Film Studies 


Ingmar Bergman, the great Swedish film director once said about film that “No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.”  Both the beginning film course, Film Study 1-2, and the advanced film course, Film Study 3-4, offer a comprehensive study of the art, history, and techniques of film; each is designed for serious film students – those who want to learn more about this liveliest of art forms as well as see some of the greatest films ever made. 

Each class is primarily organized around a systematic look at the following film genres:  drama; comedy (romantic, ‘screwball’, slapstick, satire, parody); documentary; western (and the archetypal western hero); war & propaganda; science-fiction; mystery and suspense (particularly the art of Alfred Hitchcock);  film noir (and  the private detective as an extension of western hero),; foreign, and action-adventure.  Discussion focuses closely on the dramatic, literary and cinematic aspects of each film viewed.

Students write interpretations and evaluations of films studied, using essential film terminology they have learned in the course of viewing and discussing films.  Class work includes lectures, viewing, analysis of individual scenes and shots, and in-depth discussions.  Beyond the class students are required to create two projects per quarter; over fifteen project options are offered, including but are not limited to comparing a novel to its film version; comparing and contrasting three films by the same author or of the same genre; reading biographies, histories, and technical books related to the art of the film; creating screenplays, storyboards, set or costume designs; designing posters, videos or other independent (or group) projects and portfolios. The course concludes with a comprehensive essay final. 

Each student must submit a permission slip for selected R rated films to the instructor before enrolling in this course.


Film Study teacher, Pamela Devlin, is currently in her twenty-ninth year as an educator, teaching at both the high school and university level and at every grade level from 7th through 12th as well as every ability level from English as a Second Language (ESL) to Advanced Placement (AP) English Literature and Composition; in addition, she has worked as both a District-level and site administrator, including as founding principal of Maria Carrillo High School.    

While primarily an English teacher, she studied film extensively in college and passionately loves movies, viewing two to three movies each week.   She hopes to impart to her students a deeper appreciation for the art of the film.