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Arizona State University's School of International Letters and Cultures is offering students a chance to explore a range of international cultures through film and earn a Certificate in International Cinema.
The 18-credit program offers a broad array of courses ranging from subject-based examination to regional focuses. “Identity and World Film,” for example, explores cinema genres and issues in gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. “Italian Cinema” looks at trends in Italian films from the end of World War II to the present day.
The variety of course options allows students to pair film studies with their language work, or explore a new subject of interest to complement another field of study.
Professor Frederic Canovas teaches a course within the certificate, “French Language and Culture through Film.” He sees film as a valuable media that goes beyond language exposure.
“These films are used the way one would use excerpts from literature or newspaper articles to discuss vocabulary, grammar and culture,” Canovas said. “The goal is to help students increase their language skills while studying language in context through a story and a cultural environment provided by the films.”
According to the certificate description, “the power of international cinema lies in its ability to underscore national differences and engage diverse viewpoints.”
The values and skills that come with this certificate pair well with many majors, as film offers a window into cultural diversity, politics, culture, economics and history. Professor Dan Gilfillan, director of the International Cinema Certificate, points out that while anyone can watch a film, studying them is even more substantive.
Gilfillan explained that, “when one delves more deeply, international film can provide a point of access to understanding how people in these cultures engage with emotion, approach social and economic problems, dream about their futures, and care for their families and loved ones.”