Skip to main content

Module

MCH2000 : Film Theory for Practice 1: What is cinema?

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Raisa Sidenova
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

Film Theory for Practice I will offer an overview of major film theories and explore the relationship between theory and practice. By presenting the debates around cinema from its birth to the 1950s, this module will allow for a serious engagement with form and creativity that will develop the practice.

Film theory encompasses questions about film’s relationship to reality and the world, to style and technique and to politics and ideology. This module will chart out the history of ideas concerning cinema as well as discuss historical context of various film movements and film manifestos from around the world. Particular attention will be paid to filmmaker-theorists who triggered a new theoretical take or exemplified a theoretical stance. Addressing André Bazin’s foundational question “What is Cinema,” this module will introduce students to such topics as formalism, realism and early documentary film theory.


Aims:
1. To provide students with a critical survey of the principal authors, concepts, and films within the
classical period of film theory from the late 19th century to the 1950s.
2. To provide students with an insight into the aesthetic debates (and their relationship to broader
political ideologies) of the period.
3. To provide students with an understanding of social forces and functions of cinema as an industry and a form of mass art.
4. To facilitate students to be able to write in a scholarly way about film, the cinema and society.

Outline Of Syllabus

Themes covered can include:
Early film history and theory
Development of film from technology to art
Formalism and realism
Filmmakers as theorists
Philosophers, critics and film theorists

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials94:0036:00Historical & theoretical frameworks, concepts & debates. 9 2hr lectures, each equating to 4hrs deliv
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion142:0042:00Undertaking assessment, summative and formative, including reading and drafting.
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities122:0022:00Guided critical reading activities and writing exercises
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading128:0028:00Independent and self-directed research (reading and watching)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00Present-in-person Student-led seminars
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities154:0054:00Reading and watching in preparation for small group teaching
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time91:009:00Online Student-led seminars
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Following the ERF, this module will be delivered through a combination of online lectures and student-led workshops / seminars delivered both online and in person. The combination of illustrated lectures to give a structure and context for learning, and reading-based discussion in seminars will enable students to have both the breadth and depth of understanding.

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A502500 word essay
Written exercise1A501500 word written assessment
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay1M1000 word essay draft
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The rationale for the assessments is to enable the students to demonstrate their intellectual grasp of film theory and key concepts through weekly written exercises (totalling 1500 words over the semester) as well as through the writing of a 2500 word scholarly essay. They will be expected to draw on a range of film theorists and movements in order to demonstrate their knowledge and critical understanding of different and divergent critiques of film theory, the cinema and society.

Reading Lists

Timetable