Film Studies Certificate Program

Film Studies Certificate Program Coordinator: Assoc. Prof. Özlem Öğüt
Office: TB 475

Assistant Coordinator: Lamia Kabal, E-mail:, Office: TB 455

Department Secretary: İrem Akman, E-mail:, Office: TB 465

Students who wish to apply for the certificate program are advised to read the information provided on this page carefully. Those who are currently enrolled in the program are also advised to consult this page on a regular basis to stay informed about the program requirements and regulations.

Total: 7 courses (21 credits)

Students enrolled in the Certificate Program are required to successfully complete 7 courses (21 credits) on Film/Cinema. Three of these courses (FA 341, FA 348, and FA 349) are required courses; the other 4 can be selected from a pool of courses on film studies offered by the Department of Western Languages and Literatures under the code name FA or from among relevant courses offered by other departments, upon the approval of the certificate advisor.

In order for a course to qualify as a certificate course, its title must include Film or Cinema (such as Politics and Cinema, Philosophy and Cinema, etc.), and/or its content must consist predominantly of topics and readings related to Film and screening of films.

Such a course taken abroad in exchange programs can also be counted towards the certificate if the student consults with the program coordinator about the title and content of the course before enrollment and if s/he presents upon her/his return the syllabus of the course as well as her/his official transcript from the exchange institution showing the grade on that course.

All courses must be taken as credit. Non-credit courses cannot be counted towards the certificate.

All undergraduate students enrolled at Bogazici University for their third semester or above with a GPA of at least 3.00 and who have taken at least one film/cinema course are qualified to apply for admission to the Film Certificate Program.

The admission process is currently being carried out online due to Covid-19. Students who wish to enroll in the Film Certificate Program should send the scanned version of their filled-in Application Form and their most recent transcript to the program coordinator Assoc. Prof. Özlem Öğüt and the assistant coordinator Lamia Kabal via e-mail. (See above for the e-mail addresses) You are considered as officially enrolled in the certificate program when you receive an acknowledgment e-mail, which serves as the formal notification of your acceptance.

Students are qualified for admission to the program as long as they meet the entry requirements above. However, only those who successfully complete 7 courses (21 credits) are eligible for the certificate.

Students who have enrolled in the program must hand in/email their most recent transcript to the Film Studies Program Certificate Coordinator and the assistant coordinator at the beginning of each academic semester. Remember to highlight/underline the certificate courses you have successfully completed on your transcript.

Those who fail to submit their up-to-date transcripts for two consecutive semesters (except for the summer semester) are automatically considered to have left the certificate program.

It is the student’s responsibility to plan and ensure the completion of the courses before their graduation. Please note:

The required courses (FA 341, FA 348, and FA 349) cannot be opened every semester or the classes may be full. Therefore, we recommend that you try to take the required courses as early as possible.
FA 349 – Film Theory is the most advanced course among the required courses. Therefore, it is recommended that you take FA 348 – Introduction to Film Analysis and FA 341 History of the Cinema before you take FA – 349 Film Theory.

Students who are in the program and will graduate must contact the coordinator a semester before their graduation to notify their intent to graduate and make sure that the courses they have completed and/or will take in their last semester will lead to the completion of the program.

In order to finalize the certification process, students are required to highlight/underline all 7 courses successfully completed on their transcripts and email it to the program coordinator & assistant coordinator before their graduation. Please note that students who fail to carry out the final step (i.e., send in their final transcripts at the end of their last semester, before their graduation) cannot receive a certificate. It is the student’s responsibility to make sure that they send in their graduation transcript to receive the certificate.

Program students will receive their certificates along with their diplomas at the end of the Spring semester. Those who graduate in the Fall semester likewise receive their certificates at the end of the Spring semester.

Who can apply?
All undergraduate students enrolled in Boğaziçi University can apply.

I am not a student of Boğaziçi University. Can I apply?
The certificate program is not an intensive program designed to be completed within the time frame of one semester. However, students who are not affiliated with our university but wish to take courses on film studies can apply as a ‘special student’ to our university. Special students are non-degree students admitted on a semester basis to take one or more courses. You can contact the Office of International Relations for more information on being a special student:

How do I apply?
Submit your filled-in application form along with your most recent transcript to the coordinator’s mailbox (WLL Office: TB 4th floor).

