FT1IFI-Introduction to Film

Module Provider: Film, Theatre and TV
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Level:4
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Pre-requisites:
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Adam O'Brien

Email: adam.obrien@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
What is film? How do films make meaning? How have filmmakers developed the medium into an art form? These questions form the basis of this module, which is designed to provide an introduction to the critical and historical study of film form and style. It introduces students to the ways in which meaning is produced and interpreted in cinema, using a specific period of mainstream film production as a detailed case study. Students then apply their analytical, interpretive and research skills to the study of two aesthetically, culturally and historically significant moments in cinema history: the emergence of cinema at the end of the nineteenth century, and the development of modernist cinema practice in Europe of the 1920s.

Aims:
This module aims to familiarise students with a range of critical and interpretative tools for the close analysis of film texts; to enhance their understanding of the ways that meaning is produced and organised in films; to enable them to recognise mainstream cinematic conventions, and to describe them in appropriate terms; to enable them to recognise departures from mainstream convention, and to understand these systematically, and describe them in appropriate terms; to extend their understanding of the specificities of film texts.?It further aims to enable students: to apply these critical practices to late nineteenth century and early twentieth century film texts; to examine the historical and cultural contexts in which these texts were produced; and to develop an understanding of the significance of Modernism in European culture.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:
• demonstrate skills of close analysis appropriate to film study;
• demonstrate through close analysis an understanding of the ways in which meaning is produced in films;
• use their knowledge of central conventions of film in order to make informed judgements and to develop clearly argued interpretations;
• articulate in written work a critical understanding of the cultural, historical and critical development of early and silent cinema;
• relate the emergence of film as artistic practice to its cultural and historical context;
• recognise the ways in which early twentieth century film responded critically to differing modernist contexts and practices.

Additional outcomes:
The module plays a significant role in the continuing development of other skills and competencies which are central to the course. It is expected that the level of skills and competencies achieved in the following will be appropriate to the level of study: oral communication and argument in group situations; deployment of research using printed and electronic resources; critical analysis and coherent argument; undertaking self-directed, independent work; presentation of written work using IT; identifying and addressing problems in the analysis of film and theatre.

Outline content:
The first part of the module is concerned with methods for critical analysis of film. It provides an introduction to methods of textual and performance analysis in film. Working with extracts, feature films and short films, the module develops approaches to the close analysis of film style. The module introduces a critical vocabulary for film analysis.??The second part of the module provides an introduction to early twentieth century film and explores a period of intense innovation in film form and style, and addresses some of the problems of historical and contextual study, introducing students to the emergence of cinema as a new medium and a new industry developing out of nineteenth century technologies and cultural forms. Through a series of case studies, the module examines the development of Modernist experimentation in cinema.

Global context:
The module examines a number of case studies from world cinema from the end of the nineteenth century to the present, charting international developments in film style, including different countries' responses to modernism.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
This module employs a wide variety of teaching and learning methods: lectures, seminars, exams, essays of different lengths, set readings, assessed presentations, one-to-one tutorials, screenings, and field trips.?There is a charge for theatre trips. These are compulsory and will take place throughout the module as a necessary part of the teaching. The majority of these trips will take place in London, but trips in the past have involved visits to Oxford and Bristol.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 9 9
Seminars 9 9
Supervised time in studio/workshop 18 18
External visits 3 3
Guided independent study 61 61
       
Total hours by term 100.00 100.00
       
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 50
Oral assessment and presentation 50

Other information on summative assessment:
Students complete two coursework assignments of 2,000 words each or equivalent and an examination. One assignment may be in the form of a presentation, possibly including accompanying documentation.

Formative assessment methods:
Formative Assessment Methods - work which provides opportunities to improve performance (e.g. through feedback provided) but which does not necessarily always contribute towards the overall module mark:

Students will undertake one formative learning activity in the Autumn Term designed to develop their skills of argument and critical thinking.

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:
    Resubmission of failed coursework.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 July 2017

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