FT3WCI-World Cinema and Intermediality

Module Provider: Film, Theatre and TV
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Prof Lucia Nagib

Email: l.nagib@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

From its early days cinema has been defined as hybrid, reasons ranging from its power to emulate pre-existing art forms to its mixed supports. However, World Cinema has hardly ever been taught from the point of view of its dialogue with other arts and media. This module will open up for the students a wealth of cultural expressions by approaching world cinema through its interactions with other arts and creative devices, with particular attention to those that define a regional or national identity. By applying intermediality as a method, this module will endeavour to bring to the fore Bazin’s defence of what he termed ‘impure cinema’, as well as his dramatic call for a new, emancipated criticism, capable of understanding cinema beyond the constraints of the medium’s specificity. However, in order to obtain precision of this method, it is imperative to emphasise the specifics of the medium and the importance of what Stam has called ‘film as film’, before undertaking the analysis of ‘the migratory, crossover elements shared between film and other media’. Thus this module, whilst recognising the existence of the film medium, will focus on the threats and challenges, as well as the added richness, presented by intermediality. Drawing on films from all over the world (Japan, Iran, Portugal, Brazil, Germany, Italy etc.), the module will unveil specific artistic expressions of these locations (music, theatre, painting, dance, opera etc.), in the light of cutting-edge theorists such as Petho, Rajewski and Manovich.


•    To expose students to the main theories and methods related to intermediality;

•    To study how these theories and methods can be applied to world cinema; 

•    To develop students’ understanding of the specificities of the film medium; 

•    To analyse ‘covert’ and ‘overt’ intermediality in films and their aesthetic results;

•    To understand the politics of intermediality in world cinema;

•    To understand and appreciate the contribution of local and national art forms to film, as well as their contribution to identity formation;

•    To develop students’ ability to locate, analyse and inter-relate intermedial procedures in films from different parts of the world;

•    To develop students’ critical and analytical skills; 

•    To develop students’ skills in understanding and applying complex theories and concepts. 


Assessable learning outcomes:

On completion of this module students should be able to:

•    Demonstrate solid knowledge of different theories of intermediality as applied to world cinema;

•    Demonstrate solid understanding of the various concepts of world cinema;

•    Understand and apply concepts relating to ‘pure’ and ‘impure’ cinema as well as to medium specificity;

•    Analyse intermediality in narrative world cinema;

•    Demonstrate familiarity with a number of intermedial procedures in various schools and movements in world cinema.


Additional outcomes:

The module will serve as a useful complement to all other modules taught in the undergraduate course, in particular the module FT3WC World Cinema: Presenting and Representing Reality. It will provide students with critical, analytical and interpretative skills and tools to deal with a variety of films and cultural traditions, in light of their intermedial features. It will provide them with an overarching vision of cinema’s engagement with other arts and media. And it will expose them to original and cutting-edge theories in world-cinema research field.

Outline content:

The module will endeavour to demonstrate to students how intermedial procedures have prevailed in most world cinema traditions, how these procedures unveil aspects of regional and national identity, and how they relate with each other across history and geography. The sessions should reflect this endeavour, for example, through the following themes and case studies:

1.    Film and theatre in Japan. Case study: the geidomono genre (films on the lives of theatre actors): Kenji Mizoguchi’s Story of the Late Chrysanthemums (1939) and Yasujiro Ozu’s Floating Weeds (1954),

2.    Opera and Neo-realism – the case of Ossessione (Luchino Visconti, 1943).

3.    Tropicalism and anthropophagy in Brazilian Cinema – from the colonialist and modernist literatures to film. Case studies: How Tasty Was my Little Frenchman (Nelson Pereira dos Santos, 1970); Macunaíma (Joaquim Pedro de Andreade, 1969).

4.    Intermedial History-Telling: the case of Mysteries of Lisbon (Raúl Ruiz, 2010).

5.    Non-cinema and the reality of film. Case study: Jafar Panahi’s ‘banned’ trilogy: This Is Not a Film (2011), Closed Curtain (2013) and Taxi (2015).

6.    National history and the life-long film. The production and reproduction of music in the Heimat series (Edgar Reitz).

Some of the topics above could be divided in two or more sessions.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Within the two-hour class, a range of teaching styles will be used and may vary from week to week. Where appropriate, lectures will be used to establish contexts and introduce issues for discussion and debate. The dominant teaching form will be the seminar, which will concentrate primarily on close analysis of films, including film clips and powerpoint slides, and discussion of critical approaches. Seminars will require preparation in the form of weekly screenings and specified critical reading. Short, non-assessed presentations by groups of students will be made in response to pre-set questions. Attendance to external screenings and/or excursions to film festivals and the like are bound to take place, in which case these are announced before the start of the course and cost implications clearly laid out for the students to plan their budget in advance.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 18
Supervised time in studio/workshop 32
External visits 10
Guided independent study 140
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Other information on summative assessment:

Students submit two assignments, one in the Spring term and one in the Summer term, amounting to a total of 6,000 words or equivalent.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:

    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Re-submission of failed coursework

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 31 March 2017

    Things to do now