Covid-19 Update: The admission process is currently being carried out online due to Covid-19. You can apply by emailing the filled-in application form and your up-to-date transcript to the program coordinator and the assistant coordinator.

It is the student’s responsibility to consult with their department advisor(s) about graduation credits or any other relevant issue before enrolling in the program.

How do I know if I have been admitted?
Students who meet the application requirements are automatically admitted to the program. There is no formal notification of acceptance. Those who emailed their application will receive an e-mail reply acknowledging the receipt of their application.

Is there a deadline for application?
Students may apply to the program at the beginning of their third or fourth semester. You are advised to apply by the beginning of your final year at the latest.

There is no certain date or time period designated for the acceptance of the applications. The program accepts applications throughout the academic year.

I am enrolled in the program. Is there a procedure to follow?
Enrolled students must submit their most recent transcripts at the beginning of each semester– after the end of add/drop period. Remember to highlight/underline the certificate courses on your transcript of records.

Also, you are expected to notify the coordinator of your intent to graduate at the beginning of the last semester of your senior year.

Is a film course with a grade P (Pass/Fail grading system) counted towards the certificate?
As per Covid-19 non-letter grading option, a course graded with a P (Pass) instead of a letter grade during a COVID semester can be counted towards the certificate.

I spent a semester/year abroad through Erasmus/Exchange. Will these courses count towards the certificate?
This is subject to the approval of the program coordinator. You should consult with the coordinator about the content of the course and present the syllabus of the course as well as the transcript of records you have received from the host institution upon your return.

How do I get my certificate?
To get the certificate, students enrolled in the program must submit their graduation transcript to the program coordinator & assistant coordinator at the end of their last semester. You should highlight/underline the certificate courses you have successfully completed on your transcript. This is the final step; you are not required to do anything else for the certificate.

Please note that students who fail to carry out the final step (i.e., send in their final transcripts at the end of their last semester, before their graduation) cannot receive a certificate. It is the student’s responsibility to make sure that they send in their graduation transcript to receive the certificate.

Where/when do I get my certificate?
Certificates are issued by the Registrar’s Office. You will receive your certificate along with your diploma at the end of the Spring semester. Students who graduate in the Fall semester likewise receive their certificates at the end of the Spring Semester.

Required courses and most commonly offered elective courses are detailed below. Not all of the courses are offered every semester.

Required Courses

This course aims to open a new perception in the participantsʼ mind and redefine cinema as an aesthetic communication medium that can be analyzed on many levels, just as any art form. Throughout the semester, students will have a chance to watch many films which will be the subject of discussions in class, and they will get the chance to develop a diverse sense of examining what they see and hear on the screen, to gain awareness toward a filmʼs means of narration and grammar and to express their thoughts on the class and on their papers.

To have a sense of the history of cinema and to form a coherent picture out of a complex sum of works, this course focuses on the basics, simplifies, and reduces significant developments that have taken place in the (late) 19th and 20th centuries. In order to accomplish this task, we take up a familiar framework that puts western developments at the center of the issue, however, remain critical of the ramifications of such a method. The idea of cinema enters the imaginations as a project of science and incubates until necessary technological advancements. As the spectacle becomes a commercial success, the new medium attains a schizophrenic character as art and commercial production. The battle between companies and national cinemas follows a basic economic pattern of standardization and industrialization. It will be one of our tasks to reveal the undergoing mechanisms that gather the elements of production to analyze them. In terms of film theory, criticism, analysis, and even appreciation, our primary indulgence will be within the historical significance of works rather than aesthetic strength. As such, Hollywood will be given less space of time, while post-colonial cinemas of the world will receive relatively more attention. For the sake of simplicity, we divide the developments into three periods which are as geographical as they are chronological. We begin with the pre-classic early years and go on to understand the classic cinemas of the western industries. The final period is dubbed as a World Cinema that will be scrutinized under the influence of global economies. Throughout our work, we’ll pay special attention to the aesthetic form as reflective of historical value and frequently discuss, in a concise manner, concepts such as narration, cinematography and mise-en-scene, sound, and editing. Hopefully, our endeavors will provide a sufficient idea of how cinema as an art form has been involved in an intense interplay with modern history, politics, and the human world in general. Finally, we’ll try and relate our knowledge to the cinema in Turkey and contemporary cinema in general. The challenges, subversion, and unsettlement of artists against the market will be of special importance in this respect. Prerequisites: This is an introductory course that requires no previous experience in film studies, although prior knowledge of prominent films and/or terminology will prove useful.

