COURSE OVERVIEW: An examination of American films dealing with the Jewish experience
provides a most unusual perspective on the Twentieth century American Jew- the way the Jew sees
him/herself and how others perceive Jews. Classic films will be used as text for understanding how,
through the years, filmmakers have created and packaged their own unique concept of the American Jew, how
this was filtered through their own consciousness, and how we read and comprehend the cinematic
text. In addition to examining the films, the class will reference historical and cultural studies of American
Jewry together with insights into the Jewish film community of Hollywood.
• Gain broader understanding of the American Jewish history.
• Enhance Jewish visual literacy.
• Comprehend the creative process of motion picture production.
• Study Hollywood’s impact on popular culture and its framing of the American story.
• Acquire skills to read and interpret cinema as historical and cultural text.