FLMS1100 – Introduction to Film: Theory & Practice

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The-Godfather-007

FLMS1100: Introduction to Film – Theory & Practice

Mondays, 09:15 – 12:15

Dr. Mikel J. Koven

m.koven@worc.ac.uk

 

 

This module develops the student’s cineliteracy – not just our familiarity with different kinds of cinema, but understanding its component parts as a wealth of cultural expression and meaningful interpretation. Through this module, we shall be exploring aspects of formal and historical films from around the world. In addition, this module seeks to breakdown the formal elements of film (mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing & sound), and in trying to recreate those elements, have a more nuanced understanding of filmic construction, and therefore a better critical perspective at the movies.

 

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of the module, students should be able to:

  1. Identify, through textual analysis, the basic aspects of film production and analysis
  2. Examine a sequence from a film in order to understand how the basic aspects of film work together
  3. Identify key approaches to the study of film
  4. Describe the processes of academic scholarship (at a rudimentary level), from research through to essay writing, including issues of citation and plagiarism
  5. Work on producing a small piece of practical digital filmmaking work as part of a team, including awareness of issues of professionalism, health and safety
  6. Begin to examine their own (transferable) skills development towards increasing their employability.

 Attendance Policy:

 It is expected that you will attend all taught sessions, in the same way that attendance is expected in the workplace. Indeed regular attendance has a significant impact on student engagement, understanding and successful completion of University courses. Furthermore non-attendance will significantly affect your ability successfully to complete a module and may jeopardise your ability to undertake re-assessment in the event of failing a module.

It is your responsibility as a student, just as it would be if you were an employee, to ensure that you are punctual and that your attendance has been recorded on the register each week.

Should you, for some unavoidable reason, be unable to attend a scheduled session (for example if you are ill) then you must send an email to ihcastudentabsence@worc.ac.uk . Please include in your email your name and student number, the module code and name, the date of the missed session, and your reason for missing it. You should make sure that you copy the module tutor into the email and also contact your module tutor to make arrangements to catch up on any work you have missed.

Notification must be received within 6 days of the date of the missed session.

Alternatively you can inform IHCA of your absence via the telephone. Please ring 01905 542015 (Shirley Adams) with the required details.

Students with two or more unexplained absences may be required to attend a tutorial/ interview with the module leader, course leader or head of division to discuss their progress.

Learning Contract:

 On this module you are expected to be courteous and attentive to your fellow classmates and to the module tutor. You are also expected to undertake the required reading each week and to view the film or films under question. Failure to do either of these things will severely impede your success on the module.

The use of mobile phones will not be tolerated in classes, lectures or screenings. Please turn off all phones before the lesson starts.

Please feel free to email me (m.koven@worc.ac.uk)with any queries you have regarding the module, I will try to reply within 3 working days. My office hours will be posted on the door of my office (BB 133), however I am always open to seeing students at other times if you make an appointment.   

Required & Recommended Readings

Reading lists can be found via the Talis Resource List for this module.  (Visitors to this site will be able to look at the reading lists, but only University of Worcester students will be able to access the materials themselves)

Film List (subject to change)

Most films will be screened in class; however, due to their length, two (possibly three) of the films will be required as homework. However, and beyond that, those of you interested in acquiring the films themselves on DVD or Blu-ray are encouraged to do so. Having a copy of the film will prove exceptionally helpful when you are trying to write an essay on that film.

The film we will be studying are:

(IT, Federico Fellini, 1963)

À bout de souffle/Breathless (FR, Jean-Luc Godard, 1960)

Angst essen Seele auf/Fear Eats the Soul (DE, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1974)

Battleship Potemkin (SU, Sergei Eisenstein, 1925)

Blade Runner (US, Ridley Scott, 1982)

Blue Velvet (US, David Lynch, 1986)

*The Godfather (US, Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)

La Grande Illusion (FR, Jean Renoir, 1937)

The Grandmaster (CN, Wong Kar-Wai, 2013)

Ladri di biciclette/Bicycle Thieves (IT, Vittorio de Sica, 1948)

Modern Times (US, Charles Chaplin, 1936)

Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (DE, FW Murnau, 1922)

Pixote (BR, Hector Babenco, 1981)

Sedmikrásky/Daisies (CZ, Vera Chytilová, 1966)

*The Shining (US/UK, Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

Det sjunde inseglet /The Seventh Seal (SE, Ingmar Bergman, 1957)

Suicide Squad (US, David Ayer, 2016) if available, otherwise *Apocalypse Now (US, Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)

The Third Man (US/UK, Carol Reed, 1949)

Tokyo Monogatari /Tokyo Story (JP, Yashujiro Ozu, 1953)

Yojimbo (JP, Akira Kurosawa, 1961)

*Films to be viewed in preparation for the class (i.e. as homework).

