This course will give students an introduction to the academic study of film, focusing on three key areas: film analysis, film industry and film history. In addition to developing a set of critical tools for analysis of film texts, contextual studies will also offer students a wide range of critical, institutional and historical frameworks for the study of film.
Note: We offer two classes in this subject area, Film Studies and Film Making. For the majority of students, we advise against taking both classes at the same time. If you plan to take each class in a different term we normally advise you to choose Film Studies first.
Part One What is a Film?
Part Two How to ‘Read’ a Film
Part Three The Development of the Narrative Film
Part Four The Film Industry: Hollywood and Beyond
Part Five Alternative Approaches: Independent, Avant-Garde and Documentary Film
Part Six The Major Film Theories
- To develop an appreciation and understanding of different perspectives on film
- To understand the basic principles of filmmaking
- To develop skills in the areas of critical thinking, analysis and creativity
- To understand the historical and institutional contexts within which narrative films emerged
- To enhance students’ ability to express themselves orally, in written form and through film
Students will be able to:
- think critically and analytically about film, narrative structure and the creative process
- develop an overview of the history of film, encompassing various film genres, styles and movements
- understand the machinery of the film industry, both past and present
- develop a critical perspective on films and the filmmaking process
- understand the craft of filmmaking sufficiently to enable them to go forward and make their own short film projects
Grades for the course are based on the tutor’s ongoing assessment of how well the student prepares for class and demonstrates their understanding of the topic through short written exercises. There will be two major written assignments: one film analysis paper to be completed after half term, and one longer research paper to be completed by the final week of term.
This class is normally delivered over one term, with 90 teaching contact hours or equivalent in the Michaelmas term, and 60 teaching contact hours for Hilary and Trinity terms. For students requesting credit, we recommend the transfer of three college credits for Michaelmas and two college credits for Hilary and Trinity, on successful completion of the class.
|Capable of making strong, coherent and original arguments; can demonstrate advanced understanding of all relevant concepts.|
|Capable of making coherent arguments; can display a good understanding of all relevant concepts.|
|Attempts a reasoned argument; displays a good understanding of most relevant concepts.|
|Engages with argument and debate; displays some understanding of the relevant concepts.|
|Does not engage with the key debates; does not show an understanding of the relevant concepts.|
Alexander MacKendrick – On Film Making Faber, 2004
Robert McKee – Story: Substance, Structure, Style and Principles of Screen Writing
William Goldman – Adventures in the Screen Trade Abacus, 1996
Recommended Introductory Viewing:
Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1957)
Time Bandits (Terry Gilliam, 1981)
Bringing Up Baby (Howard Hawks, 1935)
Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino, 2008)
Meshes of the Afternoon (Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid, 1943)
The Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming, 1938)
Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)