Contemporary Cinema & Film Critique

Explore and critique the impact of contemporary cinema by examining the relationship between films, culture, and society

Program Highlights

Learn to construct an argument about what a film's sounds and images mean and how it structures and achieves its meanings.
Receive an introduction to the theories, methods, and concerns of film and media studies as a discipline
Analyze film as a visual art form.
Learn and apply the basics of film analysis
Meet with representatives from the central coast film community

Residential Tuition:


Session 1:
June 30, 2024 July 12, 2024


Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo
Cal Poly SLO - San Luis Obispo, CA

Course Overview

Have you ever considered the impact films have on shaping ideas about identity within society or how culture influences characters in film? In this course we will approach film studies and critique from the relateable lens of teen cinema. From Rebel Without a Cause (1955) to Mean Girls (2004), teen films have consistently been a popular and profitable genre. Teen films both idealize and demonize adolescents, while mirroring and shaping societal expectations and fears about teen identities and roles. We will take a critical cultural studies approach to the analysis of representations of teens in film and consider the U.S. cultural values these images illuminate. This course provides an introductory survey of teen films as a distinct art form that has the ability to reflect, critique, reshape, and impact society and culture. We will critically examine and analyze the teen film genre and its relationship to various aspects of society and culture (i.e., race, class, gender, ability, sexuality, and and its relationship to various aspects of society and culture (i.e., race, class, gender, ability, sexuality).

Meet your instructor

Emily Ryalls, PhD

Contemporary Cinema & Film Critique Cal Poly SLO

Emily is an Associate Professor in the Interdisciplinary Studies in the Liberal Arts Department. She received her Ph.D. from the University of South Florida in Communication Studies. Dr. Ryalls is a recipient of the 2022-2023 Distinguished Teaching Award.

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Topics you'll explore

Course Structure

There are nine 3-hour class sessions over the two-week course. During week one, students have class from 9am-12pm, Monday - Friday. During the week two students have class from 9am-12pm Monday through Thursday. Wednesday afternoons are dedicated to additional academic time (excursions, speakers).

Hands on Learning

Students will screen a film a the local theater and meet with members of the film industry

behind the scenes of bloomberg tv filming

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