University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE What is Cinema?

LEVEL 00 - Mod Pre-Tert, Foundation, Proficiency & DegreePlus

ECTS CREDITS Not Applicable

DEPARTMENT Degree Plus Programme

DESCRIPTION Studying cinema draws on both our intellect and our imagination. As an accessible and even ubiquitous transcultural form of expression, cinema opens us to other worlds, other lives, other ways of seeing in a culture that increasingly relies on visual information and on an understanding of the moving image that is essential to understanding not only society but, first and foremost, ourselves. The course therefore equips students with a range of skills for understanding and analysing cinema as a vital and yet everyday part of our life from the social, cultural, and aesthetic dimensions of cinema in different contexts and at different times.

Students will examine the: artistry of technique, the creative depth of various Hollywood, American Indie, European films but also films from other continents with an emphasis on how the story gets told through the language of film, essentials for an understanding of the cinema (mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing), and other creative elements that make each film unique (the story structure, mood, dialogue, audience expectation, impact of music and sound on our senses) in a very accessible way.

Learning Objectives:

• Be better prepared to form a surer and sounder judgment about their film experiences with clarity, skill and critical awareness;
• Analyse the meanings and implications of specific artistic choices and aesthetic decisions made within films and by filmmakers;
• Discuss cinema as both a specific entity and as a heterogeneous medium.

Unit Material:

Appropriate unit material will be provided by the tutor during the sessions. There are no set texts for the unit, though tutor may recommend appropriate manuals to students who would like to take their work in this area further.


In keeping with the spirit of Degree Plus, there is no formal assessment associated with the unit. A certificate of attendance and of satisfactory completion of the unit will be provided at the end of the semester.

Note: Degree plus units are not designed to be incrementally burdensome in terms of the many academic demands placed on students during their undergraduate years.

ADDITIONAL NOTES This unit may not be offered if there are an insufficient number of applicants.


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Attendance No 100%

LECTURER/S Joseph Noel Grima (Co-ord.)

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 study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.

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