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FILM1002 Introduction to Film 2: European Cinema

Module Overview

The module covers the history of European cinema from its beginnings in the 1890s to the present day, highlighting selected periods, movements, and national developments.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• develop an understanding of the historical, stylistic and thematic developments in European cinema from the late 1890s to the present day • foster analytical ability in dealing with theoretical discourse and in the interpretation of images • introduce research skills in dealing with primary and secondary sources

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the emergence of film, both as a new art form and as a mass medium, in different cultural contexts (France, Britain, Germany, Russia).
  • distinguishing and evaluating historical periods, artistic movements, and national (political, social, and cultural) contexts
  • discourses surrounding the distinction between popular culture and high art in European cinema
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • research a specific subject, using a range of resources (such as books, journal articles, internet data);
  • organise your time
  • conduct research independently or through team work
  • present written work in an appropriate style, with consistent referencing, proper bibliography and filmography, and conforming to grammatical conventions
  • prepare and perform oral presentation(s) that communicates facts and arguments in an effective and clear manner
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • demonstrate an awareness of historical paradigms in Film Studies, and combine this with the tools of textual analysis acquired on the previous core module FILM1001.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • engage with a range of different critical methodologies, and evaluate their use value for the interpretation of visual texts and historical developments
  • identify narrative, and audio-visual strategies and techniques in films, and interpret these according to selected critical methodologies
  • structure written work towards communicating a lucid and original argument that draws on a wide range of secondary sources

Syllabus

The module covers the history of European cinema from its beginnings in the 1890s to the present day, highlighting selected periods, movements, and national developments. While the first few weeks centre on the emergence of film, both as a new art form and as a mass medium, in different cultural contexts (France, Britain, Germany, Russia), we will then consider how the internationalism of the silent period gave way to more nationally specific developments during the 1930s and 1940s, and how various ‘art cinemas’ pursued new aesthetic and political agendas in the post-war era. Apart from these movements, however, European cinema always had a popular dimension as well. In this respect we will look at European stars and popular genres, such as the Italian Horror film or recent sci-fi blockbusters such as The Fifth Element. One central question of the module will be whether European cinema can only be understood as the sum total of different national film cultures or whether there is a transnational, and thus ‘European’ film history.

Special Features

The bibliographical essay is designed to encourage research into a historically particular mode of filmmaking, but it is also an opportunity to learn the basic tools of evaluating secondary sources. Students need to demonstrate that they have undertaken a sufficient amount of reading; that they have understood the basic parameters and arguments of the texts they are discussing, and that they have used bibliographical and referencing conventions properly. The critical/analytical essay is designed to give students an opportunity to address theoretical arguments about European Cinema. In addition to the criteria applying to the first assignment, students will also be judged on how well they comprehend explicitly theoretical texts, how they synthesise critical information, how they construct and structure a coherent and convincing argument, and on their abilities to interpret visual and narrative information. Students are required to give one presentation during the module, ether individually or as part of the group. If the latter, the whole group will receive a collective mark, thus encouraging collaboration and team management. the other two elements contributing to the presentation mark will be marked individually. The handout will be assessed according to its value of communicating ideas effectively. The report, finally, encourages students to reflect on the following aspects of the presentation: • how the presentation has been researched (locating and using sources) • how the presentation has been planned and structured (including the use of visual aids, such as DVD clips, Power Point slides etc.) • whether the presentation has been deemed successful in conveying the desired information • how the class engaged with the material (did they respond/follow the presentation as expected) • what students think worked well, and what, conversely, they would do differently if they had to give the same presentation again.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching and learning activities Teaching methods include • Lectures • Screenings • Seminars Learning activities include • Written essays • presenting ideas to the others in your peer group through oral presentations • Independent study and research

TypeHours
Independent Study228
Teaching72
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

Catherine Fowler (ed.) (2002). The European Cinema Reader. 

Elizabeth Ezra (ed.) (2004). European Cinema. 

Assessment

Assessment Strategy

Assessments designed to provide informal, on-module feedback ? individual and/or group tutorials on essay topics and plans ? guidance on presentations, followed by feedback after the event, in tandem with self-evaluation

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Critical essay  (3500 words) 50%
Essay  (2000 words) 25%
Oral presentation with supporting report  (1000 words) 25%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (7500 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisites

To study this module, you will need to have studied the following module(s):

CodeModule
FILM1001Introduction to Film 1: Hollywood
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