BA Music and Drama / Course details
Year of entry: 2020
Course unit details:
The Art of Film
|Unit level||Level 1|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 1|
|Available as a free choice unit?||No|
This course will introduce students to the principles and major areas involved in the study of film. The course will familiarise students with essential theoretical concepts and technical terminology in order to enhance their powers of close analysis and understanding of film form. The course will detail the audio-visual properties of film through a discussion of cinematography, montage, mise-en-scène, narrative, genre, music, the role of the director and star and the process of adaptation.
A range of select films from different cinemas will be used and placed in their cultural and historical context, including British, German, Hollywood, Italian, Japanese and Soviet cinema. Key films include Metropolis, Man with a Movie Camera, Citizen Kane, The Red Shoes, Punishment Park, Blue Velvet, Yojimbo, Battle of Algiers, Rear Window and The Fellowship of the Ring.
|Available on which programme(s)?||All Drama programmes at Level 2|
|Available as Free Choice (UG) or to other programmes (PG)?||No|
- To develop students’ critical and technical vocabulary for the analysis and discussion of film.
- To enhance students’ ability to evaluate films, both from aesthetic perspectives and as social documents.
- To develop students’ understanding of how a film’s formal properties (e.g. Elements of audio-visual style and narrative structure) can have ideological and socio-political connotations.
- To expand students’ awareness of both mainstream and non-mainstream film cultures including significant examples of non-Anglophone cinema.
- To nurture an enthusiasm and appreciation for film as an art form
By the end of this course, students will be able to:
Indicative syllabus (representative only – all of the topics listed below may not be covered every year):
Week 1: Introduction
Week 2: Cinematography and montage
Week 3: Mise-en-scène
Week 4: Narrative
Week 5: Genre
Week 6: Reading Week
Week 7: Authorship
Week 8: Music
Week 9: Stars
Week 10: Audiences
Week 11: Adaptation
Week 12: Revision advice
Each week’s lecture topic will be supported by two relevant film screenings
Teaching and learning methods
Teaching hours: 1hr lecture +3hr introduced screening + 90min seminar*
*This teaching structure has been approved in conjunction with other programme level activity as meeting the School’s 3hr contact hour requirement
Knowledge and understanding
- display an understanding of the craft of filmmaking
- locate a film in its historical and social context
- demonstrate an understanding of how films communicate ideas with a particular emphasis on a film’s audio-visual properties
- display a broad understanding of major developments in film history
- assess critically a film in terms of narrative, genre, authorship, photography, mise-en-scène, editing, music and performance
- Critically analyse and interrogate films and related sources (posters, trailers, reviews and industry documents)
- Learn how to historically contextualise films and practitioners, and to draw on contextualisation to develop understanding
- Critically evaluate a series of films, practitioners and theoretical debates in relation to key moments of socio-political change in relevant territories
- Synthesise theoretical and technical terms and concepts and apply these to analysis and argument
- Research academic and non-academic materials, and evaluate the effectiveness of these materials as supporting evidence for individual essays and presentations
- Plan, undertake and evaluate independent critical work
- Use relevant software to collect, compile and present audio-visual material for presentations
- Communicate research material both verbally, audio-visually and in writing
Transferable skills and personal qualities
- Ability to analyse concepts, techniques, methods, study materials (et cetera) independently and with others
- Interpersonal communication skills
- Ability to draw on individual research preparation to engage in discussions in learning environments
- Ability to present self effectively – through discussion, presentation and in writing (including adherence to academic conventions)
- Analytical skills
- ¿ Ability to engage productively with intellectual challenges
- Group/team working
- ¿ Working productively as part of a group and independently
- Project management
- ¿ Basic time management skills - working to deadlines and under pressure
- Oral communication
- ¿ Enhanced communication skills ¿ verbal, written, prepared/rehearsed, improvised
- Problem solving
- ¿ Basic critical thinking and problem-solving skills
- ¿ Basic planning skills ¿ developing a planned approach to tasks
|Written assignment (inc essay)||60%|
|Feedback Method||Formative or Summative|
|Verbal in-class feedback on seminar presentation||Formative|
|Written feedback on final essay||Summative|
|Written feedback on exam||Summative|
|Additional one-to-one feedback (during consultation hours or by making an appointment).||Formative and Summative|
Arnheim, Rudolf. 2007. Film as Art. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.
Bazin, André. 2005. What is Cinema? Volume 1. Translated by Hugh Gray. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.
Bordwell, David, Thompson, Kristin and Smith, Jeff (eds). 2017. Film Art: An Introduction (Eleventh Edition). New York: McGraw Hill.
Braudy, Leo and Cohen, Marshall (eds). 2009. Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings (Seventh Edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Dix, Andrew. 2016. Beginning Film Studies (Second Edition). Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Geiger, Jeffrey and Rutsky, R.L. (eds). 2005. Film Analysis. New York and London: W.W. Norton.
Hayward, Susan. 2013. Cinema Studies: The Key Concepts (Fourth Edition). Abingdon and New York: Routledge.
Thompson-Jones, Katherine. 2008. Aesthetics and Film. London: Continuum.
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Practical classes & workshops||33|
|Independent study hours|
|Victoria Lowe||Unit coordinator|
SCHEDULED ACTIVITY HOURS