 

Module Calendar

27 Sept Why Study Film?
Film N/A
04 Oct Film Analysis
Film (In-Class) Blue Velvet (US, David Lynch, 1986)

11 Oct In-Class Analysis
Film (In-Class) TBC

18 Oct Mise-en-scene
Film (Homework) The Godfather (US, Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)

25 Oct German Expressionism
Film (In-Class) Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (DE, FW Murnau, 1922)

31 Oct – 4 Nov Reading Week

8 Nov Cinematography
Film (In-Class) The Third Man (US/UK, Carol Reed, 1949)

15 Nov French Poetic Realism
Film (In-Class) La Grande Illusion (FR, Jean Renoir, 1937)

22 Nov Editing
Film (Homework) The Shining (US/UK, Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

29 Nov Soviet Montage
Film (In-Class) Battleship Potemkin (SU, Sergei Eisenstein, 1925)

6 Dec Sound
Film (In-Class) Modern Times (US, Charles Chaplin, 1936)

12 December – 2 January – Christmas Break
3 Jan The Soundtrack
Film (Homework) Suicide Squad (US, David Ayer, 2016) *if available, otherwise Apocalypse Now (US, Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)

10 Jan Short Films

Week of 16 January – Assignment Week

Week of 23 January – Worcester Week


 

31 Jan Film Style
Film (In-Class) Blade Runner (US, Ridley Scott, 1982)

7 Feb Art Cinema
Film (In-Class) The Grandmaster (CN, Wong Kar-Wai, 2013)
Readings, please see Talis Resource Lists.

14 Feb Italian Neorealism
Film (In-Class) Ladri di biciclette/Bicycle Thieves (IT, Vittorio de Sica, 1948)
Readings, please see Talis Resource Lists.

21 Feb Cinema novo
Film (In-Class) Pixote (BR, Hector Babenco, 1981)
Readings, please see Talis Resource Lists.

28 Feb Yasujiro Ozu
Film (In-Class) Tokyo Monogatari /Tokyo Story (JP, Yashujiro Ozu, 1953)
Readings, please see Talis Resource Lists.

7 March French New Wave
Film (In-Class) À bout de souffle/Breathless (FR, Jean-Luc Godard, 1960)
Readings, please see Talis Resource Lists.

14 March New German Cinema
Film (In-Class) Angst essen Seele auf/Fear Eats the Soul (DE, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1974)
Readings, please see Talis Resource Lists.

21 March Dogme ’95
Film (In-Class) Idioterne/The Idiots (DK, Lars von Trier, 1998)
Readings, please see Talis Resource Lists.

28 March Ingmar Bergman
Film (In-Class) Det sjunde inseglet /The Seventh Seal (SE, Ingmar Bergman, 1957)
Readings, please see Talis Resource Lists.

4 April Federico Fellini
Film (In-Class) (IT, Federico Fellini, 1963)
Readings, please see Talis Resource Lists.

10 April – 21 April – Easter Break


25 April Akira Kurosawa
Film (In-Class) Yojimbo (JP, Akira Kurosawa, 1961)
Readings, please see Talis Resource Lists.

2 May Revision & Essay Prep
Film N/A
Reading N/A

 

Assignments:

 

 Short Film Project

Students are required to make a short film, approx. 5-minutes in length, without dialogue. Your film doesn’t need to be “silent”, but you may not use spoken dialogue to tell the story.  Beyond that, the topic and script, style and form are at your own discretion; however, the feasibility of the project has to be realistic (i.e. don’t try to remake Lawrence of Arabia with an all hamster cast). Students are free to work in groups, rope friends and family into helping, or work completely on your own, however each student is responsible for making their own film.

The film should make appropriate use of the technical skills discussed throughout the first part of the module; specifically, attention needs to be made to aspects of mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing and sound.

Students are expected to make use of the technology they have at hand – their own camcorders, digital cameras and phones. Microsoft MovieMaker comes preloaded with the basic Windows package and other forms of shareware are readily available. Some digital video cameras are also available to students through the university’s Information and Learning Services (ILS).  This assignment is not about making Oscar-worthy cinema, but about the application of specific technical factors in the creation of cinematic meaning. And about the student’s own resourcefulness in the creation of video art.

Final submission of the film also needs to be accompanied by a 1000-word self-reflective essay on specifically how you have used the various aspects of mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing and sound. It is this essay that will ultimately be graded, not the film itself; the objective of the assignment is your application of the principles, not the success in those applications.

