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MCH2001 : Film Theory for Practice 2: Why Cinema?

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Raisa Sidenova
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module builds on Film Theory for Practice 1: What is Cinema? which examines seminal writings film which establish cinematic specificity and its relationship to other art forms. In Film Theory for Practice 2: Why is Cinema? students will engage with post-1950s developments in film theory. Drawing on a range of theoretical approaches to film such as structuralism and semiotics, sociology and Marxism, psychoanalysis and feminism, the module will explore the political and cultural impact of cinema from the 1950s to the present day.

The module will pay particular attention to the impact of digital technologies on thinking about film and its place in arts and society. As Film Theory for Practice 1, this module will focus not only on important theoretical texts but also on writings of filmmakers-theorists from around the world.

1.       To provide students with a critical survey of the principal authors, concepts, and films from the 1960s to the present.
2.       To provide students with an insight into the aesthetic debates (and their relationship to broader politics and ideologies) of the period in context
3.       To provide students with an understanding of social forces and functions of cinema as a mass art in the era of the mobile screens.
4.       To facilitate students to be able to write in a scholarly way about film, the cinema and society, in order to address the key question, Why Cinema?

Outline Of Syllabus

Major theoretical approaches to film, such as structuralism, semiotics, Marxism, psychoanalysis, feminism, post-colonialism.

Major filmmakers and cinematic movements, such as visual anthropology, observational documentary, national traditions from around the world.
Digital turn and its impact on film production, aesthetics, and political functions.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion160:0060:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture122:0024:00Theoretical frameworks, concepts and debates
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading154:0054:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyProject work138:0038:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops122:0024:00Student led interrogations and discussion of theories
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This module will be delivered through a combination of lectures and student-led workshops / seminars
that set out and test key theories and concepts. 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

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Presentation102A20In class presentation
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A502000 word essay
Written exercise2A301200 word class assessment
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay2M1000 word essay to be submitted March
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 in class assessment as well as through the writing of a scholarly 2000 word essay.

They will be expected to draw on a range of film theorists and movements (fiction and documentary) in order to demonstrate their knowledge and critical understanding of different and divergent critiques of film theory, the cinema and society.

Reading Lists