In: Film and Music

Submitted By abhu
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Americans are increasingly becoming a nation of watchers and listeners. Americans still read, to be sure, and there are few thoughtful people who would underestimate the intrinsic value of literature. Yet we are increasingly living in a society dominated by the images that come to us daily through our televisions or over the Internet. In this state of affairs, it should come as no surprise that Hollywood has been on the forefront of this techno-social wave, with movies becoming a larger part of our culture than ever before.

Amid the high-tech atmosphere of the twenty-first century, it is interesting to note the recent resurgence of the ancient world as the setting for new films. In 2000, Ridley Scott's Gladiator proved that audiences could be as receptive to the ancient world as they had been in the 1950s and 1960s, when now classic movies like Ben Hur (1959) and Spartacus (1960) commanded so much attention. In 2004, Mel Gibson upped the ante further with The Passion of the Christ, daring not only to present Jesus' sufferings with gut-wrenching realism, but also to take the remarkable step of using Latin and Aramaic in the film's dialogue. Even the critically disparaged Troy (2004) managed to be financially successful on account of audiences' enduring interest in the antiquity. The success of these movies, in turn, has led to new television offerings exploring the ancient world such as HBO's Rome (2005) and ABC's Empire (2005).

Given Hollywood's revived interest in antiquity as a setting for films, it seems appropriate to look back on the ancient film genre as a way of understanding the history of the cinema and examining our enduring fascination with the ancient world itself. This course will introduce you to the history of Hollywood's treatment of the ancient world, acquaint you with the fundamentals of film criticism and teach you to use critical techniques…...

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