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BA Music and Drama / Course details
Year of entry: 2023
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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 Sunrise, Citizen Kane, Punishment Park, Battle of Algiers, Wonder Woman.
- 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 connotation
- 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
Teaching and learning methods
The lectures for this course unit will be delivered online.
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
Basic interpersonal communication skills
Ability to analyse concepts, techniques, methods, materials (films, promotional documents such as posters and trailers etc.), - independently and with others
Ability to draw on individual research/preparation to engage in discussions in learning environments
Ability to present self effectively – through discussion 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
Formative or Summative
Verbal in class feedback on seminar presentation
Written feedback on final essay
Written feedback on analysis
Additional one-to-one feedback (during consultation hours or by making an appointment)
Formative and Summative
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.
Hooks, B. 1996. Reel to real¿: race, sex, and class at the movies . London: Routledge
Knight, J and Gledhill C (eds.).2016. Doing Women’s Film History: reframing cinemas past and present.
Shohat, E. and Stam, R. 2014. Unthinking Eurocentrism¿: multiculturalism and the media. Second edition. Oxfordshire, England¿;: Routledge
Thompson-Jones, Katherine. 2008. Aesthetics and Film. London: Continuum.
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Independent study hours|
|Victoria Lowe||Unit coordinator|
Plus two weekly film screenings with short introductions.