I'd recommend taking a look at Chris Cagle's blog post comparing various
intro books - you may not agree with his opinions, but he provides good
I'd ask what is the goal of the course - if it's understanding the formal
system of film, then FILM ART is probably the best option (especially if you
plan on using a global assortment of examples rather than Euro/US focus). If
it's introducing a broader range of theoretical approaches to film, Corrigan
& White's FILM EXPERIENCE is excellent.
My other comment is not to undersell students with a textbook. I always
prefer teaching books that err on the challenging side, encouraging students
to rise to the material. The vast majority of textbooks I've looked at
across fields talk down to readers & try to keep them entertained rather
than actually conveying information & ideas. If you assign a challenging
textbook, lectures avoid redundancy & build on the material, rather than
just echo the book.
On 6/10/07 1:00 AM, "SCREEN-L automatic digest system"
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Date: Thu, 7 Jun 2007 19:52:22 -0400
> From: "Frank, Michael" <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: textbook query
> after an extended hiatus, i will be teaching "into to cinema studies"
> again in the fall, and hope to enlist screen-L's help in reconsidering
> textbook options . . . i assume that bordwell & thompson' SCREEN ART is
> still the gold standard, but i suspect it's a bit much for
> non-specialist beginning students who will be taking the course simply
> to fulfill distribution requirements
> i've been examining richard barsam's LOOKING AT MOVIES; at first
> glance it seems to have a number of things going for it . . .
> unfortunately i don't have time to give it a careful reading before i
> need to place my book orders . . . so i'm wondering if anyone has had
> any experience with this book that they can share -- or, for that
> matter, other strong recommendations
> thanks in advance
Jason Mittell, Assistant Professor of American Studies and Film & Media
204 Adirondack House
Middlebury, Vermont 05753
(802) 443-3435 / fax: (802) 443-5123
Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the
University of Alabama: http://www.tcf.ua.edu