Approaches to Film Studies: Theory, Criticism and Archives - EN50003
- 40 Credits
- Year Long
- MLitt Film Studies core module
- English - School of Humanities
- Coursework 100%
The module aims to:
- Expand your understanding of key aspects of film theory through case studies of several prominent filmmakers who have inspired a great deal of critical and theoretical writing.
- Ask you to engage with other kinds of critical writing about film, including journalism, reviews, interviews and on-line sources.
- Introduce you to the keynote of the Film Studies Masters’ degree by having them learn to read and appreciate the screenplay as a way of complementing their existing ability to close read the mise-en-scene of a finished film.
- Introduce you to theoretical works on the screenplay by eminent screenwriters and playwrights that will assist you in your option modules.
- Allow you , through a series of archival case studies, to develop important research skills and learn how to use unpublished archival sources in yourresearch and writing.
- Teach you how to combine, in your written work, a sophisticated level of mise-en-scene analysis, a strong theoretical foundation, an understanding of the more literary aspects of film and unpublished archival material, making you a strong, all-round film scholar.
Indication of weekly topics
- Director’s Case Study: John Ford
- Director’s Case Study: Jean Renoir
- Director’s Case Study: Alfred Hitchcock
- Director’s Case Study: Kenji Mizoguchi
- Writer’s Case Study: George Bernard Shaw
- Writer’s Case Study: James Agee
- Writer’s Case Study: Graham Greene
- Archive Case Study: Deliverance
- Archive Case Study: Dante’s Inferno
- Archive Case Study: Orlando
- Archive Case Study: Rob Roy
- Archive Case Study: The Unfilmed Screenplay
- Fortnightly journals (20%)
- A presentation (20%)
- A research essay (60%, 5,000-6,000 words)
Indicative Secondary Reading
- James Agee, Agee on Film (Grosset and Dunlap, 1967)
- Andre Bazin, What is Cinema? (University of California Press, 2004)
- David Bordwell, Figures Traced in Light: On Cinematic Staging (University of California Press, 2005)
- John Caughie, Theories of Authorship: A Reader (BFI, 1981)
- Mark Le Fanu, Mizoguchi and Japan (BFI, 2001)
- George Bernard Shaw, Bernard Shaw on Cinema (Southern Illinois UP, 1997)
- Francois Truffaut, Hitchcock: A Definitive Study (Simon and Schuster, 1986)
- Robin Wood, Sexual Politics and Narrative Film (Columbia U.P., 1998)
- Slavoj Zizek, Everything You Wanted to Know About Lacan, But Were Afraid to Ask Alfred Hitchcock (Verson, 1992)
Intended learning outcomes
Students should be able to:
- Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the key theoretical issues in film studies.
- Gain a greater understanding of the history of film and film criticism.
- Gain a greater understanding of the film screenplay and how such documents relate to original literary sources and the finished film.
- Gain practical experience working with primary archive material.
- Gain, through access to archival material, a greater understanding of how films evolve and how directors respond to aesthetic challenges.
- Articulate independent critical responses to the relationship between a wide range of literary, archival and filmic material.