Why do movies exist? What is most historically significant, theoretically compelling, emotionally gripping, and aesthetically exciting about them? Why do we watch them, and what do we get out of it? This proseminar introduces and debates the big ideas in film studies, including concepts from realism, formalism, feminism, psychoanalysis, cognitive psychology, auteur theory, phenomenology, structuralism, modernism, postmodernism, and popular film criticism. We test theories against a wide range of movies and compare perspectives from a variety of sources and historical periods.