The theoretical approaches regarding cinema have paralleled the history of cinematic inventions in the early stages and matured into a discipline of its own in recent decades. Our task, therefore, is two-fold. On the one hand, there’s the duty of covering a concise review of critical traditions, mainly the tensions between formalist and realist theories; on the other, there’s the challenge of making sense of the second phase of film theory where the specific takes over the core of film criticism from the all-encompassing grand theories. As with all theories regarding a specific form of art, there are early debates that focus on the art of the medium of cinema as well as what the artist should do with it. As each of the axes of the film market, the artistic approaches, and technological advancements converged on specific standards, the questions central to film theory evolved the works of the scholars into more politically charged endeavors. Therefore, the aim of this introductory course is not only to match theoreticians with theories but also to historically and geographically situate how these approaches came to be what they are. The method to be utilized is somewhat cautious, albeit a conservative one. We will work on about twenty major names as representatives of certain perspectives and try to investigate their conflicts as well as their most prominent ideas and terminologies, neologisms, etc. The caution at hand becomes important as we will evaluate their opinions as distinct from the supposed camps they belong to. As such, sometimes two opposing tendencies will be put forth as in agreement on a certain idea – as is the evaluation of the concept of the film subject matter by formalist Béla Balázs and realist Siegfried Kracauer. We will try to support our knowledge on paper by attending screenings of major works of cinema. These screenings will prove helpful as the theories we study become applicable. The idea is to first digest these works as noumenal and then approach them with the tools we gather from theory. Lastly, there’s the attempt to remind ourselves of the ignored or underrated texts within the discipline, where our goal will be to reveal the shortcomings of film theories up to now and even the paradoxes of contemporary theories that seem to be in fashion. This course defines film theory as the philology of film languages, and it is a project to bring about a plural vision of theory that corresponds to the plurality of cinema as art. Prerequisites: This is an advanced introductory course that requires no previous experience in film studies, although prior knowledge of prominent films and/or terminology will prove helpful. It is to your advantage to be at ease with tough philosophical texts and be familiar with art and literature criticism, although this is precisely the course to attain such ease and familiarity regarding cinema.

Elective Courses

This course aims to dwell on the themes of the mystery and unknown in the film which are mainly linked with mysterious and metaphysical subjects evolving and thriving from the fear and curiosity it creates in the characters in films. All the emotions aroused and reactions given by characters in films toward the unknown are linked to the psychologies of the characters. Moving from this point, films of the unknown, films of mystery, and films based on the subject of ‘The Other’ will give us a chance to discuss character development and psychology in films. The course will be carried out based on films and readings from the genres of Mystery, Suspense, Psychological Thrillers, The Other, and Science Fiction and class discussions based on these topics.

The purpose of the course will be to explore and understand the use of classical music in art movies starting with The Birth of a Nation in 1915 up until today. Films will be screened partially, and musical extracts will be discussed. The 12-week lectures start with a historical introduction to the utilization of classical music in the early era of cinema. Diegetic and non-diegetic music and their particular use will then be discussed. A discussion on the effect of leitmotivs and classical music as a device supporting the narrative will follow. After this three-week introduction, we will explore classical music used as leitmotiv and supporting narrative, then films on opera and opera in films, and the use of classical music in period movies. We will then examine the way how specific pieces of music have added to some of the greatest dramas and films of the past. Finally, the course will conclude with a discussion of auteur cinema and cover how seven essential directors have used music in their films; Bunuel, Bresson, Bergman, Pasolini, Kubrick, Godard, Tarkovsky, and Fassbinder. Extracts from almost 100 films are intended to be shown and discussed. There will be no requirement for pre-lecture reading, screening, or preparation. However, attendance will be obligatory, since grades will only be based on attendance, performance in class, and homework in the form of essays. Screenings of assignments will be made in class.