The Short Film assignment assesses (and therefore will be graded according to) the following learning outcomes:

  1. Identify, through textual analysis, the basic aspects of film production and analysis
  2. Examine a sequence from a film in order to understand how the basic aspects of film work together
  3. Work on producing a small piece of practical digital filmmaking work as part of a team, including awareness of issues of professionalism, health and safety
  4. Begin to examine their own (transferable) skills development towards increasing their employability.

To submit this assignment, you must upload your video to either YouTube or Vimeo. Your self-reflective essay must be submitted via SOLE, and also include the link to your film.

Here is a YouTube playlist featuring the films made by the 2015/16 class:  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3fOUSkGjtspkN1Uj0DJ7l86j13GULyEr

Length: 5-minute film (approximately) & 1000 word self-reflective essay

Due: 20 Jan, at 15:00

Weighting: 40%

 

Learning Log

This module is based on nine (9) units of work, consisting of two or three week sets. They are as follows: Film Analysis, Mise-en-scene, Cinematography, Editing, Sound, Style, New Waves, Neorealisms, and Auteurs. For each unit, you will be expected to write a very short (250 word) summary of that unit with particular attention to the films studied.

These summaries will be submitted via Blackboard. Grading will be based on the quality of the work, with the final grade being an average of the nine. These will be due by the end of the week the unit concluded, at 17:00. Submissions after that cut off will not be marked.

Final Grade for the entire learning log will be calculated early in May.

Weighting: 30%

 

Research Essay

Through close textual analysis of the specified film, discuss one (1) of the following topics:

  • Discuss how any (1) of the three films studied (Bicycle Thieves, Pixote, or Tokyo Story) reflect the theoretical principles of neorealism.
  • Discuss how any (1) of the three films studied (Breathless, Fear Eats the Soul, or The Idiots) reflect a “new wave” sensibility.
  • Discuss how any (1) of the three films studied (The Seventh Seal, 8½, or Yojimbo) reflect the authorship of its director.

Please note your essay must make use of appropriate academic materials, such as those referenced in the bibliographies above (pp. 3-6 in this handbook)

The Research Essay assesses (and therefore will be graded according to) the following learning outcomes:

  1. Identify, through textual analysis, the basic aspects of film production and analysis
  2. Examine a sequence from a film in order to understand how the basic aspects of film work together
  3. Identify key approaches to the study of film
  4. Illustrate the processes of academic scholarship (at a rudimentary level), from research through to essay writing, including issues of citation and plagiarism

Length: 1500 words

Due: 4 May (May the 4th be with you), at 15:00

Weighting: 30%

*Assignments will be graded within three weeks of submission*

Submission:

Submission of the accompanying essay for the short video assignment and the final essay should be electronically submitted via the student’s SOLE page. The learning log assignment will be conducted via Blackboard and the grades calculated throughout the year. All assignments will be submitted to Turnitin by the module leader.

For information regarding plagiarism, referencing, and general study skills please visit http://www.worc.ac.uk/studyskills

 

Selected Bibliographies (useful for the essay questions):

Italian Neorealism

Bondanella, P. (2009). A History of Italian Cinema. London: Continuum.

Cardullo, Bert (ed). Andre Bazin and Italian Neorealism. London: Continuum.

Celli, Carlo and Marga Cottino-Jones. A New Guide to Italian Cinema. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Giovacchini, Saverio & Robert Sklar (eds). (2012). Global Neorealism: The Transnational History of a Film Style. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi.

Gordon, Robert S. C.  (2008). Bicycle Thieves [Ladri di biciclette]. London: BFI.

Moliterno, Gino. (2008). Historical Dictionary of Italian Cinema. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.

Sorlin, Pierre. (2001). Italian National Cinema, 1896-1996. London: Routledge.

Wagstaff, Christopher (2007). Italian Neorealist Cinema: An Aesthetic Approach. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

 

Cinema Novo (and other Latin American cinemas)

Hart, S. M. (2004). A Companion to Latin American Film. Woodbridge: Tamesis.

Johnson, R & R. Stam. (1982) Brazilian Cinema. London: Associated University Press. [excerpts]

Martin, M. T. (ed). (1997) The New Latin American Cinema vol 1: Theories, Practices and Transcontinental Articulations. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.

Nagib, Lúcia. (2007). Brazil on Screen: Cinema Novo, New Cinema, Utopia. London: I. B. Tauris

Nagib, Lúcia (ed). (2003). The New Brazilian Film. London: I. B. Tauris.

