Russian Cinema in Five Films (MLR2019)

StaffDr Muireann Maguire - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module is designed to:

  • introduce you chronologically to the major genres of Russian film between 1925 and 2015. In addition to in-depth analysis of individual films, the five highlighted films – each representative of its genre and/or historical phase – are placed in the context of developments in Russian society and cinema. Questions of voice, genre, and subjectivity will be explored.
  • give you a nuanced understanding of key issues in Soviet and Russian society over the last century.
  • help you develop research skills necessary for presenting an independent argument and for tracing connections between topics.
  • help you acquire the skills for close analysis of films and critical texts. Seminars will permit you to model these skills through small-group presentations and class discussions.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate a sound general understanding of the selected films within the historical and cultural context of their time
  • 2. Assess major cultural developments in relation to historical events and conditions

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. Develop original ideas or arguments, drawing upon secondary literature for support, in an appropriate register of English
  • 4. Access and use appropriate secondary sources and/or specified audio-visual materials as indicated by the course tutor

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 5. Present information and arguments on an agreed topic to a group of listeners
  • 6. Organise and express key ideas in support of a rational argument, orally and/or in writing, for a required deadline
  • 7. With guidance from the course tutor and course material, plan and produce an essay on a chosen aspect of the subject to a specified length and deadline
  • 8. Through seminar work and presentations, demonstrate advanced communication skills, and an ability to work both individually and in groups

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

This course will feature five films, including:

  • Aelita (Protazanov, 1924),
  • Circus (Alejandro, 1936),
  • The Cranes are Flying (Kalatozov, 1957),
  • Stalker (Tarkovsky, 1979),
  • Leviathan (Zviagintsev, 2014).

The syllabus will follow the order outlined below, with two lectures and a seminar exploring each topic:

  • Avant-garde Experiments: Early Soviet Cinema
  • Socialist Realism on Screen: Meeting Stalin
  • The Great Patriotic War and Thaw Cinema
  • Late Soviet Cinema: Other Worlds
  • Post-Soviet Cinema: Blockbusters and Leviathans

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

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching10Lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching5Seminars
Scheduled learning and teaching1Conclusion
Scheduled learning and teaching12Film Screenings
Guided independent study122Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Presentation in class10 minute talk1-8Written and oral
Essay plan500 words1-4, 6, 7Written and oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay1002500 words1-4,6-7Written and oral

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-4, 6, 7Written and oral

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

  • Birgit Beumers, A History of Russian Cinema (Berg, 2009)
  • Additionally, the following offer useful preparation:
  • David Gillespie, Russian Cinema (Longman, 2003)
  • Jay Leyda, A History of the Russian and Soviet Film (Princeton University Press, 1960)
  • Nicholas Rzhevsky, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Modern Russian Culture (CUP, 1998)

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