Major Debates in Film Theory (EAF1501)

StaffDr Debra Ramsay - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level6
Pre-requisitesNone
Co-requisitesNone
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module aims to allow you to critically engage with some of the central interventions and developments in film theory, such as realism, authorship and genre, through to more recent theories of the digital world. The module will introduce you to a range of theoretical approaches, and will develop your understanding of how each is situated in the broader context of the history of film studies as an academic discipline. It consequently aims to provide you with an overview of the theoretical field as a whole, but will also facilitate deeper engagement with those theories that resonate with you as an individual. Its goal is to provide you with the foundations of understanding and applying varied theoretical approaches and their methodologies. 

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. demonstrate an understanding of key interventions and developments in film theory (eg. realism, digital cinema, authorship, genre)
  • 2. demonstrate skills in applying film theory to reading film as a visual medium
  • 3. demonstrate an understanding of the significance of these theoretical approaches in the wider development of film studies as an academic discipline.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. demonstrate an ability to analyse film from different periods and to relate its concerns and its modes of expression to the creation of meaning within film and its surrounding texts
  • 5. demonstrate skills in the close formal, thematic, generic, and authorial analysis of different kinds of films
  • 6. demonstrate skills in the research and evaluation of relevant critical and historical materials for the study of film.
  • 7. demonstrate an ability to interrelate texts and discourses specific to their own discipline with issues in the wider context of cultural and intellectual history
  • 8. demonstrate an ability to understand and analyse relevant theoretical ideas, and to apply these ideas to films

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 9. through seminar work, group presentations, and final exam, demonstrate communication skills, and an ability to work both individually and in groups.
  • 10. through essay-writing and final exam, demonstrate appropriate research and bibliographic skills, a capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument and a capacity to write clear and correct prose.
  • 11. through research for seminars, essays, and final exam demonstrate proficiency in information retrieval and analysis
  • 12. through seminar discussion, essay writing, and final exam demonstrate a capacity to make critical use of secondary material, to question assumptions, to distinguish between fact and opinion, and to critically reflect on their own learning process
  • 13. through the final exam, demonstrate proficiency in research, and in the development, organization, and analysis of research material under pressure of time.

Syllabus plan

Block 1: The Nature of Film. Here we cover topics such as

  1. Introduction: Film and Theory

  2. What is cinema?  Film and language

  3. Ontology and Realism

  4. Digital Revolutions Part One: The Death of Cinema?

Block 2: Frameworks of Meaning. In this section we cover theoretical approaches such as

  1. Digital Revolutions Part Two: Convergence and Transmedia Narratives

  2. Film and the Culture Industries

  3. Ideology

Block 3: The Spectator. In this section we consider the different ways in which spectators might engage with film, such as

  1. Psychoanalysis

  2. Gender and Sexuality

  3. Affect

  4. Conclusion: Paratexts

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad
1101900

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities11weekly 1 hour lecture
Scheduled learning and teaching activities22weekly 2 hour seminar
Scheduled learning and teaching activities11Two weekly half-hour introductions to screenings
Scheduled learning and teaching activities55two weekly screenings
Scheduled learning and teaching activities11one weekly 1 hour workshop - guided study group work
Guided independent study190Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group presentation and seminar discussion20 minutes1-9, 11-12Cohort feedback in seminars with opportunity for office hours follow-up.

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams
454510

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay451500 words1-8, 10-12Feedback sheet with opportunity for office hours follow-up.
Exam451.5 hours1-8, 12-13Feedback sheet with opportunity for office hours follow-up.
Seminar Participation10Continous1-9, 11-12Oral feedback from tutor and opportunity for office hours follow-up
0
0
0
0
0
0

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-8, 10-12Referral/deferral period
ExamExam1-8, 12-13Referral/deferral period
Seminar ParticipationSeminar Participation1-9, 11-12Referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Indicative reading:

 

Braudy, Leo and Marshall Cohen eds. Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings. 7th edition. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.  2009. Print.

 

Gledhill, Christine and Linda Williams (eds). Reinventing Film Studies. London: Hodder-Headline Group, 2000.

 

Stam, Robert. Film Theory: An Introduction.  Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2000.

 

Stam, Robert and Toby Miller (eds). Film and Theory: An Anthology. Malden, Mass., USA, and Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers, 2000.

 

 

 

Module has an active ELE page?

Yes

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Web based and electronic resources:

 

Indicative Viewing:

 

Citizen Kane (dir. Orson Welles, 1941)

 

North by Northwest (dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1959)

 

A Man Escaped  (dir. Robert Bresson, 1956)

 

District 9 (Dir. Neill Blomkamp, 2009)

 

Tout va Bien (dir. Jean-Luc Godard, 1972)

 

Lost in Translation (dir.Sofia Coppola, 2003)

 

Let the Right One In ["Låt den rätte komma in] (dir. Tomas Alfredson, 2008)

 

Persona (dir. Ingmar Bergman, 1966)

 

Fight Club (dir. David Fincher, 1999)

 

The Mirror [Zerkalo] (dir. Andrei Tarkovsky, 1975)

Available as distance learning?

No

Last revision date

01/05/2017

Key words search

film theory debate film studies