Online course: New Light on the Old City: American Neo-Noir (returning Aug 6, 2022)

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NEW LIGHT ON THE OLD CITY: AMERICAN NEO-NOIR (1966-85)

­­A 12-WEEK ONLINE COURSE (August-November, 2022)

PRESENTED BY MATTHEW ASPREY GEAR

In this original 12-week online course, to be delivered via the Google Meet platform, we’ll study 16 key American films of the early Neo-Noir era (1966-1985) as well as 6 short pieces of noir writing.

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: Saturdays 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$140. Contact me at matthewaspreygear@gmail.com for further information.

LECTURE PLAN

August 6
Lecture 1. Experiments in Noir Aesthetics
SECONDS (1966) – John Frankenheimer [107min]

August 13
Lecture 2. The Stark/Westlake Connection
POINT BLANK (1967)
– John Boorman [92min]
THE OUTFIT (1973)
– John Flynn [102min]
Reading: Excerpt from The Hunter (1962) by Richard Stark

August 20
Lecture 3. American Paranoia
KLUTE (1971) – Alan J. Pakula [114min]
Reading: Short stories by Patricia Highsmith and Nedra Tyre

* LATE SUMMER BREAK *

September 10
Lecture 4. Dirty Cops and Small Time Crooks
DIRTY HARRY (1971) – Don Siegel [102min]
THE LAST RUN (1971) – Richard Fleischer [95min]

September 17
Lecture 5. 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

September 24
Lecture 6. The Private Eye Revisited I.
NIGHT MOVES (1975) – Arthur Penn [100min]

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

October 1
Lecture 7. The Private Eye Revisited II.
THE LONG GOODBYE (1973) – Robert Altman [112min]

October 8
Lecture 8. The Private Eye Revisited III.
CHINATOWN (1974) – Roman Polanski [131min]

October 15
Lecture 9. Is it Safe?
MARATHON MAN (1976) – John Schlesinger [125min]

* BREAK *

October 29
Lecture 10. The Late Show
THE KILLING OF A CHINESE BOOKIE (1978 version) – John Cassavetes [108min]
Reading: Excerpt from Cutter and Bone (1976) by Newton Thornburg

November 5
Lecture 11. Tech Noir
BLADE RUNNER: THE FINAL CUT (1982/2007) – Ridley Scott [117min]

November 12
Lecture 12. Indie Noir
BLOOD SIMPLE (1984) – Joel Coen [97min]
AFTER HOURS (1985) – Martin Scorsese [97min]