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Ask the Cougar

No Laughing Matter

John Bruns, film studies professor

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You'll watch everything from 10-second Nickelodeons to Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill: Vol. 1, and embark on a cinematic tour of the world, viewing films from Germany, Italy, France the Soviet Union and more. Pursue a minor in film studies at the College of Charleston, and you'll receive a healthy dose of Alfred Hitchcock, too.

Your tour leader will be Professor John Bruns, a cinephile who began using a movie camera at age 10. While Bruns put down the camera some years ago, today he focuses on analyzing films and cinematic trends.

"Film is, I think, the pre-eminent art form of the 20th and 21st century," Bruns says. "It's just as pleasurable an experience to think critically about films as making them." Bruns argues that in an image-obsessed culture, film takes on increased importance. The College's film studies classes "open up students' eyes critically," he says. Students "become much more aware how images are used in our culture."

Beyond Bruns' introductory classes, students beef up their film-watching résumé by taking specialty film classes from other professors, such as courses on new wave cinema, screenwriting and Brazilian films. The College offers so many interdisciplinary film courses, Bruns says, "that no two film studies minors are alike."

Many of Bruns' students, both amateur filmmakers and plain ol' movie buffs, belong to the College of Charleston Film Club. The club holds weekly screenings of films "that are critically and artistically renown or relevant," says club president Taylor Townes, "and ones that students wouldn't normally be exposed to." In April, club members attended the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, N.C. In March, the film club organized the 4th annual College of Charleston Student Film Fest. Check out the winning entries on the College of Charleston iTunesU site.