More than 115 years after its birth, documentary film production in Turkey is on the rise, with more and more diverse voices being represented. This course offers a critical study of documentary cinema in Turkey, focusing on how reality is represented; how various topics and issues are articulated in documentaries; how various approaches to documentary filmmaking are utilized; how filmmakers have addressed theoretical and ethical issues in documentary representation; and how documentaries have been used and received. In a two-tiered approach, we will study the historical developments, as well as the contemporary scene with guests (scholars and filmmakers). THIS IS A 400-LEVEL SCREENING, READING, AND WRITING INTENSIVE COURSE, DESIGNED FOR UPPER-LEVEL UNDERGRADUATE AND GRADUATE STUDENTS. STUDENTS MUST BE ABLE TO READ AND UNDERSTAND TURKISH TO TAKE THE COURSE FOR CREDIT.

“All Love is based on a certain relationship between two unconscious knowledges,” claims the French psychoanalyst Lacan. Rather than certain symbolic communication between people, it is the subject’s unconscious that speaks in the context of love. This course will take on a grisly exploration of the bounds of love, desire, and knowledge as they are visually and discursively expressed in world cinemas.

This course will not necessarily be an advanced course. Anybody interested in filmmaking can take it. However, students should be able to shoot with their own equipment (anything that can shoot is fine, even mobile phones), and they need to be able to operate one of the editing software (doesn’t matter which one is), at least at a basic level. This course will not be about teaching the essentials of any of the editing software.  We will instead talk about the grammar of the film language and analyze the video collages that students will make and some specific scenes from certain films.

Identifying cinematic images as connate with any imaging of the world, it is an arduous task to distinguish between capturing violence as an image and the violence of the image itself. On the one hand, there’s the challenge of defining violence, and on the other, the problem of isolating the image from the imaginary. In this case, the image of violence, at once, captures violence as an image and reveals it as violence, while the violence of the image resides in the subversion of this equation of capturing and revealing. Put in simpler words, the relevant endeavor is towards situating the phenomena of capturing and revealing each other. The politics of the question of the violence of the image comes to be revealed in a variety of experiences such as censorship, propaganda, film festivals, education, etc. Moreover, the basic tenets of such violence or violences are drawn in relation to dichotomies of high vs. popular culture, mass vs. alternative media, authority vs. resistance, studio productions vs. independent films, as well as axes of the first world vs. the third world. Naturally, it is a part of our questioning to interrogate the validity of such divisions, although every noun or term properly speaks its own history. In the course of this seminar, we will concentrate on putting into discussion a categorical theme concerning violence and image every week. Our discussions will develop into an answer to two preliminary questions, successful or not: How is the image itself violent? What is the violence of the image itself? It is important to note that the primary aim will always be to maintain a level of questioning that hears itself and gets to know itself rather than confining itself to the non-literary interrogative mood. In other words, our work is not to reveal something we’re looking for; it is to expose the questions to the violences of images. In the course of our discussions, a wide variety of resources will be covered. There’ll be excerpts from literature and philosophical texts which will be supplementary for the initiative questions regarding the films. Thus, the theoretical determination of the lectures will be based on texts that interrogate our thematics within specific fields. In terms of film criticism, our primary indulgence will be within the analysis of a genre unless the structure of the film demands complimentary readings such as auteur theory, psychoanalysis, or historical-movement-based explications as in surrealism or Japanese new-wave. Prerequisites: Students who are willing to attend this course should consider that without at least a minor background in film studies or social sciences, the lectures, discussions, and responsibilities will prove to be inaccessible. This is an advanced course that urges every one of us to read and observe in depth. It should be noted that students seeking a certificate in film studies will be given priority.

