This module addresses the question ‘What is Cinema?’ through an exploration of how cinema has converged with art and technology from its earliest manifestations to the digital forms of the present day. It traces film’s emergence and continued development through a culture of sensation and the commodification of art, leisure and entertainment in Europe and the United States. You will be introduced to key methods of understanding these developments that will deepen your knowledge of the history of cinema as an art and as an entertainment culture.
Film Studies is an interdisciplinary subject, and this module seeks to develop cinema’s productive interconnection with the disciplines of literature, history, music, theatre studies, visual culture as well as the sciences. In most cases, examples of contemporary film and television will be used to deconstruct this fascinating genealogy of influence and reinvention. Through researching and examining a range of specific historical case-studies you will gain a broad understanding of the constellation of developments and discourses as well as the technologies and aesthetic practices that have helped fashion what cinema is today.
Aims and Objectives
Transferable and Generic Skills
Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:
- Compose a competent comparison of two secondary sources.
- Critically analyse films and academic texts
- Write in three distinct registers, a research report, an analytical essay and a comparative essay
- Communicate effectively
- Organise time effectively
- Independently research appropriate resources
- Utilise research techniques which will allow you to develop your understanding of a range of historical contexts where cinema has converged with, or emerged from, art forms and technological developments and innovations.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills
Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:
- Apply this knowledge to specific moments of technological and/or aesthetic innovation
- Engage critically with a range of theoretical materials, films, and cultural products
- Critically research and analyse film in academic writing
Knowledge and Understanding
Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:
- Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between technology, art and film across specific historical contexts.
- Understand critical methods of analysis of film texts and their connections with the other arts.
- Use selected research techniques which will allow you to develop your understanding of a range of historical contexts where cinema has converged with or emerged from art forms and technological developments.
The module introduces you to approaches to understanding the impact that technology and the arts have had on moving image entertainment forms from magic lanterns to digital streaming on smartphones and tablets. The syllabus will highlight specific narrative films that will encourage you to understand the connections these have with other art forms and technologies. The module explores the interactions between film and art forms such as painting, sculpture, literature, theatre, music and architecture. Running concurrently with
this emphasis on aesthetics will be the impact of technologies that have characterised and expanded the definition of what cinema is. These could include examples ranging from panoramas, magic lanterns and optical toys to digital formats of image and sound, interactive video games, 3D and IMAX. Throughout the module the emphasis will be on developing ways of understanding the links between technologies and the arts that have informed cinema and proto-cinematic forms over the last two hundred years.
Learning and Teaching
Teaching and learning methods
Teaching methods include
- specific films and fictional texts form the basis of seminars each week.
Learning activities include
- unassessed group presentations (usually in twos) in seminar.
- a specific workshop to introduce research through on-line archives and databases.
|Preparation for scheduled sessions||60|
|Wider reading or practice||60|
|Practical classes and workshops||30|
|Total study time||300|
Resources & Reading list
Se7en. David Fincher. New Line. USA. 1995..
The Others. Alejandro Amenábar. 2001.
Strangers on a Train. Alfred Hitchcock. Warner. USA. 1951.
Duel. Steven Spielberg. USA. Universal. 1971.
Oliver Twist. David Lean. Independent Producers. UK. 1948..
The Conversation. Franicis Ford Coppola. Zoetrope Studios. USA. 1974..
Inception (Christopher Nolan, 2010).
Waxworks/Das Wachsfigurenkabinet. Paul Leni. Neptun-Film. Ger. 1924.
Mood Indigo. Michel Gondry, 2013.
Her. Spike Jonze, 2013.
Letter From an Unknown Woman. Max Ophuls. Rampart. USA. 1948..
Collateral. Michael Mann. Dreamworks. USA. 2004..
Henry Jenkins (2006). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York University Press.
Malin, Brenton J (2014). Feeling Mediated: A History of Media Technology and Emotion in America. New York: New York University Press.
Chun, Wendy Hui Kyong and Thomas Keenan, eds. (2006). New Media, Old Media: A History and Theory Reader. New York: Routledge.
Brewster, Ben and Jacobs, Lea (1998). From Theatre to Cinema: Stage Pictorialism and Early Cinema. London: Oxford University Press.
Zielinski, Siegfried (1999). Audiovisions: Cinema and Television as Entr’actes in History, trans. Gloria Custance. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
Sterne, Jonathan (2012). MP3: The Meaning of a Format. Durham NC: Duke University Press.
Friedberg, Anne (2006). The Virtual Window: From Alberti to Microsoft. Cambridge: The MIT Press.
Kittler, Friedrich (1999). Gramophone, Film, Typewriter, trans. Geoffrey Winthrop-Young and Michael Wultz. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Musser, Charles (1994). The Emergence of Cinema: The American Screen to 1907. Berkeley CA: University of California Press.
Brooks, Peter (1995). The Melodramatic Imagination: Balzac, Henry James, Melodrama and the Mode of Excess. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.
Smith, Grahame (2001). Dickens and the Dream of Cinema. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Sconce, Jeffrey (2000). Haunted Media: Electronic Presence from Telegraphy to Television. Durham NC: Duke University Press.
Nead, Lynda (2000). Victorian Babylon: People, Streets and Images in 19th Century London. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.
Gitelman, Lisa (2006). Always Already New: Media, History, and the Data of Culture. Cambridge: The MIT Press.
This is how we’ll formally assess what you have learned in this module.
This is how we’ll assess you if you don’t meet the criteria to pass this module.
An internal repeat is where you take all of your modules again, including any you passed. An external repeat is where you only re-take the modules you failed.
Repeat type: Internal & External