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

Postgraduate Course: Film Criticism and Metacriticism (CLLC11201)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryWhat is film criticism? What are the different ways of doing it? Why do we practice it? To answer any one of these questions is to answer the others.
This course proposes film criticism as a vital area of Film Studies. By putting the practice of film criticism in dialogue with film theory and film-philosophy, it invites students to explore ways these interlocking fields can work together productively and in turn to rethink the nature of film criticism.
Course description Engaging with a range of key approaches to film criticism, this course opens up the broader methodological issues or debates that they raise. In each week, students will study an exemplary piece of film criticism, alongside critical writings which contextualise, reflect on, or challenge its assumptions or principles. Potential topics may include aesthetic evaluation, 'overreading', philosophical criticism, surface/depth interpretation, videographic scholarship and the video essay, and the exploration of affect, form, and political critique in criticism.

By thinking through these topics and their attendant concerns, students will gain a renewed understanding of the nature and operation of film criticism. We will further investigate the ways in which the practice is not only inseparable from but also beneficial to theoretical and philosophical inquiries into cinema.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students on LLC MSc programmes get first priority to this course. If you are not on an LLC course, please let your administrator or the course administrator know you are interested in the course. Unauthorised enrolments will be removed.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  18
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1 x 1000-word short essay (30%)
1 x 3000-word essay (70%)
Feedback The first assignment offers an opportunity for feedback which helps students to prepare for their final essay. This initial feedback will be provided individually as well as in a set of general advice to the group. Written feedback will be given on both essays.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Identify and question the analytical moves and assumptions in works of film criticism and analysis.
  2. Reflectively assess the benefits and constraints of a range of critical approaches and methodologies.
  3. Articulate and defend critical claims and aesthetic judgments.
Reading List
Brinkema, Eugenie. 2014. The Forms of the Affects. Durham: Duke University Press.
Clayton, Alex. & Klevan, Andrew. (ed.) 2012. The Language and Style of Film Criticism. Oxford: Routledge.
Felski, Rita. 2015. The Limits of Critique. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.
Galt, Rosalind. 2011. Pretty: Film and the Decorative Image. New York: Columbia University Press.
Klevan, Andrew. 2018. Aesthetic Evaluation and Film. Manchester: Manchester University Press
Perkins, V. F. 1990. Must We Say What They Mean?. Movie 34/35: 1-6.

Further Reading:
Cavell, Stanley. 1981. Introduction: Words for a Conversation. In Pursuits of Happiness: the Hollywood Comedy of Remarriage. Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press.
de Fren, Allison. 2020. The Critical Supercut: A Scholarly Approach to a Fannish Practice.
The Cine-Files, 15 (Fall). Available at:
Miller, D. A. 2016. Hidden Hitchcock. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.
Pippin, Robert. B. 2020. Filmed Thought: Cinema as Reflective Form. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Sontag, Susan. 2009. Against Interpretation. In Against Interpretation and Other Essays. London: Penguin.

Grant, James. 2013. The Critical Imagination. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Ngai, Sianne. 2012. Our Aesthetic Categories: Zany, Cute, Interesting. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
Perkins, V.F. 1993. Film as Film: Understanding and Judging Movies. New York: Da Capo Press.
Ray, Robert B. 2008. The ABCs of Classic Hollywood. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Independent thinking; critical writing; analytical skills; aesthetic appreciation and judgement.
Keywordsfilm criticism,film analysis,critical writing,analytical skills,aesthetic appreciation and judgement
Course organiserDr Hoi Lun Law
Course secretaryMiss Hope Hamilton
Tel: (0131 6)50 4167
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