Course Description

After winning the 2018 Golden Globe for best director of a motion picture, Guillermo del Toro explained his lifelong faith in monsters: “I have been saved and absolved by them because monsters, I believe, are patron saints of our blissful imperfection and they allow and embody the possibility of failing.” This is an introductory film course with a focus on the cross-cultural study of films. In particular, the class will attend to the use and representation of monsters within global film traditions. How do directors and screenwriters use monsters to address and/or critique their own socio-political context? We will use these films to explore larger issues addressed in the humanities, including (but not limited to) identity, war, technology, dehumanizing poverty, and environmental crisis. Students will also learn the basics of film analysis and terminology. Much of our time will be spent viewing and discussing films in class.  Two short formal papers, various smaller writing assignments, and participation in class discussion are required. Films may include: Hideo Nakata’s Ringu (1998), Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), Neil Blomkamp’s District 9 (2009), Ana Lily Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014), and Yeon Sang-ho’s Train to Busan (2016).