Critical and theoretical fashions have led to waves of new approaches and methodologies, each with certain distinctive emphases and concerns. These have made Film Studies into a rich and varied discipline, particularly as they have formed an addition to concerns rather than a replacement for the concerns that have animated film theory and analysis since the birth of the medium. This module was conceived as a complement to ‘Interpreting Film: Contextual Approaches to Cinema History’. It will look at some of the tradition and essential concerns of film theory, including notions of film as art and how films ‘work’ on a micro-scale. Its focus will be on ‘Classical Film Theory’ (including Eisenstein, Bazin, etc), which set out the traditional interests and emphases of Film Studies. It will also embrace more recent film theory (such as ‘Screen theory’ and psychoanalysis, ‘Wisconsin’ formalism and cognitive psychology). The module will address questions of ontology and epistemology, as well as debates about art and cultural value
Another central concern of this module is textual detail and there will be a focus on close textual analysis of films. Consequently, there is an interest in film ‘specificity’ – seeing film as film (as Victor Perkins put it), rather than seeing film as a symptom of something else (eg.social change, cultural degeneration), or as a vehicle for other concerns (such as more general social, economic or cultural history, or sociological, philosophical or psychological concerns) that reside outside of cinema.