Film Studies | Minor

Film Studies
Patrick Keating
Trinity University
One Trinity Place
San Antonio, TX 78212-7200

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The discipline of film studies includes a range of activities, such as film history, film interpretation, and film theory. For many scholars, the study of film is a valuable form of cultural history. Even the most generic films can reveal significant traits about the societies that produce and consume them. Some films go farther, expressing difficult themes through complex forms, in the manner of great works of art and literature. By situating films within an appropriate historical context, we can increase our understanding of the films - as well as our understanding of the cultures that produced them.

This process of understanding films historically often involves the process of interpretation. Many film studies classes place a special emphasis on developing interpretive skills. Other classes examine questions in film theory, a mode of inquiry that seeks to understand the general traits of film. A film theorist might ask how film differs from painting, or propose a different way of understanding the experience of spectatorship. How the theorist answers those broad questions might shape the way other scholars come to understand individual works.

Film is a major form of cultural expression, and the study of film is the study of culture, like the history of art or the interpretation of literature. Still, production courses do play a major role in any film studies program. For this reason, Trinity's film program encourages students to take courses teaching video production, photography, writing, and other practical skills.