FLMS3110: Cinema and Modern Life


Institute of Humanities and Creative Arts


Module Code: FLMS3110

Module Title: Cinema and Modern Life: Part One

Module Outline


Module Tutor: Dr. Paul Elliott



Module Description:

 This module explores the relationship between the moving image and modernity. Using a range of different texts it looks at how film has facilitated, reflected, interrupted or otherwise affected the experience of modern life and modern living.

The student of Cinema and Modern Life will be introduced to an inter-disciplinary and comparative study of cinema that will encompass aspects of literature, philosophy and cultural studies.  They will also be encouraged to see cinema as an industry that has a constant (and changing) relationship to modernity.


Intended Learning Outcomes:

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

  1. identify a wide range of issues relating to film and modern life;
  2. discuss the relationship between film and ethics and film and politics;
  3. recognize how various theoretical approaches have framed the concept of the ‘new’;
  4. demonstrate how theories can be transformed into methodologies for further inquiry.
  5. Construct written work that successfully engages with both filmic and written texts.


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 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, however I am always open to seeing students at other times if you make an appointment.   

Please Note: There are now no screenings for this module therefore you are required to have seen the film before the session. If you have problems obtaining the film please see the module tutor. 


There will be a reader that will contain all the main readings for the module, however you should also purchase the following:

Set Texts (You should purchase these books):

Charney, L and V. Schwartz (eds). 1995. Cinema and the Invention of Modern Life. California: University of Berkeley Press.

Essential Reading (You will need to photocopy or read sections of these books):

Elsaesser, T. and A. Barker (eds). 1990. Early Cinema: Space, Frame, Narrative. London: BFI Publishing.

Further Reading (You will find these books useful):

Armes, R. 1976. The Ambiguous Image. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Balint Kovacs, A. 2007. Screening Modernism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Christie, I. 1994. The Last Machine. London: BFI.
Nowell Smith, G. 2008. Making Waves: New Cinemas of the 1960s. London; Continuum.
Orr, J. 1993. Cinema and Modernity. London: Polity Press.
Perry, T (ed). 2006. Masterpieces of Modernist Cinema.Indiana: University of Indiana Press.
Pomerance, M. 2006. Cinema and Modernity. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.
Strauven, W. (ed). 2006. The Cinema of Attractions Reloaded. Amsterdam: The University of Amsterdam Press.
Trotter, D. 2007. Cinema and Modernism. London; Wiley Blackwell
Turvey, M. 2011. The Filming of Modern Life. London: October Books.

Module Calendar (please note, subject to change):

Week Date Film
1. The Birth of the Modern World 26th September 2017 A Trip to the Moon (Melies, 1902)
Required Reading Comolli, J. L. 2015. “Cinema Against Spectacle: Inventing the Cinema?” in Cinema Against Spectacle: Technique and Ideology Revisited. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, pp. 87-98.
Supplementary Viewing and Reading Albera, F and M. Tortajada. 2014. “The 1900 Episteme” in Albera, F and M. Tortajada (eds). Cinema Beyond Film. Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam Press.
Benjamin, W. 1999. “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” in Illuminations, London: Pimlico, pp. 211-244.
Benjamin, W. 1999. The Arcades Project. Cambridge: University of Belknnap Press.
Berman, M. 1982. “Introduction – Modernity, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” in All That is Solid Melts Into Air. London: Verso, pp. 15 – 36.
Christie, I. 1994. The Last Machine. London: BFI.
Cousins, M. 2011. The Story of Film. London: Pavilion Books.
Ezra, E. 2000. George Méliès. Manchester: MUP
Gunning, T. 2006. “Attractions: How They Came Into the World” in Strauven, W. (ed). The Cinema of Attractions Reloaded. Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam Press, pp.31 – 40)
Gunning, T. 2013. “A Trip to the Moon (Melies, 1902)”, in Geiger, J. and R.L. Rutsky (eds). Film Analysis: A Norton Reader. London; Norton.
Smith, T. 2012. Origins of the Fantasy Film. Yesterday’s Cinema. Ebook.
Solomon, M. 2011. Fantastic Voyages of the Cinematic Imagination. New York: SUNY.Early Cinema: Primitives and Pioneers (BFI, 2005)
Electric Edwardians (BFI,2005)
Edison: The Invention of the Movies (Moma, 2005)
Mitchell and Kenyon: Edwardian Sports (BFI, 2007)
George Melies: First Wizard of Cinema (Flicker Alley, 2011)
Week Date Film
2. Cinematicity and Literature 3rd October 2017 No Film, Sections from The Time Machine (Pal, 1960) will be played.
Required Reading


Wells H.G. “Through a Window” (1894) and “The Crystal Egg” (1897)

Both are available online via amazon.


