programme

Understanding Cinema An introduction

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation ElectiveSUS1EN2554

Semester and Year Offered: 6th Semester

Course Coordinator and Team: Diamond Oberoi Vahali

Email of course coordinator: diamond@aud.ac.in

Pre-requisites: Basic interest in cinema

Course Objectives/Description: Aim:

This course is especially designed to introduce students to the discipline of Film Studies. The course will revolve around basic questions regarding: what is cinema and how is cinema different from other art forms. The course will analyse selected clips and will undertake detailed discussions regarding the use of specific techniques by the directors. It will introduce students to some of the significant pioneers in the field of cinema, movements in cinema, a few cinematic forms as well as to the specificities of cinema as a language.

Objectives: The objective of the course is to inculcate the basics of film appreciation in the students, and the ability to analyse cinema. It is to help students understand the special tools required to understand the ‘double language’ of cinema. It is also to facilitate the understanding that cinema is an extremely significant art form as well as an ideological apparatus. Therefore the aim is to create the course participants into alert spectators who can develop the ability to question the power of the cinematic apparatus.

Course Outcomes:

  1. Students opting for the course will develop the ability and the skills to read and analyse cinema will learn to appreciate cinema as a discipline which is as significant as any other discipline.
  2. They will understand a few techniques related to film making as well as the ideological implications of cinema.
  3. They will develop critical abilities related to spectatorship.
  4. They will acquire the skill to develop a screenplay as one of the assessments of the course is related to writing a screenplay
  5. They will also be acquainted with film history and basic film techniques and theories.

 

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

Module 1: Origins of Cinema

This module will begin with a brief history of the origins of cinema. It will introduce the pioneers in the field of Cinema: Lumiere Brothers, Georges Melies, Edwin S. Porter, D. W. Griffith, G. D. Palke, Robert Flaherty, Charlie Chaplin, Alan Crosland, Sergei Eisenstein. Selected shots from films of the pioneers will be screened in this section.

Module II:Film Language: Key concepts: This module will discuss the evolution of the language of cinema. It will discuss debates around significant principles of film language such as the Soviet Montage (editing), Deep Focus (camera), Mise-en-scene (staging shots), 180-degree rule, Eyeline matching, Lighting, Close-up, Sound, Music and Jump cut. It will also discuss key cinematic concepts such as Spectatorship, Suture, Scopophilia, Voyeurism, the cinematic apparatus and counter-cinema.To illustrate the above stated: Clips from several filmswill be screened in this section.

Module III: Movements in Cinema: This module will focus on some of the movements in cinema such as German Expressionism, Surrealism, Italian neo-realism, French New Wave Cinema/Nouvelle Vague, Indian New Wave Cinema, New German Cinema, Cinema Nova, Third Cinema and new cinema from Iran. It will also focus on the concept of the auteur in cinema. Clips from these filmswill be screened in this section.

Module IV: Forms in Cinema: Musical, Melodrama, Film Noir, Horror Movies, Westerns, Science Fiction, The Classic Hollywood Cinema, Gangster/Criminal/ Detective Thriller.

Assessment Details with weights:

S. No.

Assessment

Period in which the assessment will take place

Weightage

1

Class Participation

Throughout the semester

20%

 

Group presentation on significant movements in cinema or on specific film forms.

Mid semester

20%

2

Class test

End semester

30%

 

3

 

Developing a detailed Screenplay

 

End semester

30%

 

Reading List:

 