This course is designed as an advanced workshop for students enrolled in the Film Studies Certificate Program, who have successfully completed the 3 core courses (FA 341 History of Cinema, FA 348 Introduction to Film Analysis, FA 349 Film Theory) AND who have a semester-long project they want to realize. This project can be a theoretical/research or a practical project: either intensive directed reading/research and writing of a paper or the production of a short film/video/any other film-related project and its written analysis. It is assumed that the participant has an adequate background in film studies and is ready to embark on a semester-long project of her/his own design. STUDENTS MUST SUBMIT A WRITTEN PROJECT PROPOSAL IN ADVANCE VIA EMAIL IN ORDER TO REQUEST THE INSTRUCTOR’S CONSENT TO TAKE THIS COURSE.

Students must be able to read and understand Turkish to take this course for credit. This course offers to bring two different disciplines together, Oral History and Documentary, and focuses on the history of Turkish Cinema through the audiovisual recordings of interviews with retired figures (directors, producers, actors and actresses, cinematographers, etc.) of the old Turkish Film Industry (a.k.a. Yesilcam). Throughout the semester, the students will be taking part in making oral history documentaries.

The conditions of being a male subject and cinema go roughly side by side. This course explores the ways how film studies have been influenced by male subjectivity and psychoanalysis, and investigates the ways in which studies of male subjectivity have informed cinema in Turkey, either through aesthetics or plotting and characterization. The course will provide an essential understanding of fundamental concepts of male subjectivity in psychoanalysis and will offer exercises in film analysis. Classes will begin with a film screening, continued by a discussion of concepts, and will conclude with a focus on intersection points of readings and films. By the end of the course, students will be able to develop the main skills of analyzing male subjectivity in film and to develop their own ideas about film in relation to male subjectivity and apply them to further examples.

Being subversive is no novelty or, in fact, a proper adjective for any art form. If we take subversion as an act of liberation from oppression and stick to that specific meaning, the question becomes clear: Is there art without subversion? What is art if it does not liberate us? It is a rhetorical reminder, then, to call for subversion, thence subversive art. The answer to what there is to be subverted becomes, at this point, the myths surrounding us. More than that, the surrounding that is itself the myth is the subject of this subversion that is reminded. The blurred image that resists definition in its negativity that we call the modern subject or individual. The binary tensions such as sense and sensibility, reason and emotion, master and slave, homogeneity and heterogeneity… Amidst crises of such tensions, there’s the always ubiquitous urgency to cope with –. With what is there to be defined at each level? This course is a seminar that focuses on putting into discussion a different aspect of these urgencies every week. Our discussions will evolve around basic questions concerning our myths, such as: What does it mean to be living in a modern age? The aim of this course is to further these basic questions and ask how cinema deals with them itself as an artistic medium. In the course of our discussions, a wide variety of resources will be covered. There’ll be excerpts from literature that were adapted into film as well as background information and criticism concerning the directors, genres, or merely the specific film in the discussion. However, the theoretical determination of the lectures will be based on philosophical or indirectly related literary texts that interrogate our thematics within fields such as economy, fascism, art, etc. In terms of film criticism, our primary indulgence will be within the analysis of a genre unless the structure of the film demands complimentary readings such as auteur theory, psychoanalysis, or historical-movement-based explications as in surrealism or Japanese new-wave.

The aim of this course is to examine the location of mainstream and independent filmmaking in a national/transnational context. How do films help to construct/reconstruct/deconstruct the nation as an ‘imagined community’? How can films challenge or reinforce the grand narrative of a nation? How are the stylistic elements of a film interpreted in its national/transnational context? While exploring this path, the topics that will be discussed in class include the concept of national and transnational cinema, diasporic and minority filmmaking, auteur theory, and nation.

American movies have captured the imagination of the mass audience since the end of the 19th century. Like all popular culture, movies developed through a complex set of negotiations between producers and audiences that occurred over time and evolved in response to changing cultural and historical contexts. In this course, students will examine the evolution of the formal elements through which American films tell stories that respond to changing audience expectations and social contexts. The focus will be on American commercial cinema.

In this course, we try to discover the principles of storytelling for screenplays with examples from the world cinema and try to design our own stories and screenplays in our native language.