Williams, K. 2007. “The Short Stories” in H.G. Wells, Modernity and the Movies. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

Supplementary Viewing and Reading Eisenstein, S. 2010. “Dickens, Griffith and Ourselves” in Taylor, R (ed), Writings 1934 – 1947. London: IB Tauris, pp. 193 – 239.
Ellmann, R. 1965. The Modern Tradition: Backgrounds of Modern Literature. Oxford: OUP.
Geiger, J and K. Littau (eds). Cinematicity in Media History. Edinburgh: EUP.
Gunning, T. 1994. “Theory and History: Narrative Discourse and the Narrator System” in D.W. Griffiths and the Origins of American Narrative Film. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, pp. 10 – 30.
James, S. 2012. Maps of Utopia: H.G. Wells and the End of Culture. Oxford: OUP.
Marcus, L. 2010. The Tenth Muse: Writing About Cinema in the Modernist Period. Oxford: OUP.
Trotter, D. 2007. Cinema and Modernism. London; Wiley Blackwell.
Wells, H.G. 1895. The Time Machine. Available online at http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/35The Life of an American Fireman (Porter, 1903)
The Time Machine (George Pal, 1960)
Time After Time (Nicholas Meyer, 1979)
Hugo (Scorsese, 2012)
Week Date Film
3. The Shock of the New 10th October 2017 No Film, selections from Ballet Mechanique (Leger,  1924); Turksib (Turin, 1930); Man With a Movie Camera (Vertov, 1929)
Required Reading Marinetti, F.T. 1909. “The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism” in Apollonio, U. (ed). Futurist Manifestos. London: Tate.


Gunning, T. 2006. “The Cinema of Attractions: Early Film, it’s Spectator and the Avant-Garde” in Strauven, W. (ed). The Cinema of Attractions Reloaded. Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam Press, pp. 381 – 388.

