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CLAS 432 A: Classical Mythology In Film

Hercules Unchained Movie Poster
Meeting Time: 
MW 7:30am - 9:50am
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Joint Sections: 
C LIT 357 B
Clauss with students in Rome
James J. Clauss

Syllabus Description:

This is a provisional syllabus until I can create the final version.

The goal of the course is to observe how and why modern screen writers and directors film ancient myths. We will examine the original myths to see what lay at the heart of the stories and then see where the modern cinematic narrations take them. Here is the line up. If the schedule allows, we'll include the original Star Wars film, as it has a narrative structure that parallels ancient myths, as does The Searchers (a western).

Clash of the Titans (1981), Desmond Davis, Director; art director Ray Harryhausen

Edipo Re (1967), Pier Paolo Pasolini, Director

Hercules Unchained (1959), Pietro Francisci, Director

Medea (1970), Pier Paolo Pasolini, Director

Desire under the Elms (1958), Delbert Mann, Director

Iphigenia (1977), Michael Cacoyannis, Director

Orphée (1949), Jean Cocteau, Director

The Searchers (1956), John Ford, Director

Star Wars: Episode 4 – A New Hope (1977), George Lucas, Director

I am still working on how the films will be seen. Stay tuned!

There will be a midterm (40%), final (40%) and final project. The final will consist of paper in which students describe the film that they would make based on one of the ancient Greco-Roman myths (not limited to those studied in the class) or an original film on an ancient myth. If possible, I'll show examples in class.

I will come up with a final syllabus in November-December. But for now here is what the class will look like.

Catalog Description: 
Comparison and discussion of classical myths and modern films inspired by them. Promotes access to the reading of classical mythology. Analyzes significant differences between ancient literary and modern cinematographic representations of the myth.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
October 13, 2020 - 9:16am