Aspects of Film Theory (Aug-Dec 2008)

Lectures every Thursday at 1 pm


14th August
Introduction: Why study films? Early beginnings of film.

21st August
Overview of history of film up to 1950’s

28th August
Class will be in the Mediacom Studio – Faculty of Agriculture Building Phase 2 – 2nd floor.
We will view Georges Méliès’ film ‘Le Voyage dans la Lune’ and the documentary about the history of film editing ‘The Cutting Edge’.
Lecture notes
Overview of Hollywood cinema with pictures
Overview of Hollywood cinema (without pictures)

11th September
The play ‘Baraz’ will be staged at noon in the Raised Plaza (see last post on the blog). All are encouraged to attend. I will myself be there and may thus need to start the lecture later, i.e., at around 1.30 p.m.
Film Production and Anatomy of film

Additional online resources
About film directing:

About the grammar of film and TV (from Daniel Chandler):

About cutting and editing:

18th September
No lecture as per Ministry of Education instructions following torrential rains warning.

25th September
The ‘auteur’ theory

Additional online resources

2nd October
The Semiotic Approach to Film Studies
Extracts from Semiotics, The Basics by Daniel Chandler

Additional online resources

9th October
Lecture will be in the Mediacom Studio. We will view the documentary ‘The Cutting Edge’ once again.

In the last session, we discussed the possibility of making very short films during the semester. The idea is that teams of 4-5 students will work on a short film (5-10 mins) that uses a particular directorial style (e.g. Hitchcock, Eisenstein, Kubrick, Tarantino, Godard, etc.) or genre of film making (Bollywood, film noir, gore, teen, gangster, western, etc.). The theme will be seemingly trivial keyword(s) that will allow you some freedom of imagination (like for example ‘Coffee and Cigarettes’, Jim Jarmusch’s film). We need to determine those keyword(s). Please bring along your ideas and suggestions in class for discussion.

Lecture notes:
Psychoanalytical approach to film studies

Additional online resources
Psychoanalysis and Film by Daniel Kluge

Psychoanalysis and Film Theory Part 1: ‘A New Kind of Mirror’ by Paula Murphy
Laura Mulvey against the grain: a critical assessment of the psychoanalytic feminist approach to film by Terje Steinulfsson Skjerdal
Psychoanalysis, Film, and Television by Sandy Flitterman-Lewis

15th October
We will meet in the studio at 12.30 to view again the sequence from Snatch (Guy Ritchie’s movie) that you will have to analyse. The assignment is to be submitted on Thursday 23rd October.

About the short film to be made: it was decided that the theme/keyword would be ‘Money’. Please brainstorm within your team about the story you want to shoot and the directorial style or genre of film making you wish to adopt. Please bring your write-up for the film in class on Thursday 16th October.

16th October
I have not yet received any confirmation that the electric problem has been sorted out in the studio. We will thus meet in the normal classroom and have the lecture on the psychoanalytic approach to film studies. Then, if the studio is working, we will move to watch the sequence from Snatch again.
Do not forget to bring your write-up for the short film.

Regarding the assignment about the Snatch sequence, here are some of the elements I would especially wish you to focus on (non-exhaustive):
– the sequencing
– the storyline
– the acting and action
– the language
– the symbolism of certain key features/elements
– the editing
– the musical score
– etc.

23rd October
Class will be in the Mediacom Studio so that we can view the sequence from Snatch once again. Isaie, please do not forget to bring the film. The assignment is now due on the 30th October. No further extension will be granted.

All teams should bring their screenplay and work plan for the short feature film. They will be asked to provide explanations about the directorial style or genre of movie making they have chosen.
We will need to determine a schedule for shooting. You should all aim to finish shooting by the 6th November (i.e. in 2 weeks time) in order to start editing. In parallel, you should prepare a report on the work that you are doing in which you will
– document the directorial style or genre you have chosen (what are its particularities, stylistic features that are distinctive, departure from norms if any, worldview and thematics, etc.)
– explain how you borrowed the style or genre and applied to your own film
– document particularities of your movie that you might have developed during the scripting, filming or editing stages
– etc.

I will also show you how to use the cameras in class. Try to plan shooting on campus only afap to avoid moving cameras out of campus. I hope you have already done your internal casting and planned for any accessories you may need. Please do not wait until shooting day to look for people or things. We will not be able to afford any postponing on this assignment.

Lecture for tomorrow:
Cinema as an industry
Articles about local cinema attendance. Latest article from L’express-dimanche
An overview of some cinema schools

30th October
Reminder: Assignment 1 is due (analysis of sequence from Snatch)
We meet in the Mediacom Studio.
We will have a quick lecture on: Exhibition of films.
Then, teams who are ready to shoot will be given the equipment for filming. Please do not forget to bring all material you may need for your sequences and plan in advance the shots you need.
Teams who have not yet finalised everything are expected to wrap up preparations and start shooting ASAP.
A series of handouts were circulated in class. These include copies of articles from Les Cahiers du Cinéma about some current film industry issues in France (exhibition, number of copies, etc.) and a book chapter about psychoanalysis and film.

6th November
Today’s session is cancelled. I have to attend a funeral.
I should normally be free on Friday and Monday if any team wants to shoot. Please let me know.

13th November
Shooting sessions.

20th November
Editing in the Mediacom Studio. If some team members can come early (as from 9.30 a.m.), it would be good. Editing typically takes a lot of time and we are only left with 2 sessions (including tomorrow).
Also, do not forget about the report/portfolio that needs to be submitted by end of November.

We have only two more sessions left. Please try to come on other week days to complete your shootings and start editing the films.

Here are the marks for continuous assessment.

Good luck for exams!

Some interesting videos online
The Modern Times (Charlie Chaplin) trailer
The Man with the Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov)


3 thoughts on “Aspects of Film Theory (Aug-Dec 2008)

  1. Hi ma’m,

    Just wanted to inquire about the assignment of “Snatch” scene analysis.. is it due for tomorrow? or u gave extension for next thursday? Am a bit confused with responses i got pertaining to this.. so i better confirm with you to be on the safe side 🙂

    Thx in adv.


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