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Courses / Modules / FILM6028 Post-Classical Film Theory: Film History and Cinephilia

Post-Classical Film Theory: Film History and Cinephilia

When you'll study it
Semester 2
CATS points
ECTS points
Level 7
Module lead
Tim Bergfelder
Academic year

Module overview

Following an emphasis on psychoanalysis and post-structuralism in the 1970s, academic writing on film since the mid-1980s focussed increasingly on the role of history in the interpretation of cinematic texts, accompanied by a ‘return to the archive’. Engagement with a new range of empirical sources and a multiplicity of ‘voices’ intensified the debate around the question where meaning resides (especially whether there is a singular and identifiable origin or source of meaning). Reception studies interrogated the traditional critical priority given to concepts such as the ‘auteur’, to psychoanalytical frameworks, and even the status of the filmic text itself. This module aims to discuss the challenges of these interventions. We will investigate what motivates particular trends in film theory, and how and why certain critical perspectives become dominant. Some of the most prominent questions this module addresses are: How have the radical technological changes over the past decades impacted on the study of cinema? What is the status and relevance today of cinema’s 20th century ‘classical’ back catalogue? What is the value of ‘old’ films, and if cinema is ‘dead’, as some commentators claim, what are the prospects for film in a post-cinema, YouTube, iPhone, NetFlix, and Wikipedia age? Looking beyond academia, what effects have these changes had on the practices of cinephilia (the love of/for cinema)?

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