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FILM1027 Introduction to Film: European Cinema

Module Overview

The module covers the history of European film from silent cinema to the present day, placing particular emphasis on the inter-war years, the post-war period and the contemporary moment. It examines national film cultures as well as the transnational elements of European film history.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

- Develop an understanding of the historical, stylistic and thematic developments in European film from silent cinema to the present day, with a particular focus on the following three phases: (1) the inter-war years, (2) the post-war period and (3) the contemporary moment. - Foster analytical ability in dealing with theoretical discourse and in the interpretation of audio-visual form - Introduce research skills such as locating and evaluating sources

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • The history of European cinema, both as an art form and as a mass medium, in different cultural contexts and transnationally
  • The distinguishing features and evaluation of historical periods, artistic movements, and national (political, social, and cultural) contexts
  • Discourses surrounding the distinction between popular culture and high art in European cinema.
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 audio-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.
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
  • Present written work in an appropriate style, with consistent referencing, proper bibliography and filmography, and conforming to grammatical conventions.
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 module FILM1001 or FILM2006.

Syllabus

The module covers the history of European film from silent cinema to the present day, placing particular emphasis on the inter-war years, the post-war period and the contemporary moment. Following an introductory lecture presenting the overarching themes and questions examined throughout the module, each of the three key phases are covered in three lectures each. The section focused on inter-war years typically includes lectures on German Expressionism and Soviet Montage, while the post-war portion discusses Italian Neorealism and the French New Wave. In addition to examining national film movements, industrial developments, and political agendas, the module also offers lectures focused on transnational themes and elements in European film culture. Furthermore, while analysing the importance that ‘art cinema’ has played in establishing European cinema as a global concept, we also highlight the enduring importance of popular genres (such as horror, crime or science-fiction) across different European countries and pose questions about the complex reciprocal connections between Hollywood and European cinema.

Special Features

The close textual analysis requires you to describe the formal elements of a specific film scene and interpret how the mise-en-scene, editing, cinematography and sound work together to create meaning. Here you will work exclusively with a film text and formulate your own arguments. The final 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.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • Lectures • Screenings • Tutorials Learning activities include • Written essays • Independent study, viewing and research

TypeHours
Independent Study114
Teaching36
Total study time150

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, in-module feedback: • Discussion of essay work • Tutorials

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Critical essay  (2500 words) 60%
Essay  (1500 words) 40%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Resubmit assessments 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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