Module Leader: Dr. Karl Schoonover
The 1970s was a period of violence and upheaval in the US, but is also celebrated as a time of dynamic social change and cultural innovation.
We’ll explore how this was reflected in American cinema of the time. On the one hand, films of the time had dark worldviews: neo-Noir, dystopic, doused in conspiracy, or plagued by fantasies of large-scale catastrophe. On the other, they reflected the ecstatic exuberance of sexual liberation, gender trouble, and new forms of social power.
In this period, the Hollywood film industry was shaken by fierce independent producers, maverick directors, the rise of the blockbuster, and the burgeoning of new modes of in-home delivery, such as cable TV and videotape. The 1970s also brought formal inventiveness to even the most mainstream of movies, which boldly mixed codes from high and low genres, experimented with arty European aesthetics, and allowed young directors greater freedom over film style and content. We’ll explore how these industrial shifts interacted with vast social upheaval to create some of the most compelling cinema in Hollywood’s history.