A. COVER PAGE
1. Course Title 9. Subject Area
FILM AND LITERATURE History/Social Science
2. Transcript Title / Abbreviation
3. Transcript Course Code / Number
141 1S / 142 2S Laboratory Science
4. School Language other than English
Menlo School Visual & Performing Arts (for 2003)
College Prep Elective
6. City 10. Grade Level(s)
7. School / District Web Site 11. Seeking “Honors” Distinction?
www.menloschool.org X Yes No
8. School Contact 12. Unit Value
X 0.5 (half year or semester equivalent)
Name: Anne Harris
1.0 (one year equivalent)
2.0 (two year equivalent)
Phone: (650) 330-2001 Ext.: 2593
Fax: (650) 330-2004
13. Date of School Board Approval
14. Was this course previously approved by UC?Yes X No If so, year removed from list? ________
Under what course title? ____________________________________________________________________
Yes X No
15. Is this course modeled after an UC-approved course from another school?
If so, which school(s)? ______________________________________________________________________
Successful completion of English 9, 10 and 11 at Menlo w/passing mark.
18. Brief Course Description
Film and Literature is an intensive writing, text-based, advanced-level course aimed at enriching the experience of
textual literary study and expository, critical and analytical writing through the medium of film. Major literary
pairings at the core of the course include Shakespeare’s King Lear and Kurosawa’s Ran; Conrad’s Heart of
Darkness and Coppola’s Apocalypse Now; Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse V and Nolan’s Memento, and close textual
analysis with Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire,
Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and the study of screenplays and scripts, and film theory study in
Understanding Movies by Robert Gianetti. Additionally, students will progressively develop sophisticated writing
skills through weekly response papers and intensive, feedback-based portfolio-building. Throughout the course,
students will enhance their literary, analytical and writing skills by analyzing literature’s translation across genres.
B. COURSE CONTENT
19. Course Goals and/or Major Student Outcomes
1. Sharpen literary analytical and writing skills by closely assessing literary text and visual image.
2. Develop sophisticated writing skills through analytical, reflective and expository writing (and final
3. Heighten perceptiveness to varied genres and literary craft through intensive scrutiny of film and fiction.
4. Enhance oral communication skill through active, regular classroom discussion, leadership and
20. Course Objectives
1. Students will learn to read literature with increased attention to detail, especially the possibilities of
interpretation and variable meanings that come out of literary texts when juxtaposed with film
2. Students will learn how to interpret film and literary cues and images, such as lighting, sound, pace,
backdrop, camera angle, soundtrack and voice over, in order to more fully appreciate creative process and
3. Students will learn how to closely analyze and write critically about even the most complex literary texts.
21. Course Outline
Literary texts and films included in the course’s studies: King Lear, Slaughterhouse V, Heart of Darkness, Ran,
Apocalypse Now, Crime and Punishment, A Streetcar Named Desire, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The
Innocents, “A Turn of the Screw,” A Clockwork Orange, 1984 and Catch 22, selected short stories by Flannery
O’Connor and Raymond Carver, and the films The Ice Storm, Chinatown, Chaplin films, Shakespearean
adaptation films, The Battleship Potemkin, Barton Fink, On the Waterfront, Existenz, The Matrix and numerous
In Film and Literature, an advanced course that mandates close textual analysis and careful literary and
genre study, we will analyze great works of literature, together with highly compelling films that make a
direct or core connection with associated literary works. In addition, we will read short story and script
segments, and will consider carefully elements of screenwriting, film production and the significance that
these details hold in the careful analysis of literature and the creation of compelling images.
Students will help shape their experience in the course by researching at least one full script of a film that
has intrigued them, crossed their paths a number of times or otherwise sparked them on to further study.
Students will also write intensively, ultimately creating a substantial portfolio reflecting the development of
their writing over the semester, based upon weekly written response papers and culminating in a substantial
final exam. In terms of the script study, throughout the course, students will interpret and analyze these
scripts, ultimately concluding the project with at least one major presentation to their peers and a self-led
discussion. Throughout the course, students will be expected to seek out and bring to class ideas that
develop based upon their changing perceptions.
BASIC COURSE DESCRIPTION:
This interactive course, incorporating numerous media including film-viewing, screenplay-analysis,
production technique analysis and the reading of novels, novellas and plays, will explore the translation of
the written word into sound and image in film. Employing a variety of instructional approaches and
refining the skills of critical analysis, close reading, textual interpretation and visual representation, this
highly rigorous, analytical and exploration-based course will highlight not just a number of literary and
film classics, but will also explore the possibilities that arise when powerful and vivid artistic
representations meet around the written word. Film and Literature will be writing-intensive, analysis-based
and discussion-oriented, and will be ideal for students eager to study literature in both its traditional and
less traditional interpretive forms. Regular outside, independent film viewing and research is a course
requirement. Assessment will be based on extensive response papers, class presentations and independent
project work with literature and film.
In this course, students will study the broad analytical and interpretive possibilities afforded through
various representations of literature, specifically through film adaptations; students will analyze the craft
of storytelling through diverse lenses, including screenplay and script analysis, and the close scrutiny of
film and its effects, as they differ from written text; and students will gain skill as a writer and critical
thinker vis-à-vis literature through both close literary/textual analysis and active screen- and scene-writing
activities and interpretation.
22. Texts & Supplemental Instructional Materials
A. PRIMARY WORKS USED:
King Lear by William Shakespeare
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Slaughterhouse V by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
The Republic of Plato
A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee.
B. PRIMARY FILM SCREENPLAYS/TEXTS for STUDY:
Ran, directed by Kurosawa
Apocalypse Now, directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Memento, directed by Christopher Nolan
Chinatown, directed by Roman Polanski
C. ADDITIONAL TEXTS/FILMS/SCREENPLAYS for STUDY:
Main additional texts: Crime and Punishment, “The Turn of the Screw,” One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,
and films: Citizen Kane, Decalogue IX, Existenz, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and numerous others.
Selections from Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley, Critical essays on Heart of Darkness, Norton
Critical Edition, Selections from Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison, Selections from A Streetcar Named
Desire, by Tennessee Williams, Selections from The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne
23. Key Assignments
Students will complete the following assignments:
1. Students will produce eight substantial expository/analytic essays each semester reflecting
2. Students will produce another 2-4 shorter reflective/creative response papers over the course of each
1. Students will complete all assigned reading, which will be supplemented by the reading and close
scrutiny of at least one major screenplay of their choosing as well as a minimum of three
independently studied films.
C. FILM CRITIQUE:
1. Students will carefully critique, present and lead major discussion on at least one film of their own
24. Instructional Methods and/or Strategies
The course’s main instructional strategy will be group-based discussion, supplemented by an occasional
guest lecture. Additional instructional techniques will include guiding students in taking turns leading class
discussions, screening and leading discussion on films (much film viewing will take place outside of
school), and extensive Internet research on an individual basis.
25. Assessment Methods and/or Tools
Students will be assessed by a number of criteria. The rough percentage weighed for each category
Classroom participation/quality/frequency of contribution to discussion (15%)
Major classroom presentations (15%)
Major written work (essays/creative writing/portfolio submission/response papers) (50%)
Comprehensive final exam (20%)