Supplementary Viewing and Reading Arthurs, J and Grant, I. (eds). Crash Cultures: Modernity, Mediation and the Material. London: Intellect.
Beckman, K. 2010. Crash: Cinema and the Politics of Speed. Durham: Duke University Press.
Apollonio, U. (ed). Futurist Manifestos. London: Tate.
Caroline Tisdall and A. Bozzolla (eds). 1977. Futurism. London: Thames and Hudson.
Gunning, T. 2006. “The Cinema of Attractions: Early Film, it’s Spectator and the Avant-Garde” in Strauven, W. (ed). The Cinema of Attractions Reloaded. Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam Press, pp. 381 – 388.
Kuenzli, R. (ed). 1998. Dada and Surrealist Film. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Lawton, A. 1988. Russian Futurism Through its Manifestos, 1912 – 1928. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
P. Pray. M. 2003. Avant-Garde Film: Forms, Themes and Passions. London: Wallflower.
Perry, T. 2006. Masterpieces of Modernist Cinema. Bloomington: University of Indiana Press.
Rees, A.L. 2011. A History of Experimental Film and Video. London: BFI,
Selz, P. and J.C. Taylor (ed). Theories of Modern Art: A Sourcebook by Artists and Critics. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Turvey, M. 2011. The Filming of Modern Life: European Avant-Garde Film of the 1920s. Cambridge: MIT Press.Rhythmus 21 (Richter, 1921)
Anemic Cinema (Sélavy, 1924)
H20 (Steiner, 1929)
Rien Que Les Heures (Cavalcanti, 1926)
Portrait of a Young Man (Rodakiewicz, 1931)
Week Date Film
4. Retreat from Modernity  17th October 2017 Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans  (Murnau, 1927)
Required Reading Kaes, A. 2011. “Introduction” and “The War at Home” in Shell Shock Cinema. Cambridge, Princeton University, pp. 1 – 44.
Supplementary Viewing and Reading Coates, P. 2008. The Gorgon’s Gaze: German Cinema, Expressionism and the Image of Horror. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Eisner, L. 1973. Murnau. Berkeley: University of California.
Eisner, L. 1992. The Haunted Screen: Expressionism in the German Cinema. Berkeley: University of California.
Elsaesser, T. 2000. Weimar Cinema and After: Germany’s Historical Imaginary. London: Routledge.
Gunning, T. 2000. The Films of Fritz Lang: Allegories of Vision and Modernity. London: BFI.
Isenberg, N. 2008. Weimar Cinema: An Essential Guide to Classic Films of the Era. New York: Columbia University.
Kracauer, S. 1966. From Caligari to Hitler: A Psychological History of the German Film. Cambridge: Princeton University.
Rees, A.L. 2011. A History of Experimental Film and Video. London: BFI,
Richardson, M. 2006. Surrealism and Cinema. London: Berg.
Selz, P. and J.C. Taylor (ed). Theories of Modern Art: A Sourcebook by Artists and Critics. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Short, R. 2008. The Age of Gold: Dali, Bunuel, Artaud: Surrealist Cinema. New York: Solar Books.The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Weiner, 1920)
Der Golem (Wegener, 1920)
Nosferatu (Murnau, 1922)
Metropolis (Lang, 1927)
Un Chien Andalou (Dali and Bunuel, 1929)
Week Date Film
5. The Working Day 24th October 2017 A Nous la Liberte  (Clair, 1931)
Modern Times (Chaplin, 1936)
Required Reading  Maland, C. 2014. “Modern Times” in Geiger, J and R.L. Rutsky (eds), Film Analysis: A Norton Reader. London: Norton, pp. 218-239.
Supplementary Viewing and Reading Arendt, H. 2014. “The “Vita Activa” and the Modern Age”, in Scharf, R and V. Dusek (eds). Philosophy of Technology. London: Wiley Blackwell, pp. 389 – 405.
Cox, J. 1998. An Introduction to Marx’s Theory of Alienation“ International Socialism, 79.
Greene, D. 2010. The American Worker on Film, 1909 – 1999. London: McFarland.
Grint, K. 2005. The Sociology of Work. London: Polity Press.
Marx, K and F. Engles. 2014. “Capitalism and the Modern Labor Process” in Scharf, R and V. Dusek (eds). Philosophy of Technology. London: Wiley Blackwell, pp. 74 – 88.
Marx, K. 2010. “Speech at the Anniversary of the People’s Paper“ in Surveys From Exile. London: Verso, pp. 299 – 300.
Mellen, J. 2006. Modern Times. London: BFI.Metropolis (Lang, 1927)
The Crowd (Vidor, 1928)
The City (Steiner, 1939)
The Grapes of Wrath (Ford, 1940)
Salesman (Maysles, 1968)
Worcester Week – No Classes
Week Date Film
6. The Cinematic City 7th November 2017 The Wizard of Oz (Fleming, 1939)
The City (Steiner, 1939)
Required Reading Garcia, D. 2012. “There’s No Place Like Home”, in Lucia, C, R. Grundmann and A. Simon (eds). The Wiley-Blackwell History of American Film, Volume II, 1929 to 1945. London: Wiley, pp. 318-338.
Supplementary Viewing and Reading Barber, S. 2002. Projected Cities: Cinema and Urban Space. London: Reaktion Books.
Cairns, G. 2013. The Architecture of the Screen: Essays in Cinematic Space. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Koeck, R and L. Roberts. 2010. The City and the Moving Image: Urban Projections. New York: Palgrave.
Mennel, B. 2008. Cities and Cinema. London: Routledge.
Penz, F. 2012. Urban Cinematics: Understanding Urban Phenomena Through Film. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Rushdie, S. 2012. The Wizard of Oz. London: BFI.
Shiel, M and T. Fitzmaurice (eds). Cinema and the City. London: Blackwell.Manhatta (Sheeler and Strand, 1921)
Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (Ruttmann, 1927)
Man With a Movie Camera (Vertov, 1929)
À Propos de Nice (Vigo, 1930)
The City ( Steiner, 1939)
Week Date Film
7. Ghosts in the Machine 14th November 2017 Shadow of a Doubt (Hitchcock, 1943)
Rope (Hitchcock, 1948)
Required Reading Rothman, W. 1982. “Shadow of a Doubt”, in Hitchcock: The Murderous Gaze. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Supplementary Viewing and Reading Fay, J and J. Nieland. Film Noir: Hard Boiled Modernity and the Cultures of Globalisation. London; Routledge.
Naremore, J. More Than Night: Film Noir in its Contexts. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Orr, J. 2006. Hitchcock and Twentieth Century Cinema. New York: Columbia University Press.
Phillips, K. 2000. Projected Fears: Horror Films and American Culture. London: Paeger.
Pomerance, M. 2004. An Eye for Hitchcock. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.
Spoto, D. 1992. The Art of Alfred Hitchcock. New York: Anchor Books.
Truffaut, F. 1986. Hitchcock: A Definitive Study. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Wood, R. 2008. Hitchcock’s Films Revisited. New York: Columbia University Press.
Yanal, R. 2005. Hitchcock as Philosopher. New York: Mcfarland. Rope (Hitchcock, 1948)
Magnificent Obsession (Sirk, 1954)
All That Heaven Allows (Sirk, 1955)
Rebel Without a Cause (Ray, 1955)
Psycho (Hitchcock, 1960)
Week Date Film
8.  Film Noir and the Pressures of Modernity 21st November 2017 Double Indemnity (Wilder, 1944)
The Postman Always Rings Twice (Garnett, 1946)
Required Reading   Porfirio, E. 1976. “No Way Out: Existential Motifs in the Film Noir”, in Silver, A and Ursini, J. (eds). Film Noir: A Reader. New Jersey: Limelight, pp. 77-94.
Supplementary Viewing and Reading Alsayyad, N. 2006. Cinematic Urbanism. London: Routledge.
Bould, M. 2006. Film Noir: From Berlin to Sin City. London: Wallflower.
Dimendberg, E. 2004. Film Noir and the Spaces of Modernity. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Fay, J and J. Nieland. 2009. Film Noir. London: Routledge.
Hirsch, F. 2008. Dark Side of the Screen: Film Noir. New York: Da Capo Press.
Lamster, M. 2000. Architecture and Film. Cambridge: Princeton University Press.
Naremore, J. 2008. More Than Night: Film Noir and its Contexts. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Porfirio, R and M. Conrad (eds). 2010. The Philosophy of Film Noir. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press
Spicer, A. 2002. Film Noir. London: Routledge.The Killers (Siodmak, 1946)
The Postman Always Rings Twice (Garnett, 1946)
Brighton Rock (Boulting, 1946)
Night and the City (Dassin, 1950)
Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)
Week Date Film
9. Modern Anxieties  28th November 2017 Them! (Douglas, 1954)
The Thing From Another World (Nyby an Hawks, 1951)
Required Reading Hendershot, C. 1999. “Darwin and the Atom: Evolution/Devolution Fantasies in The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, Them! And The Incredible Shrinking Man” in Paranoia, the Bomb and 1950s Science Fiction. New York: Boiling Green University Press, pp. 75 – 90.