You can’t write good screenplays without a good story and characters. You can’t design a good story without deep characters and attractive plots. Writing stories for screenplays are one of the most effective ways of expressing our feelings and ideas which are flying in our mind. But if you want to express yourself to the universe, by all means. You need to be grounded by the principles of storytelling.

“Story is about principles, not rules

Story is about eternal, universal forms, not formulas

Story is about the realities, not mysteries of writing” -Robert McKee-

This course explores the art of narrative construction in the world of television drama, a domain that rapidly developed in the past decades.  Storytelling and screenwriting on television require a different approach than other similar genres.  The practical world of screenwriting differs greatly from perceived notions of it, mainly due to its unfinished nature. The screenwriter hands over a product/work which will be finished by others. This fact, especially within the ongoing process of a television series, complicates the art of the writer. S/he has to balance the artist with the artisan, the practitioner with the theoretician, and the rebel with the clerk. The creator and the manager have to work side by side within her/his mind. The course aims to delve into the machinery of this balance, thus showing the twofold nature of screenwriting.

Given the experience of the instructor in the film sector, the course is modeled after a professional writer’s room. The course focuses on the process of writing, with a focus on research material, on creating a series universe, building a story, cultivating story and character arcs, pitching the idea to networks/producers, and finally, writing episodes. Leading professionals from the television sector, like producers, directors, actors, and composers, will be invited to comment on their contribution to the overall narrative of television drama.

As the process unfolds, students will work together to produce different story ideas and choose among them one to be transformed into a script for a television drama.  At each step, theoretical information will be given and discussed in terms of how narratives are shaped in form and in content.  An important part of the course is devoted to writing ‘the first episode of a television drama, a process that will introduce students to screenwriting grammar and dramatic construction.

In the end, they will each produce a treatment (outline) for their first episode and one complete sequence of scenes chosen from their treatment. This will be the basis for their final evaluation.  Students will also have supervised access to the instructor’s own writers’ group and the material they are currently working on.

The course, therefore, aims to open boundaries to creative practice and find outlets for creative passions without being isolated within a classroom but situated within the real professional world. This way, students will have a comprehensive introduction to the art and artisanship of screenwriting and learn about the dramatic structure of screenwriting in television through the works of established writers, both theoretically and practically.  Students will learn about current, up-to-date methods of screenwriting the world and develop their potential to find authentic, personal sources for writing.  They will also practice organized group cooperation in artistic creation and learn to work efficiently with people outside of their field.

In order to enter a worldliness within cinematic times and spaces, we base our understanding on givens that rely on various assumptions. We refer to these assumptions whenever we talk of suspended disbelief, cinematic language, auteurs, genre, or even basic criticism. As such, understanding the foundations of what we call the diegetic in cinema proves to be crucial in every aspect of our appreciation of the medium. The immediate questions surrounding the characteristics of diegesis in cinema aim at micro-level inquiries regarding audiovisual stimuli as well as macro-level investigations regarding ideology. Therefore, it is a laborious task to systematically examine and explicate how we distinguish the diegetic from the non-diegetic before we elaborate on what diegesis itself is. The approach in this seminar course depends on the study of three levels of translation. The “cultural” translation which is literary in most cases; the adaptation, which relies on intermediaries; and interpretation, seems to be the most invisible of the three in terms of language. Our methodology will be fairly phenomenological in the sense that comparisons will be substituted with immediate dialogues between 1 – Texts and their adaptations in cinema, 2 – Among adaptations themselves, 3 – Works of a genre, 4 – Works sharing a theme. In this regard, every dialogue will be a matter of an autonomous consciousness and the emphasis will be on intentionalities rather than suppositions of underlying structures. For example, this means that when we are looking at a cinematic adaptation of a text, we will try, bend and maybe even disregard all evaluation that assumes the superiority of the text over its various translations. This will further mean that the distinction of the works will surpass the intentions of their creators. In the course of our discussions, a narrowed-down variety of resources will be covered. There’ll be texts of literature which will be as central as the films. The theoretical determination of the lectures will be based on all texts given our systematics within specific debates.

