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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Common Courses (School of Lit, Lang and Cult)

Postgraduate Course: Film Theory (CLLC11150)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryFilm Theory is designed to make students familiar with major European and American film theories and various approaches to film analysis. The discussion will focus on core theoretical contributions from realism, formalism, psychoanalysis, auteurism, genre theory and film semiotics amongst others. The theoretical discussion will be combined with exercises in film analysis.
Course description From the very beginning of cinema, various writers have thought about film's place in contemporary society. Cinema has been understood as an aesthetic object, an industry, a political intervention or reflection, as something beneficial or as something that has the potential to corrupt and influence audiences. Film Theory explores the history of the way in which thinkers have sought to understand cinema.

We discuss the debates between the formalists and the realists in the first half of the twentieth-century while also considering various psychological theories about film. We then move on to discuss the ideological and psychoanalytical turn in the 1960s and 1970s before considering contemporary developments in thinking about cinema.

The course engages with a broad selection of films, principally from Europe and America, that are relevant to the theoretical issues at hand.

Film Theory provides a history of the way in which people have written and thought about film as well as allowing students to develop their own critical engagement with cinema.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  31
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 22, Formative Assessment Hours 5, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 147 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Essay 1: 2000 words (30%)
Essay 2: 3000 words (70%)

Formative assessment: Presentation
Feedback Students will discuss their essay topics with the relevant lecturer and will receive written feedback on their final essay. Students will receive comments on their presentations.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate a familiarity with the major theories of film and their development.
  2. apply these theories to the investigation of individual films and cinema generally.
  3. critically engage with issues in film theory and analysis.
Reading List
* Bordwell, D. (1989) Making Meaning: Inference and Rhetoric in the Interpretation of Cinema. Harvard University Press: Harvard.

* Bordwell, David and Kristin Thompson (1991-2010) Film Art: An Introduction. Multiple editions. McGraw-Hill.

* Braudy, Leo and Marshall Cohen (eds.) (2004) Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings. 6th edt. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

* Elsaesser, Thomas and Warren Buckland (2002) Studying Contemporary American Film: A Guide to Movie Analysis. Hodder Arnold: London.

* Gledhill, Christine and Linda Williams (eds.) (2000) Reinventing Film Studies. Arnold: London.

* Hayward, S. (2000) Cinema Studies: The Key Concepts. Routledge: London & New York.

* Miller, Toby and Robert Stam (eds.) (1999) A Companion to Film Theory. Blackwell: Malden, Mass. and Oxford.

* Nichols, Bill (ed.) (1976) Movies and Methods: An Anthology, Volume I. University of California Press: Berkeley, Los Angeles and London.

* Nichols, Bill (ed.) (1985) Movies and Methods: An Anthology, Volume II. University of California Press: Berkeley, Los Angeles and London.

* Rushton, Richard and Gary Bettinson (2010) What is Film Theory? An Introduction to Contemporary Debates. New York: McGraw Hill and Open University Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills * Advanced skills of critical analysis
* Presentation skills
* Time management
* Cultural and historical awareness
KeywordsFilm,Cinema,Film Theory
Course organiserDr David Sorfa
Tel: (0131 6)50 3637
Course secretaryMrs Alisa Wilkinson
Tel: (0131 6)50 4465
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