998. “John Cassavetes: Amateur Director” in Lewis, J. (ed). The New American Cinema. New York: Duke University, pp. 275 – 306.
Supplementary Reading and Viewing Berliner, T. 2013. “Killing the Writer: Movie Dialogue Conventions and John Cassavetes” available online at http://people.uncw.edu/berlinert/research/documents/Berliner.Cassavetes.pdf <accessed 20.07.2015>

Carney, R. 1994. The Films of John Cassavetes: Pragmatism, Modernism and the Movies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Carney, R.(ed). 2001. Cassavetes on Cassavetes. London: Faber and Faber.

Fine, M. 2006. Accidental Genius: How John Cassavetes Invented the American Independent Film. New York: Miramax Books.

Hillier, J. (ed). 2001. “Pioneers” in American Independent Cinema: A Sight and Sound Reader. London; BFI Publishing, pp. 3-34.

A Woman Under the Influence (Cassavetes, 1974)

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (Cassavetes, 1976)

Opening Night (Cassavetes, 1977)

Love Streams (Cassavetes, 1984)

Week Date Film
4.The Counter-culture and Underground Film   Easy Rider (Dennis Hopper, 1969)
Required Reading James, D.E. 1989. “Considering the Alternatives” in Allegories of Cinema: American Film in the Sixties. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, pp. 3-28.
Supplementary Reading and Viewing Crimp. D. 2012. “Our Kind of Movie” – The Films of Andy Warhol. Cambridge: The MIT Press.

Curtis, D. 1971. Experimental Cinema: A Fifty Year Evolution. London: Studio Vista.

Dwoskin, S. 1985. Film Is: The International Free Cinema. New York: The Overlook Press.

James, D.E. 1992. To Free the Cinema: Jonas Mekas and the New York Underground. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Williams, L.R and M. Hammond (eds). 2006. Contemporary American Cinema. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

Rees, A.L. 2011. A History of Experimental Film and Video. London: BFI.

Tyler, P. 1995. Underground Film: A Critical History. New York: Da Capo Press.

Youngblood, G. 1970. Expanded Cinema. New York: E.P. Dutton.

Dog Star Man (Stan Brakhage, 1961)

Kustom Kar Kommandos(Kenneth Anger, 1965)

Quixote (Bruce Baillie, 1965)

Week Date Film
5.Blaxpolitation   Blacula (William Crain, 1972)
Required Reading Guerrero, E. 2012. “The Rise and Fall of Blaxploitation, in Lucia, C.; R. Grundmann and A. Simon (eds), The Wiley Blackwell History of American Film, Vol.iii 1946 – 1975, pp. 435-469.
Supplementary Reading and Viewing Benshoff, H. and S. Griffin. 2009. “The Rise and Fall of Blaxploitation Filmmaking” in America on Film: Representing Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality at the Movies. London: Wiley Blackwell, pp. 88-90.

Lawrence, N. 2007. Blaxploitation Films of the 1970s. London: Routledge.

Quinn, E. and P. Kramer. 2006. “Blaxploitation” in Williams, L.R. and M. Hammond (eds). Contemporary American Cinema, Milton Keynes: Open University Press, pp. 184 – 198.

Sims, Y. 2006. Women of Blaxploitation. New York: MacFarland.

Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (Melvin Van Pebbles, 1971)

Shaft (Gordon Parks, 1971)

Superfly (Gordon Parks, 1971)

Week Date Film
6. No Wave   Smithereens (Susan Seidelman, 1982)
Required Reading Levy, E. 1999. “Old Formats: New Sensibility: Susan Seidelman” in Cinema of Outsiders. New York: New York University Press, pp. 356-360.
Supplementary Reading and Viewing Goddard, M. 2013. “No Wave Film and the Music Documentary: From No Wave Cinema “Documents” to Retrospective Documentaries” in Halligan, B. and R. Edgard (eds). The Music Documentary. London: Routledge, pp. 115-130.

Quart, B. 1988. Women Directors: the Emergence of a New Cinema. London: Praeger.

Richey, J. 2010. “Smithereens” in Directory of World Cinema: American Independent. London: Intellect, pp. 272-273.

Sargeant, J. 2008. Deathtripping: Underground Trash Cinema. New York: Soft Skull Press.

Permanent Vacation (Jim Jarmusch, 1980)

Desperately Seeking Susan (Susan Seidleman, 1985)

Blank City (Celine Danhier, 2010)

Week Date Film
7. The LA School and Spike Lee   Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989)
Required Reading Diawara, M. 1993. “Black American Cinema: The New Realism” in Diawara, M. (ed). Black American Cinema. New York: Routledge, pp. 3-25.
Supplementary Reading and Viewing Harris, K. 2012. “Black Crossover Cinema” in Lucia, C.; R. Grundmann and A. Simon (eds), The Wiley Blackwell History of American Film, Vol. IV – 1976 to the Present. New York: Wiley Blackwell, pp. 255-271.

Masilela, N. 1993. “The Los Angeles School of Black Filmmakers”. In Diawara, M. (ed). Black American Cinema. New York: Routledge, pp. 107 – 117.

Masood, P. (ed). 2008. A Spike Lee Reader. New York: Temple University Press.

Pierson, J. 1995. Spike, Mike, Slackers and Dykes. New York: Miramax Books.