Supplementary Viewing and Reading Jancovich, M. 1996. Rational Fears: American Horror Genre in the 1950s. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Johnston, K. 2011. Science Fiction Film: A Critical Introduction. London: Berg.
Kawin, B. 2012. Horror and the Horror Film. London: Anthem Press.
Maddrey, J. 2004. Nightmares in Red, White and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film. New York: McFarlane.
Perkowitz, S. 2010. Hollywood Science: Movies, Science and the End of the World. New York: Columbia University.
Phillips, K. 2000. Projected Fears: Horror Films and American Culture. London: Paeger.
Worland, R. 2007. The Horror Film: An Introduction. London: Blackwell.The Day the Earth Stood Still (Wise, 1951)
Tarantula (Arnold, 1955)
The War of the Worlds (Haskin, 1953)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Siegel, 1956)
The Outer Limits: Season 1 (1963)
Week Date Film
10. Modernity Stripped Bare 5th December 2017 The Naked Prey (Wilde, 1965)
Robinson Crusoe on Mars (Haskin, 1964)
Required Reading Chapman, J. and N. Cull. 2009. “Pursuing Respect: The Naked Prey (1965), in Projecting Empire: Imperialism and Popular Cinema. London: I.B. Tauris, pp. 113-136.
Supplementary Viewing and Reading Adorno. T. and M. Horkheimer. 1979. Dialectic of Enlightenment. London: Verso Books.
Eagleton, T. 2005. The English Novel: An Introduction. London: Wiley Blackwell.
Faulks, S. 2011. “’Singled Out’: Robinson Crusoe” in On Fiction. London: BBC, pp. 19-32.
Hampson, N. 1990. The Enlightenment. London: Penguin.
Lane, R. 2006. The Postcolonial Novel. London: Polity Press.
Mayer, R. 2002. “Three Cinematic Robinsonades” in Mayer, R. (ed). Eighteenth-Century Fiction on Screen. Cambridge: CUP, pp. 35-51.
Outram, D. 2005. The Enlightenment. Cambridge: CUP.Survivors (Nation, 1975-1977)
Robinson Crusoe (Miller, 1997)
The Martian (Scott, 2015)
11. Visions of the Future  12th December 2017  2001 – A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968)Silent Running (Trumbull, 1972)
Required Reading Mateas, Michael. 2006. “Reading HAL: Representation and Artificial Intelligence”. In Kolker, R. (ed). 2006. Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey: New Essays. Oxford: OUP, pp. 105 – 126.
Supplementary Viewing and Reading Kramer, P. 2010. 2001: A Space Odyssey (BFI Film Classics). London: BFI.
Cornea, C. 2007. Science Fiction Cinema: Between Fantasy and Reality. Edinburgh: EUP.
Johnston, K. 2013. Science Fiction Film: A Critical Introduction. London: Berg.
Sanders, S. (ed). 2007. The Philosophy of Science Fiction Film. Lexington: University of Kentucky.
Bell, J (ed). 2014. Sci FI: Days of Fear and Wonder. London: BFI.


