Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Film Theory

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Media and Communications

DESCRIPTION This Study-unit intermeshes two fundamental aspects of Film Theory: an introduction to its historical development and an understanding of the conceptual strands of its most influential exponents. The Classical Film Theory section takes as its focus the diverse and often conflicting approaches of creationist, realist and structuralist film theorists to such vital issues as:

- The essence of filmic fiction;
- The relationship between film and reality; and
- The concept of authorship in what is arguably a collaborative art form.

Study-Unit Aims:

Topics considered include:

- Cinematic Expression: Arnheim’s Silent Film Aesthetics;
- Kracauer’s Photographic Theory of Film: A Systematics of the Real;
- Cinematic (Re)presentation: Bazin’s Concept of Spatial Realism;
- Directorial Invisibility: Eisenstein, Roemer, Perkins and the Credibility-Coherence Thesis;
- A Structuralist Film Auteur? The Lovell/Wollen/Wood Debate.

The Contemporary Film Theory Section focuses on:

- The relation of the cinematic apparatus and its spectatorship through such psychic processes as Oedipal identification, voyeurism, disavowal, fetishism and (day)dreaming;
- The alleged patriarchal essence of Hollywood film language;
- The interaction of the mobile and temporal structures of the cinematic image.

Topics considered include:

- The Cinematic Apparatus according to Baudry: Film as Night Dream;
- Metz’s Imaginary Signifier: A Lacanian Definition of the Cinematic Experience;
- Metz Reconsiders Baudry: Film as Daydream;
- The Lady Vanishes? Mulvey, Bellour, Modleski, De Lauretis and the Feminist Aesthetic;
- The Movement/Time Image: Deleuze, Bergson and the Cinema of Mental Relations.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

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

- Acquire an understanding of the terminology used in Film Theory Studies;
- Identify the intricate preoccupations of major Film Theorists in terms of their points of contrast and confluence; and
- Define the way that film exists as an art amongst other arts, within an aesthetic network of theoretical cross-fertilization.

2. Skills:

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

- Apply various theoretical criteria to the analysis of film language, including its mise-en-scène, cinematography, montage, and sound editing; and
- Demonstrate competence in writing critically about film narrative.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Classical Film Theory

Main Text:

- Carroll, Noël. Philosophical Problems of Classical Film Theory. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988.

Supplementary Readings:

- Andrew, J. Dudley. The Major Film Theories: An Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976.
- Arnheim, Rudolf. Film as Art. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989.
- Braudy, Leo and Marshall Cohen (eds.) Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.
- Bazin, André. What is Cinema? 2 vols. Berkeley: University of California Press,1989.
- Casebier, Allan. Film and Phenomenology: Toward a Realist Theory of Cinematic Representation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,1991.
- Caughie, John (ed). Theories of Authorship: A Reader. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul/BFI,1981.
- Eisenstein, Sergei. Film Form. New York: Harvest Books,1969.
- Kracauer, Siegfried. Theory of Film: The Redemption of Physical Reality. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997.
- MacCann, Richard Dyer (ed). Film: A Montage of Theories. New York: E.P. Dutton,1966.
- Perkins, V.F. Film as Film: Understanding and Judging Movies. New York: Da Capo Press, 1993.
- Singer, Irving. Reality Transformed: Film as Meaning and Technique. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1998.
- Tudor, Andrew. Theories of Film. London: Secker & Warburg/BFI, 1974.
- Wollen, Peter. Signs and Meaning in the Cinema. London: BFI, 1997.
- Wood, Robin. Personal Views: Explorations in Film. London: Gordon Fraser, 1976.

u>Contemporary Film Theory

Basic Text

- Carroll, Noël. Mystifying Movies: Fads and Fallacies in Contemporary Film Theory.New York: Columbia University Press, 1988.

Supplementary Readings:

- Andrew, Dudley. Concepts in Film Theory. New York: Oxford University Press,1984.
- Carroll, Noël. Theorizing the Moving Image. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
- Deleuze, Gilles. Cinema 1: The Movement-Image. Trans. Hugh Tomlinson & Barbara Habberjam. London: Athlone Press, 1986.
- Deleuze, Gilles. Cinema 2: The Time-Image. Trans. Hugh Tomlinson & Robert Galeta. London: Athlone Press, 1989.
- Doughty, Ruth & Christine Etherington-Wright. Understanding Film Theory. London:Macmillan, 2017.
- Easthope, Antony (ed). Contemporary Film Theory. London: Longman, 1996.
- Flaxman, Gregory (ed). The Brain is the Screen: Deleuze and the Philosophy of Cinema. Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press, 2000.
- Fuery, Patrick. New Developments in Film Theory. London: Macmillan, 2000.
- Jameson, Fredric. Signatures of the Visible. London: Routledge, 1992.
- Kaplan, E. Ann (ed). Psychoanalysis and Cinema. London: Routledge/AFI, 1990.
- Lapseley, Robert & Michael Westloke. Film Theory: An Introduction. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1988.
- McDonald, Kevin. Film Theory: The Basics. London: Routledge, 2016.
- Metz, Christian. The Imaginary Signifier. Bloomington: Indiana University Press,1982.
- Nichols, Bill (ed). Movies and Methods. Vol 2. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985.
- Penley, Constance (ed). Feminism and Film Theory. London: Routledge/BFI, 1988.
- Rosen, Philip (ed). Narrative, Apparatus, Ideology: A Film Theory Reader. New York: Columbia University Press, 1986.
- Stam, Robert & Toby Miller (eds). Film and Theory: An Anthology. Oxford: Blackwell, 2000.


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

LECTURER/S Saviour Catania

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