 

Yashujiro Ozu (and Japanese Cinema)

Berra, J. (ed.) (2010). Directory of World Cinema: Japan. Bristol: Intellect Press.

Bordwell, D. (1988). Ozu and the Poetics of Cinema. London: BFI

Desser, D. (ed). (1997). Ozu’s Tokyo Story. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Phillips, A. and J. Stringer (eds). (2007). Japanese Cinema: Texts and Contexts. London: Routledge.

Pugsley, P. C. (2010). Traditions, Culture and Aesthetics in Contemporary Asian Cinema. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing Limited.

Richie, D. (1971). Japanese Cinema: Film Style and National Character. New York: Anchor Books.

Richie, D. (2005). A Hundred Years of Japanese Film: A Concise History with a Selective Guide to DVDs and Videos. Tokyo: Kodansha International

 

French New Wave

Andrew, D & A. Gillain (eds). (2013). A Companion to François Truffaut. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Hayward, S. (2005). French National Cinema 2nd Edition. London: Routledge.

Kline, T. J. (2010). Unraveling French Cinema: From L’Atalante to Caché. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Powie, P. & K. Reader. (2002). French Cinema: A Student’s Guide. Abington: Arnold.

Sterritt, D. (1999).  The Films of Jean-Luc Godard: Seeing the Invisible. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wiegand, C. (2005). French New Wave. Harpenden: Pocket Essentials.

 

New German Cinema

Davidson, J. E. (1999). Deterritorializing the New German cinema. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press

Elsaesser, T. (1996). Fassbinder’s Germany: History, Identity, Subject. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Flinn, C. (2004). The New German Cinema: Music, History, and the Matter of Style. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Hayman, R. (1984). Fassbinder: Film Maker. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

Peucker, B. (ed.). (2012). A Companion to Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

 

Czech New Wave

Hames, P. (2009). Czech and Slovak Cinema: Theme and Tradition. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

 

Ingmar Bergman

Bergman, I. (1988). The Magic Lantern: An Autobiography. Joan Tate trans. London: Penguin Books.

Kalin, J. (2003). The Films of Ingmar Bergman. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Larsson, M. & A. Marklund (eds.). (2010). Swedish Film: An Introduction and Reader. Lund: Nordic Academic Press.

Macnab, G. (2009). Ingmar Bergman: The Life and Films of the Last Great European Director. London: I. B. Tauris.

Michaels, L. (ed.). (2000). Ingmar Bergman’s Persona. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sahlin, F. (2008). Swedish Film: Fired by Passion. Stephen Croall, trans.  Stockholm: The Swedish Institute.

Steene, B. (2005). Ingmar Bergman: A Reference Guide. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Törnqvist, E. (1995). Between Stage and Screen: Ingmar Bergman Directs. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Tucker, J. (ed.). (2012). Evaluating the Achievement of One Hundred Years of Scandinavian Cinema: Dreyer, Bergman, Von Trier, and Others. Lampeter: The Edwin Mellon Press, Ltd.

 

Federico Fellini

Bondanella, P. (2002). The Films of Federico Fellini. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bondanella, P. (2009). A History of Italian Cinema. London: Continuum.

Burke, F. and M. R. Waller (eds.). (2002). Federico Fellini: Contemporary Perspectives. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Celli, Carlo and Marga Cottino-Jones. A New Guide to Italian Cinema. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Gieri, M. (1995). Contemporary Italian Filmmaking: Strategies of Subversion. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Moliterno, Gino. (2008). Historical Dictionary of Italian Cinema. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.

Sorlin, Pierre. (2001). Italian National Cinema, 1896-1996. London: Routledge.

 

Akira Kurosawa

Berra, J. (ed.) (2010). Directory of World Cinema: Japan. Bristol: Intellect Press.

Kurosawa, A. (1982). Something Like an Autobiography. A. E. Boch, trans. New York: Vintage Books.

Martinez, D. P. (2009). Remaking Kurosawa: Translations and Permutations in Global Cinema. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Phillips, A. and J. Stringer (eds). (2007). Japanese Cinema: Texts and Contexts. London: Routledge.

Prince, S. (1991). The Warrior’s Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Pugsley, P. C. (2010). Traditions, Culture and Aesthetics in Contemporary Asian Cinema. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing Limited.

Richie, D. (1971). Japanese Cinema: Film Style and National Character. New York: Anchor Books.

Richie, D. (2005). A Hundred Years of Japanese Film: A Concise History with a Selective Guide to DVDs and Videos. Tokyo: Kodansha International

Yoshimoto, M. (2000). Kurosawa: Film Studies and Japanese Cinema. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.