  • Chris Dashiell, “The Oldest Movies”. Web. 28 March. 2012. <http://www.cinescene.com/dash/lumiere.html>
  • Dwyer, Rachel and Divia Patel. “Indian Cinema: Origins and Beginnings”. Cinema India: The Visual Culture of Hindi Films. London : Reaktion ; New Brunswick, N.J. : Rutgers University Press, 2002.
  • Kracauer, Siegfried. “Basic Concepts” in Theory of Film: The Redemption of Physical Reality. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 1997.
  • Balzacs, Bela. “The Close-Up”, in Gerald Mast, Marshall Cohen & Leo Braudy Eds. Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings, New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992.
  • Bazin, Andre. “The Evolution of the Language of Cinema.” What is Cinema Vol.1, Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California press: 1967.
  • Eisenstein, Pudovkin and Alexandrov. “Statemet on Sound”. Braudy and Cohen (ed). Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings. New York: Oxford University Press. 2004.
  • Eisenstein, Sergei. “A Dialectic Approach to Film Form” in Film Form: Essays in Film Theory, Edited and Translated by Jay Leyda, San Diego, New York, London: A harvest/Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers: 1977.
  • Mulvey, Laura. “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”. Film and Theory: An Anthology, Robert Stam Toby Miller, (ed.) Blaeckwell Pubishers, Oxford, 2000.
  • Selections from: Hayward, Susan. Key Concepts in Cinema Studies. London and New York: Routledge, 2004.
  • Graham, (ed). “The New Wave”, first published in Ecran Francais, No. 144, 1948, 17-23.
  • Simona Monticelli, “Italian Post war Cinema and Neo Realism”. John Hill and Pamela Church Gibson, (eds). Oxford Guide to Film Studies. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press: 1998.
  • Selections from: Hayward, Susan. Key concepts in Cinema Studies. London and New York: Routledge, 2004.
  • Solanas, F. and Getino,O. “Towards a Third Cinema”. Chanan, M. (ed). Twenty Five Years of the New Latin American Cinema, London, British Film Institute publishing. 1983.
  • Willman, Paul and Pines, Jim., (eds). Questions of Third Cinema. London: British Film Institute, 1989.
  • A. Freeland, Cynthia. “Feminist Frameworks for Horror Films”. Braudy and Cohen (ed). Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings. New York: Oxford University Press. 2004.
  • Gledhill, C. (ed) Home is Where the Heart Is: Studies in Melodrama and the Women’s Film, London, British Institute Publishing. 1987.
  • Schartz, Thomas. “Film Genre and the Genre Film”. Braudy and Cohen (ed). Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings. New York: Oxford University Press. 2004.
  • Selections from: Hayward, Susan. Key concepts in Cinema Studies. London and New York: Routledge, 2004.
  • Thompson, Kristin. The Classical Hollywood Cinema: Film Style and Mode of Production to 1960. London: Routledge, 1985.
  • Warshow, Robert. “Movie Chronicle: The Westerner”. Braudy and Cohen (ed). Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings. New York: Oxford University Press. 2004.

 

ADDITIONAL REFERENCE:

  • Burch, Noel. Theory of Film Practice. New York: Braeger, 1973.
  • David Bordwell, “Classical Hollywood Cinema: Narrational Principles and Procedures”. Philip Rosen (ed). Narrative, Apparatus, Ideology. New York: Columbia University Press, 1986.
  • Dyer, R. White. London and New York: Routledge, 1997.
  • Eisenstein, Sergei. “Beyond the Shot (The Cinematographic Principle and the Ideogram)”. The Film Form. Harcourt: Brace & World, 1949.
  • Eisenstein, Sergei. “Methods of Montage” in Film Form: Essays in Film Theory, Edited and Translated by Jay Leyda, San Diego, New York, London: A harvest/Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers: 1977.
  • Ghatak, Ritwik. “Sound in Cinema”. Cinema and I. Calcutta: Ritwik Memorial Trust, 1989.
  • Heath, Stephen. "Notes on Suture." Screen. Vol. 18, No. 4 (Winter 1977), 48-76.
  • Kuntzel, J. "The Treatement of Ideology in the Textual Analysis of Film." Screen. Vol. 14, No. 3 (Autumn, 1973).
  • Metz, Christian. Film Language. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976.
  • Bazin, Andre. "De la politique des auteurs." Cahiers du Cinema, No. 70 (April 57), 2-11.
  • Coates, P. The Gorgon’s Gaze: German Cinema, Expressionism and the Image of Horror. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 1991.
  • Corporation, National Films Division. “The Indian New Wave and Beyond 1969-95”. Indian Cinema: A Visual Voyage. 1998.
  • Ponzanesi, Sandra and Marguerite Waller. Ed. Postcolonial Cinema Studies. London and New York: Routledge, 2012.
  • Ray, Satyajit. Our Films Their Films. New Delhi: Orient Longman, 1976.
  • Sarris, Andrew. Interviews with Film Directors. New york: Avon, 1967.
  • Benjamin, Walter, and J. A. Underwood. “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. London: Penguin, 2008.
  • Bresson, Robert. Notes on the Cinematographer. London: Quaret, 1986.
  • Deleuze, Gilles. Cinema 1: The Movement Image. Athlone Press: London, 1986.
  • ---. Cinema 2: Time Image. London: Athlone Press, 1989.
  • Hutcheon, Linda. A Theory of Adaptation. New York: Routledge, 2012.
  • Ryan, Michael and Melissa Lenos. Film Analysis: Technique and Meaning in Narrative Film. New York, London: 2012.
  • Wollen, Peter. Readings & Writings: Semiotic Counter Strategies. London: Verso Publishing, 1982.
  • ---. Signs and Meaning in the Cinema. Blumington: Indiana Univ. Press, 1972.
  • Vasudevan, Ravi. Making Meaning in Indian Cinema. Oxford University Press: 2000.