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Course Description:

This course will explore works of cinema that have been banned, censored, or labeled as "offensive" or "dangerous" in multiple countries throughout the globe; several of these works have been declared blasphemous by religious institutions. As part of our critical engagement with these texts, students will: 1) discuss censorship as a culture practice that assumes multiple forms; 2) demonstrate how filmmakers can use cinema as a mode of aesthetic and cultural intervention; 3) annoy people who would rather that these texts not exist; and, 4) contextualize these "offensive" and challenging texts within larger historical, aesthetic, cultural, and philosophical frameworks.

Contact Info:

Prof Jay McRoy




4 Critical Micro-themes/Brief Essays (600 words - 25% each). A successful micro-theme presents an argument about an assigned topic or question as clearly, precisely, and concisely as possible. Do not worry about elaborate introductions or conclusions. Successful micro-themes resemble detailed abstracts or, perhaps even more accurately, outlines created in sentence and paragraph form with transition statements linking the main and supporting points of your argument. You are encouraged to seek at least one or two outside sources for this project (no wikipedia or fan sites, etc.).
 A successful Micro-theme does the following:

  1. Includes a very brief, 1-2 sentence introduction that includes a thesis statement and sets up an organizational plan;

  2. Includes clear supporting paragraphs that provide specific textual evidence to support your claims;

  3. Is comprised of thoughtful, concise, clear, and direct prose;

  4. Is double spaced;

  5. Is free of grammar errors and other surface mistakes (i.e. spelling errors).

Given the rigid word limit, narrowing your micro-theme to 700 words will prove very challenging.
 If you are new to writing critically about cinema or simply want to further refine your skills, I can think of few better texts than Timothy Corrigan's A Short Guide to Writing about Film; this work is a fantastic resource and is readily available used on-line.

Plagiarism Warning:

There is nothing wrong with using other people's words and thoughts as long as you acknowledge your debt. In fact, you can frequently strengthen your writing by doing citing other critics' arguments. However, if you represent other people's words or ideas as if they were your own, then you are plagiarizing. Plagiarism includes: 1) paraphrasing or copying (without the use of quotation marks) someone else's words without acknowledgment; 2) using someone else's facts or ideas without acknowledgment, and, 3) handing in work for one course that you handed in for credit in another course without the permission of both instructors.

When you use published words, data, or thoughts, you should note their use. We will use MLA Guidelines throughout this course. When you use the ideas of friends or classmates, you should thank them in an endnote (e.g. "I am grateful to my friend so and so for the argument in the third paragraph"). If friends give you reactions but not suggestions, you need not acknowledge that help in print (though it is gracious to do so). Collaboration and using the work of others is the backbone of academia. Plagiarism and academic dishonesty destroys the possibility of working together as colleagues. Therefore, all instances of plagiarism in this class will be addressed with the utmost severity. If you have any questions as to whether something you have written for this class constitutes plagiarism, please see me before handing it in for credit.



Module ONE

Watch: South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut (Parker, 1999)

Module TWO

Watch: A Clockwork Orange (Kubrick, 1972)

Module THREE

Microtheme #1

Module FOUR

Watch: Last Tango in Paris (Bertolucci, 1972)

Module FIVE

Watch: In the Realm of the Senses (Oshima, 1976)

Module SIX

Microtheme #2

Module SEVEN

Watch: The Last Temptation of Christ (Scorsese, 1988)

Module EIGHT

Watch: Antichrist (Von Trier, 2009)

Module NINE

Microtheme #3

Module TEN

Watch: Blue is the Warmest Color (Kechiche, 2013)


Watch: Joker (2019)


Microtheme #4

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