This introductory course to film studies will give an overview of the breadth of film studies, considering film as entertainment and artform, language and commodity. The course will look at how to think critically and analytically about film, providing students with the technical vocabulary to write about film and give them a fundamental understanding of the underlying principles of filmmaking. In addition to this, film will be situated in its historical and institutional contexts in order to consider the reasons for the medium’s existence as an entertainment, and the wide spectrum of film form that has emerged within its first century.
How to ‘read’ a film. A film is a complex form of communication, made up of a variety of components all working together to convey information to the audience. In the first week we will look at how to see what the filmmakers have chosen to do, and why it has the effect on the audience.
Generic engineering. Genre plays a crucial role in both the construction, marketing and reception of films. This week we look at the reasons for the emergence of genres and how they are used to both shape and confound audiences’ expectations of a film.
Hooray for Hollywood? Beginning with an historical introduction to the emergence of the American film industry, its dominance in world cinema and continued role in shaping the kinds of films that are made and seen by global audiences, this week will also consider the variety of alternative film industries that have emerged in the shadow of Hollywood.
The non-fiction film: documentary and beyond. Filmmakers haven’t always confined themselves to fictional storytelling. Throughout this week we will look at the many different ways that filmmakers have attempted to capture reality through documentary filmmaking, as well as exploring the opportunities film offers artists working in the avant-garde.