FMST 044. Poverty and Precarious Lives on Screen

The cinema and the mainstream film industry have been well suited to depicting glamour, opulence, and wealth. But what about the widespread condition of being poor and living on the brink of being even worse off? In this course, we will explore cinematic depictions of poverty and inequality to ask whether and how films can go beyond romanticizing poverty or merely rehearsing rags-to-riches narratives. How does the awareness of poverty shape aesthetic form in film? What are the social and political implications of how cinema treats the condition of being poor? Topics to explore include the Great Depression and Hollywood; the documentary impulse; neorealism and surrealism; logics of late capitalism; and imagining precarity in the 21st century. 
Prerequisite: FMST 001  or instructor permission.
1 credit.
Catalog chapter: Film and Media Studies  
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