Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


CODE MCS1010

 
TITLE Introduction to Film Studies

 
LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course

 
ECTS CREDITS 4

 
DEPARTMENT Media and Communications

 
DESCRIPTION This study-unit introduces the basic methods and concepts of cinema and film studies. It aims to help students develop a range of analytical skills that will form the basis of their study of film and other moving-image media they will encounter throughout their degree. By the end of the study-unit, students will understand the key terms and issues related to film studies as well as understand the structure of the film industry including the role of key entities and networks.

Moreover, the study-unit will emphasise the importance of technology in changing the medium, both as an art and as an industry. This will, therefore, focus on the ways in which the evolution of technologies (for example with the widespread use of CGI) allowed for varied expressions as well as the way they changed production and distribution. It will also look at recent advances and analyse how these may change the industry in the future.

Furthermore, the course will encourage an appreciation of the relationship between formal analysis and questions of interpretation, allowing students to learn the mechanics of structuring a written argument about a film’s meaning.

The topics to be covered in the study-unit include:

- An Overview of Film as Art, Industry and Technology;
- The Fundamentals of Film Form;
- The Fundamentals of Film Style (Mise-en-scene, Cinematography, Sound, Editing);
- Types of Films including Documentary, Mainstream Film and Art house;
- Putting this all together: Distribution and Marketing the Film.

Lectures and readings provide a detailed introduction to the basic terms of film scholarship, and to some critical issues associated with particular modes of filmmaking. Screenings will also be organised in order to expose students to a wide range of films.

Study-Unit Aims:

This study-unit aims to:

- Introduce and familiarise students with the principles of film form, narrative and style as well as the basic methodologies of film criticism;
- Equip students with a critical vocabulary for analysing films;
- Give students the opportunity to study historical and contemporary cinemas from Europe, Asia and the Americas and to, thus, have an overview of world cinema;
- Introduce questions regarding the political and social importance of cinema;
- Encourage participation and enthusiasm for the medium of film and its importance in our ever-increasing visual world.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Be fluent in the basic vocabulary of film form and style;
- Understand the intricacies of the modern film industry;
- Have an overview of the landscape of the field of film as business, technology and art form;
- Understand the terminology used in the analysis of film;
- Critically assess films and the role of film in contemporary society;
- Understand the different types of films;
- Have a greater understanding of cinema from diverse regions of the world.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Analyse the formal properties of a narrative film, including its mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing, sound and form;
- Apply the principles of textual analysis to a variety of film texts;
- Demonstrate competence in writing critically about film.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Compulsory Texts:

- Bordwell, D. (2016). Film Art. (11th Ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill International Group.
- Kuhn, A. & Westwell, G. (2012). A Dictionary of Film Studies. Oxford: oxford University Press.

Compulsory Filmography:

**A full filmography will be given to students during the first lecture - screenings of some of these films - with attendance - will take place**

- Archer, J. (Producer) & Cousins, M. (Director). (2011). The Story of Film: An Odyssey. UK: Channel 4.

Supplementary Readings:

- Biskind, P. (1998). Easy Riders, Raging Bulls. London: Bloomsbury Press.
- Christie, I. (2003). Scorcese on Scorcese. NY: Faber and Faber.
- Corrigan, T. (2014). A Short Guide to Writing about Film. London: Longman.
- Corrigan, T. & White, P. (2012). The Film Experience: An Introduction. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
- Cook, P. (2007). The Cinema Book. London: BFI.
- Cousins, M. (2011). The Story of Film: A Concise History of Film and An Odyssey of International Cinema. London: Pavillion Books.
- Ebert, R. (2004). The Great Movies. NY: Broadway Books.
- Ebert R. (2006). The Great Movies II. NY: Broadway Books.
- Ebert, R. (2010). The Great Movies III. NY: Broadway Books.
- Gibbs, J. (2002). Mise-en-scène: Film Style and Interpretation. London: Wallflower.
- Hayward, S. (2012). Cinema Studies: The Key Concepts. London: Routledge.
- Mamet, D. (1992). On Directing Film. New York: Penguin Books Ltd.
- Murch, W. (2001). In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing. NY: Silman James Press.
- Ondaatje, M. (2008). The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film. NY: Bloomsbury Publishing Inc.

 
STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Video Presentation

 
METHOD OF ASSESSMENT
Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (2 Hours) SEM1 Yes 100%

 
LECTURER/S Rebecca Anastasi

 
The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.

https://www.um.edu.mt/course/studyunit