Great Films will not be offered this summer. Please contact us for more information!
For over a decade, the Great Books Summer Program has explored the great debates of classic literature, examining timeless questions about life and nature. The Great Films Summer Program, takes that same Shared Inquiry method, and applies it to the realm of film.
Since the beginning of cinema, a little over a hundred years ago, audiences have been captivated by this visual method of storytelling. Similar to books, films on the surface are about entertainment, allowing us to escape into far-off worlds and embark on imaginative journeys. However, just like a book, they can be read or viewed as entertainment, but can also be read at a deeper level that rewards close reading. As the filmmaker Ingmar Bergman once said, "No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight room of the soul."
Summer 2015: Explore "The City" through Film
This past summer’s theme was "The City." Ranging from foreign to independent and mainstream Hollywood films from the last 70 plus years, every movie, in some way, deals with cities - how individuals exist within larger communities and how they are shaped by the places in which they live. We taled about what it means to live in a city, to belong to a community, as well as how individuals can be excluded by their cities. The selected movies raised more focused questions about the conditions under which individuals belong to communities of all sorts: from that membership in a political community we call “citizenship,” to our membership in other “communities” such as families, social circles, market society, or even a community like Great Books.
In addition to these larger thematic discussions, we also examined the audio and visual aesthetics that make cinema unique, introducing students to the methodology and terminology used when talking about film, to provide them the foundational aspects of film analysis. Topics covered included cinematography, direction, perspective, editing, lighting and sound, musical score, acting, character development, and story structure.
Join Us Next Summer!
Offered only for one session at Amherst, this is a perfect program for both new students interested in movies and students who have been with us before, looking to expand their critical thinking skills. Enrollment is open to students currently in grades 8 - 12.
Come spend a week watching important movies, reading screenplay excerpts, interviews, and criticism. Join professors and industry professionals to explore cinema as a source of big ideas and deep discussion about universally compelling issues. Enjoy stimulating discussion about the philosophical questions and ideas raised in film, as well as the style, structure, and craft of filmmaking that writers and directors have used to tell their stories on screen.
Great Films is at Amherst College. Students can create a combo program by adding a week or two of traditional Great Books before!
* A Note on Applying: To Register for Great Films, on page 2 of the application select the Great Films Program check box. Use the drop down box to choose the one, two, three or four week program of your choice—just remember that you must choose July 26—30 at Amherst as a part of your selection to be able to take part in Great Films.