Cinephilia: Theory and Practice

Nico Baumbach

Cinephilia would not appear to be something you would study in a classroom.  Loving movies and analyzing them are often thought to be not only separate but opposed. But what would it mean to study cinephilia?  Is there a specific kind of love or desire that cinema inspires?  And does this love have a history and does it express itself differently in different times and places?  In 1996, Susan Sontag claimed that cinephilia had died.  Since then many people have argued that the digital age has produced a new cinephilia.  This class will consider cinephilias new and old, across a range of examples and practices.  Readings in film theory may include essays by Susan Sontag, Jean Epstein, Serge Daney, Samuel Delany, and many others.  Films may include Rose Hobart (Cornell, 1936), Casablanca (Curtiz, 1942), The Watermelon Woman (Dunye, 1996), Goodbye, Dragon Inn (Tsai, 2003), and others.