Online course: New Light on the Old City: American Neo-Noir (1966-86)

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NEW LIGHT ON THE OLD CITY: AMERICAN NEO-NOIR (1966-86)

­­A 12-WEEK ONLINE COURSE (Spring 2022)

PRESENTED BY MATTHEW ASPREY GEAR

In this original 12-week online course, to be delivered via the Google Meet platform, we’ll study 17 key American films of the early Neo-Noir era (1966-1986) as well as 7 short pieces of noir fiction.

The lectures will explore these films through the stories of their production and in the wider context of American society, history, and politics. We’ll also examine the careers of the major directors and writers.

Classes are limited to a maximum of 12 students. Each week I’ll give an original lecture presentation on the set film and theme and then lead an in-depth group discussion. All participants will have a chance to contribute. The only weekly homework will be to watch a film (or two), and occasionally read a short story. There will be no final exam or essay. This course is designed purely for enjoyment and discovery. All are welcome.

Weekly session: Sundays at 12pm PT/3pm ET (North America)
(8pm UK time/9pm CET)

(NB. The lecture portion of the session will be recorded and available for download if you are unable to attend a live session and need to catch up.)

Price per student: US$130. Contact me at matthewaspreygear@gmail.com for further information.

LECTURE PLAN

February 27
Lecture 1. Experiments in Noir Aesthetics
SECONDS (1966) – John Frankenheimer [107min]
POINT BLANK (1967) – John Boorman [92min]

March 6
Lecture 2. American Paranoia
KLUTE (1971) – Alan J. Pakula [114min]
Reading: Short stories by Patricia Highsmith and Nedra Tyre

March 13
Lecture 3. Crooks on the Lam
THE LAST RUN (1971) – Richard Fleischer [95min]
CHARLEY VARRICK (1973) – Don Siegel [111min]

March 20
Lecture 4. Guns in the Street
ACROSS 110th STREET (1972) – Barry Shear [102min]

THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE (1973) – Peter Yates [103min]
Reading: Excerpt from Mikey and Nicky screenplay by Elaine May

March 27
Lecture 5. The Private Eye Revisited I.
NIGHT MOVES (1975) – Arthur Penn [100min]

Reading: Excerpt from The Last Good Kiss (1978) by James Crumley  

April 3
Lecture 6. The Private Eye Revisited II.
THE LONG GOODBYE (1973) – Robert Altman [112min]
THE LATE SHOW (1977) – Robert Benton [93min]

April 10
Lecture 7. The Private Eye Revisited III.
CHINATOWN (1974) – Roman Polanski [131min]

* ONE WEEK BREAK *

April 24
Lecture 8. Vietnam Noir
WHO’LL STOP THE RAIN (1978) – Karel Reisz [126min]
Reading: Short story by Robert Stone

May 1
Lecture 9. Sunshine Noir
AMERICAN GIGOLO (1980) – Paul Schrader [117min]
Fiction: Short story by Sara Paretsky

May 8
Lecture 10. Street Life
SHARKY’S MACHINE (1981) – Burt Reynolds [122min]
Fiction: Short story by James Lee Burke

May 15
Lecture 11. Indie Noir
BLOOD SIMPLE (1984) – Joel Coen [97min]
AFTER HOURS (1985) – Martin Scorsese [97min]

May 22
Lecture 12. Neon-Noir
MANHUNTER (1986)  Michael Mann [120min]