To acquire a working knowledge of dramatic structure for film and television. To analyze the underlying structure of other
To familiarize yourself with the professional practices of screenplay and television writing.

In this course, we try to discover the real meaning of the myth for the human psyche and the principles of the mythological structure of storytelling with examples from the world cinema and try to design our own adapted mythic stories, especially by reading, watching, and comparing traditional/modern World and Turkish Mythic stories in Turkish. (esp. legends, folktales, epics, urban myths, etc.)

This course is designed to analyze the basic patterns and pillars of popular culture as they are used and revealed in certain examples from American and world cinemas to present to the masses the basic institutions of popular culture. In the method, it is essentially a film-reading course.

The meaning of “popular”, a brief history of popular culture, its main pillars and basic elements, characteristic features, paradigms, replication myth, and the influence of myths like creation myths, themes, and patterns. Readings of films from the USA, Turkey, England, TV shows and programs, music, and art, namely; sculpture, architecture; their language and style and presentations, their artistic and political and ideological interpretations.

This course offers students a survey of world cinema by examining various films directed by major contemporary filmmakers. Questions about evolving and flexible notions such as (trans)national cinemas, film genres, digital cinema, spectatorship, and stardom are likely to arise in classroom discussions. We will highlight the works of certain very prominent and influential directors rather than employing a thematically or historically specific perspective.

While it carries the debatable term “world cinema” in its title, this course does not solely focus on “foreign” or “international” cinemas. We will discuss directors from new centers of exciting cinematic activity (such as Southeast Asia and Latin America), English-speaking territories, including the US, and continental Europe alike. Throughout our discussions, we will see many different channels through which these regional borders are challenged;

including but not limited to financial or institutional mechanisms, production practices, and cinematic kinship among directors from diverse backgrounds.

Within the scope of this course, the word “contemporary” functions as a tool to keep our endeavor focused and manageable rather than referring to a particular time period. One of our main objectives is to study a balanced mix of established and emerging directors, highlighting the connections between their works and building bridges across generations.

This is a survey course, no previous knowledge or academic study of film is necessary.

Interest in different cultures and films from various corners of the world is useful but not


Perhaps the most important particularity of the cinema as an artistic field may be its collective nature during its production process, and at the same time, it is also consumed in a collective way, many people come together as film audience to watch these movies … This characteristic helps it to become an agency for live dialogue between human beings. Directors aiming to transmit their beliefs, ideas, and sentiments to large masses thanks to their movies need the help of many people from different fields, and people from different classes, ages, and professions watch these films together in movie theaters. This course would like to concentrate on the relationship between audience and artist, following the traces of main institutions of the history of cinema like cinematheques, clubs, and reviews . These opportunities provided by cinema, the capacity of movies to shape human beings’ lives, minds, and lifestyles deserve to be elaborated. During this course, many important movies will be analyzed.

Film noir is a particular mood, tone, and sensibility predominant in Hollywood films of the 1940s and 1950s, a period that falls between the end of the Great Depression and the beginning of the Cold War. This course is a comprehensive study exploring classical film noir from its roots in German Expressionism, French Poetic Realism, Depression-era Gangster films, and American Hard-boiled fiction that shaped its visual, narrative, and thematic characteristics, to its legacy and resurgence as Neo-noir and Tech-noir from the 1970s onwards. Through the analysis of various films from different phases of classical noir, this course intends to reveal how film noir became a challenge to “Classical Hollywood” with its mode of production and stylistic expression, and how it became a critique of American society under the impact of World War II by addressing questions of morality, sexuality, gender, and identity.

In this course, we aim to recover twelve master directors from twelve different countries and cultures. These directors are significant in the history of cinema because of the themes they developed in their movies as well as the novelties they brought to the form.

Angelopoulos, Eisenstein, Bergman, Bunuel, Ceylan, Fassbinder, Ford, Godard, Kurosawa, Loach, Ray, and Visconti: all of them produced masterpieces of film history, and their production may be defined as turning points in the evolution of cinema as an artistic realm. We think that their works can be analyzed and identified from many perspectives as they are most relevant to define the main purposes of film as art.