Colossus: The Forbin Project (Sargent, 1970)
Solaris (Tarkovsky, 1972)
Barbarella (Vadim, 1968)

Christmas Vacation 18th December 2017 5th January 2018

Week Date Film or Title of Session
12. Essay Tutorials 9th January 2018 No Film


 Assignment One: Cinematicity Essay

Answer ONE of the following:

  1. How did the work of H.G. Wells anticipate the coming of cinema and what did that say about 19th Modernity?
  2. What were the main currents of thought in Russian Futurism\Constructivism? Discuss with reference to two or more Soviet films.
  3. How did German Expressionism react to modernity? Discuss with reference to at least two films of the period.
  4. How can German Expressionism be viewed as ‘shell shocked cinema’ (Kaes, 2009)?
  5. Offer a comparative reading of The Wizard of Oz (Fleming, 1939) and one other filmic vision of a city. How does each film frame the image of the metropolis?
  6. How does Film Noir articulate the existential angst of the mid-twentieth century?
  7. Offer a comparison between Walter Neff (Double Indemnity (1944)) and Uncle Charlie (Shadow of a Doubt, 1943)). How does each articulate the mid-twentieth century mind?
  8. How does Them! (1954) articulate the fears and anxieties of modernity? Discuss in relation to one other film.
  9. Explore two cinematic retellings of the story of Robinson Crusoe. How do they articulate celebrations or paranoia surrounding modernity?
  10. How does Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) articulate fears about the future?
  11. What is the link between the beginning and the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)?

Word Count: 2000
Submission Date:  19th December 2017


 Every effort will be made to make the films available for you to watch. However, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have seen the texts being discussed. You can source many of the films on Netflix, Amazon Instant or You Tube, however there may be some DVD purchase necessary. In that instance, you will be informed well ahead of time.

 The DVD Library:

The DVD library for FLMS3110 – Cinema and Modern Life is held in my office (BB113). All DVDs are available for a short term loan (1 day). You can view the film in the Pierson or on your own laptop but you must return the DVD on the day of the loan.