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This spring semester course counts for 5 course credits: Film History and Film Grammar

We are excited to welcome you to Cinema! From movies to television shows, the medium of film is everywhere in our culture, and yet few people really know how to engage thoughtfully with a motion picture’s basic elements. In the first ever Emmaus film class, you will develop a language of “film grammar” that will enable you to watch and talk about movies in a new way. By viewing and discussing a selection of important and excellent movies from around the world, we will take a tour through the medium’s rich history while exploring the unique ways films use images and other tools to tell stories.

*None of the films we have assigned in the class have a higher MPAA rating than PG. Many of the films were released before the MPAA rating system went into effect, but none would be higher than PG-13 if released today. None of the films contain graphic sexual content or violence, and there is a minimum of foul language – less than the average Marvel movie. At the same time, we think it is appropriate to note that some of the films deal with what might be considered mature subject matter, such as death, distorted religiosity/spirituality, racism, and sexual sin. It is our belief that the excellence and historical importance of each film merits its inclusion in the curriculum, even if it might cause some discomfort, and we think this is in keeping with Emmaus precedent regarding objectionable content. (For instance, students read Dante’s Inferno and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in Apostles, and this class is aimed at the same age range – high school seniors.) However, we respect parents’ desire to practice discernment when shepherding impressionable young minds, and we understand that there is a difference between reading about something and seeing it depicted, even fleetingly or by implication, on a screen. We recommend familiarizing yourself with the content of the films in the curriculum (the IMDb Parents’ Guide is a helpful and accurate tool) and watching the films together with your students. We take our responsibility as Christian educators very seriously, and we are honored that you trust us to guide your students carefully through these remarkable works of art.

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