Native place-making and universal, developed and underdeveloped, East and West, conventional and avant-garde, national and international, all of these dualities profoundly elaborated in human and social sciences will also be important for us to think about and discuss leading works of arts of these authors. Moreover, these masters are people who profoundly specialized in philosophical matters like the big adventure of humankind in our planet, the conflicts of the human inner world, and the problems that individuals face in their society. In this course, we will try to contemplate the topics treated by these masters.

Analyzing by showing scenes from some movies of these directors, like Ray, Kurosawa, and Eisenstein, who pictured their movies before shooting, like Ray and  Ceylan, who are also cinematographers, Fassbinder who focuses on topics in a very original way, Angelopoulos and Ceylan who are able to narrate the people of their countries to the sensitive audience, Godard and Visconti, Fassbinder and Ford or Bergman and Bunuel who came to the scene and produced masterpieces by adopting totally different methods.

Films as a work of art certainly deserve to be elaborated independently, but we believe that they augment their values and the other works’ values when they are compared to other works from the realm of art and thought. Without any doubt, these directors are not only the “best” and “most prized” and “successful” ones in film history. Some of their movies are not from the great and successful movies of cinema history. We believe, however, that they form an oeuvre. We certainly know, respect, and love directors like Chaplin, Welles, Bertolucci, and Yılmaz Güney, but we decided to select only one director from every important geography of the world cinema production in the frame of twelve weeks.

 This course has the objective of giving some introductory knowledge on the very diverse discussions concerning “politics” and the cinematic medium. Obviously, there are many ways of analyzing films from a “political” perspective. One common approach is to look at the “content” of the film and classify it as “political” if the film talks about a certain political event. This is a superficial way of looking at films, as “politics” can involve not only the “content” of the film but its very “form,” philosophical depth, socio-political background, production conditions, audience relationship, marketing, and so on.  That’s why “independent” cinema today is almost synonymous with “progressive” or “political” cinema, even though the film may not center around an obvious political event. This course will, then, try to focus on different movements and individual filmmakers who were either “directly” linked to politics along with aesthetic progressivism (Soviet Realism or Leni Riefenstahl), which were seemingly not related to politics at all but indirectly reflected a deep social schism (German Expressionism), films that had overt modernist and revolutionary forms (Jean Luc Godard, Yılmaz Güney), movements that were mostly humanistic and innovative (neo-realism) and, lastly, films (from Turkish cinema) that are mostly classified as “independent” and/or “accented” (as Naficy once said) that focus on “minorities”  and on the lives of the “marginalized.”

Italian Neorealism is one of the most influential, visually distinctive, and thematically challenging waves in the history of cinema. The worldwide turmoil that shaped the neorealists’ visions then, can be traced in every aspect of the films produced during the very short time neorealism went on. The revolutionary changes and possibilities this wave emerged led other genres and waves to be born, like French New Wave. This course aims to focus on Italian Neorealism, the thematic and stylistic aspects of the wave, by analyzing the films of the most significant directors of the time. Once the roots of Neorealism are fully established, and the means and ways are absorbed, the course will shift to discover the magic realism that replaced realism in the European cinema of the 1950s. The course will get to the root of magical realism and similar tendencies in the cinema and the literature that procreated the magic realism definition in the first place. The course will also feed from Surrealism and Psychological Realism. During the semester, substantial works of literature and painting will be visited in order to get a broader understanding of different approaches to realism.

Since the mid-1800s, people have used still images (photography) and since the 1890s, moving images (first silent film, later sound film) to represent reality as they perceive and choose to represent it. The history of documentary cinema consists of a series of experimentations in an attempt to represent reality, taking its material from the historical world we live in. Since the very beginning, with these experimentations, debates about ethical, aesthetic, and critical issues in film representation of reality have been unfolding. This course offers a critical look at the historical development of documentary cinema in the world: non-fiction film forms and modes, theories, and criticism. We will examine how filmmakers as cultural media producers have chosen to represent reality, how changing technologies and sensibilities have affected the way reality is represented in documentaries, and how nonfiction films have been used for different purposes.