Film Studies Program

Film Studies Program

Breaking the Rules: Great Women of the Pre-Code Era. Celebrating the audacious omen who lent their genius to the cinema before the enforcement of the Hays Code.

Produced for Proctors by Paul Kazee, and curated for Union College by Professor Jenelle Troxell, “Breaking the Rules: Great Women of the Pre-Code Era” features conversations with Union College Professors Michele Chilcoat, Çigdem Çidam, Megan M. Ferry, Lori J. Marso, Erika M. Nelson Mukherjee, and Krisanna Scheiter.

2023 Film Screening & Discussion Schedule

Why study film?

“Americans use the movies to talk to themselves about who they are.”
-Jane Smiley, Ten Days in the Hills (2006)

Over the course of the twentieth century, film has become the dominant story-telling medium of the modern world. While we still address ethical, social, philosophical, and psychological concerns in the printed word and the plastic arts, in live drama and political speech, it is in the movie theater that more people and more diverse groups of them gather to view and review stories that pose and offer solutions to problems personal and social, national and global. By studying film and the art of cinematic story telling we not only study ourselves but we also learn about the primary way in which we talk about ourselves, how we represent ourselves to others and to ourselves.

Film Studies at Union

The Film Studies minor at Union College is designed to develop a conscious awareness of film as a basic and widespread medium of cultural communication. It provides students with the tools necessary for critically and historically analyzing and evaluating film texts, for understanding film technologies within the broader context of the liberal arts, and for beginning to master the art of telling stories cinematically. It also prepares students to pursue academic and creative paths for advanced study and professional interests in film.

Film Studies and liberal arts

Film Studies is now a valuable part of a liberal arts education that expands one’s knowledge of the medium’s history and introduces the tools for the critical analysis of cinematic art. It also strengthens one’s understanding of visual culture in general. As film has become perhaps the most popular and seductive medium of story telling, Film Studies has become even more essential for understanding ourselves and the modern world we inhabit. When combined with a major in another discipline, a minor in Film Studies can strengthen one’s grasp of the humanities, the arts, the social sciences and even the natural sciences.


A. Michelle Chilcoat
Jenelle Troxell

March 2: Baby Face, March 23: Red-Headed Woman, April 6: Shanghai Express, April 20: Blonde Venus, May 10: Dance, Girl, Dance, June 1: Zouzou

Breaking the Rules: Great Women of the Pre-Code Era

Proctors • State St., Schenectady