Killer of Sheep (Charles Burnett, 1978)

Bush Mama (Haile Gerima, 1979)

She’s Gotta Have It (Spike Lee, 1986)

Easter Break  
Week Date Film
8. New Queer Cinema   Paris is Burning (Jennie Livingstone, 1990)
Required Reading Rich, B.R. 2004. “New Queer Cinema” in Aaron, M. (ed). New Queer Cinema: A Critical Reader. New York: Rutgers University Press, pp. 15-22.
Supplementary Reading and Viewing Butler, J. 1993. “Gender is Burning: Questions of Appropriation and Subversion” in Bodies that Matter. London: Routledge, pp. 121-142.

Hildebrand, L. 2014. Paris is Burning: A Queer Film Classic. London: Arsenal Pulp Press.

Mennel, B. 2012. Queer Cinema: Schoolgirls, Vampires and Gay Cowboys. London: Wallflower Press.

Rich, B.R. 2013. New Queer Cinema. New York: Duke University Press.

The Living End (Gregg Araki, 1992)

Swoon (Tom Kalin, 1992)

Safe (Todd Haynes, 1995)

Week Date Film
9. Indiewood I   Fargo (Joel and Ethan Coen, 1996)
Required Reading Sharrit, C. 2004. “Fargo, or The Blank Frontier” in Luhr, W. (ed). The Coen Brothers’ Fargo. Cambridge: Cambridge Film Handbooks, pp. 55-76.
Supplementary Reading and Viewing Adams, J. 2015. The Cinema of the Coen Brothers. New York: Wallflower.

Bergan, R. 2016. The Coen Brothers. New York: Arcade.

Holm, D.K. 2010. Independent Cinema. London: Kamera Books.

Luhr, W. (ed). The Coen Brothers’ Fargo. Cambridge: Cambridge Film Handbooks.

Tzioumakis, Y. 2006. American Independent Cinema: An Introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Barton Fink (Joel and Ethan Coen, 1991)

Kill Bill (Quentin Tarantino, 1991)

The Usual Suspects (Bryan Singer, 1995)

Week Date Film
10. Indiewood II   Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)
Required Reading King, G. 2009. “Introduction: Indiewood in Contexts” in Indiewood USA. London: IB Tauris, pp. 1-46.
Supplementary Reading and Viewing Campora, M. 2014. Subjective Realist Cinema. London: Berghahn Books.

Hill, D. 2010. Charlie Kaufman and Hollywood’s Merry Band of Pranksters, Fabulists and Dreamers. London: Kamera Books.

LaRocca, D. (ed). 2011. The Philosophy of Charlie Kaufman. Kentucky: University of Kentucky Press.

Walters, J. 2008. Alternative Worlds in Hollywood Cinema. London: Intellect.

Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994)

Fargo (Joel and Ethan Coen, 1996)

Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)

Week Date Film
11. Indie 2.0   Four Eyed Monsters (Susan Buice and Arim Crumley, 2005)
Required Reading  King, G. 2014. “The Desktop Aesthetic: First-person Expressive in Tarnation and Four Eyed Monsters”. In Indie 2.0. London: IB Tauris, pp. 216-256.
Supplementary Reading and Viewing Hillier, J. (ed) 2001. American Independent Cinema. London: BFI.

Holm, D.K. 2010. Independent Cinema. London: Kamera Books.

Holmlund, C. and J. Wyatt. 2005. Contemporary American Independent Film. London: Routledge.

Murray, R. 2011. Studying American Independent Cinema. London: Auteur Books.

Spielmann, Y. 2008. On Video: The Reflexive Medium. Cambridge: The MIT Press.

King, G. 2014. Indie 2.0. London: IB Tauris

Tarnation (Jonathan Caouette, 2003)

The Puffy Chair (Mark and Jay Duplass, 2005)

Tangerine (Sean Edwards,  2015)

Week Date Film
12. Tutorials   No screening
Required Reading  
Supplementary Reading and Viewing  




Every effort will be made to make the films available for you to watch. However, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have seen the texts being discussed. You can source many of the films on Netflix, Amazon Instant or You Tube, however there may be some DVD purchase necessary. In that instance, you will be informed well ahead of time. Note: Bold indicates the film will be screened in class.     

The DVD Library:

 The DVD library for FLMS1200 Hollywood and Beyond is held in my office (BB113). All DVDs are available for a short term loan (1 day). You can view the film in the Pierson or on your own laptop but you must return the DVD on the day of the loan.


You are required to answer one question from the list below:

  1. How does The Blob (1958) exemplify the ‘B’ Movie?
  2. What is a ‘B’ Movie? How does it differ from a main feature? Answer with reference to two different films.
  3. Look at two films by Roger Corman. How do they show his style? What are the elements that shape his work?
  4. How does The Masque of the Red Death (1964) use colour? Discuss in relation to relevant theories of the use of colour in film.
  5. Examine a passage of dialogue from Shadows (1959) and relate it to Cassavetes’ attempts at creating Realism.
  6. How does Easy Rider (1969) reflect the counter-culture?
  7. How can Easy Rider be read as an art film? What are the some of the films that it is borrowing from?
  8. Is Blaxploitation a liberating genre or an exploitative one? Answer with reference to two films
  9. How important is the city to No Wave films? Answer with reference to one film?
  10. Is Smithereens (1982) a punk film? If so, in what ways it is subversive?
  11. How does Do the Right Thing (1989) enact debates surrounding race and ethnicity in the 1980s?
  12. Examine three scenes from Paris is Burning (1990). How do they reflect Queer cinema and the culture of transgenderism?
  13. How is Fargo (1996) a parody of traditional Hollywood forms?

Length: 1500 words
Weighting: 30%
Submission Date: 8th May 2017

*The assignment will be graded within three weeks of submission*



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