Practical Film Criticism
Run by School of Arts, Culture and Language
20.000 Credits or 10.000 ECTS Credits
Organiser: Dr Gregory Frame
Overall aims and purpose
This module will explore the history of Film Criticism through a focus on its key practitioners. It will consider film criticism’s evolution from the trade press, through newspapers, popular magazines to the blogosphere, as well as academic film journals and magazines. It will focus on canonical pieces of film writing and journalism in relation to a series of films and/or genres to demonstrate the development of the form, its importance to film’s position in popular visual culture, and the significance of certain critics in the birth and growth of Film Studies as an academic discipline. This module equips students with the knowledge and understanding of Film Criticism that they will then apply to their own work, producing a portfolio of critical reviews written/produced in the style/s of particular publications.
Examination of the film criticism of some of the following: Pauline Kael, Andrew Sarris, James Agee, Andre Bazin, Manny Farber, James Baldwin, Andrew Britton, Robin Wood, V.F. Perkins, Paul Schrader, Francois Truffaut, Sergei Eisenstein, Jean-Luc Godard, Philip French, David Thomson, Richard Corliss, Jonathan Rosenbaum, J Hoberman, AO Scott, Manohla Dargis, Susan Sontag, Girish Shambu, Robert Warshow.
Very Good (B- to B+) Submitted work is competent throughout and distinguished by superior style, approach and choice of supporting materials. It demonstrates: - Very good structure and logically developed arguments - Draws on material that has been sourced and assessed as a result of independent study, or in a way unique to the student - Assertions are backed by evidence and sound reasoning - Accuracy and presentation in an appropriate academic style
Threshold (D- to D+) Submitted work is adequate and shows an acceptable level of competence as follows: - Generally accurate but with omissions and errors - Assertions are made without clear supporting evidence or reasoning - Has structure but is lacking in clarity and therefore relies on the reader to make links and assumptions - Draws on a relatively narrow range of material
Excellent (A- to A*) Submitted work is of an outstanding quality and excellent in one or more of the following ways: - Has originality of exposition with the student’s own thinking being readily apparent - Provides clear evidence of extensive and relevant independent study - Arguments are laid down with clarity and provide the reader with successive stages of consideration to reach conclusions
C- to C+
Good (C- to C+) Submitted work is competent throughout and occasionally distinguished by superior style, approach and choice of supporting materials. It demonstrates: - Good structure and logically developed arguments - At least in parts draws on material that has been sourced and assessed as a result of independent study, or in a way unique to the student - Assertions are, in the main, backed by evidence and reasoning - Accuracy and presentation in an appropriate academic style
You will be able to conduct close textual analysis of films in relation to specific critical approaches and perspectives.
You will be able to appraise the differences in tone, register and intention of Film Criticism written for different audiences.
You will be able to interrogate and evaluate pieces of Film Criticism, both orally and in writing.
You will be able to adapt your writing/presentational style to specific requirements and for particular audiences.
You will be able to evaluate the history and development of Film Criticism.
|LOGBOOK OR PORTFOLIO||Portfolio of Reviews||
Portfolio (2500 words): 5 critical reviews (500 words each or practical equivalent) produced for the following types of publication: broadsheet newspaper, popular film magazine, academic film journal, online blog, trade publication, podcast, video blog.
|LOGBOOK OR PORTFOLIO||Weekly reflective journal||
Each week, you should write 200 words based your learning for that week. This can take the form of:
• An evaluation/summary of a piece of film criticism you have read in preparation for your workshop on Friday afternoon. What argument is it putting forward? Based on its style and approach, who is the target audience? Does it attempt to challenge critical consensus and, if so, how? What does it suggest is significant about the film, films, filmmakers and/or genres it is talking about and why? Based on your own reading and viewing, do you agree with the assessment?
• A critical assessment of the film we have watched in class (Weeks 1-5), or one recommended you view in your own time for your practical workshops (Weeks 7-11). Remember these key principles of film criticism: opinion, description, contextualisation, analysis.
Whether it is a critical assessment of a film or piece of film criticism you are doing, you should ask yourself what you have learned from it, and how you might apply it to your own practice.
At the end of the module, you will have submitted 10 short, reflective pieces. These should be submitted to the module’s Blackboard page to the link entitled ‘Reflective journal’ in the folder of each week’s learning (available under ‘Classes’). You must submit these BEFORE your workshop on Friday afternoon, so we can discuss your work in class.
Teaching and Learning Strategy
Screening of a film in relation to a piece (or pieces) of film criticism (first five weeks of semester)
10 2-hour workshops throughout the semester.
In the first half of the semester, these will focus on the history and development of film criticism in relation to particular forms and styles, and its key practitioners, in conjunction with discussion of the week's screening.
In the second half of the semester, students will take what they have learned in the first half of the semester and, with close guidance, develop their own portfolios of film criticism.
Students are required to read and view widely on this module, both in preparation for lectures, screenings and seminars, and in the research and preparation for their assessments. The private study time should be spent doing this, with guidance and advice available from tutors.
- Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
- Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
- Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
- Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
- Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
- Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
- Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
- Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
- Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
Subject specific skills
- An understanding of creative and critical processes, and of the wide range of skills inherent in creative writing. (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.1).
- Knowledge of a wide range of canonical English texts, providing a confident understanding of literary traditions as well as the confidence to experiment and challenge conventions when writing creatively. (English Benchmark Statement 3.1).
- An awareness of writing and publishing contexts, opportunities and audiences in the wider world (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.1).
- Artistic engagement and ability to articulate complex ideas in oral and written forms. (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2).
- Ability to connect creative and critical ideas between and among forms, techniques and types of creative and critical praxis. (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2; English Benchmark Statement 3.2).
- Awareness of how different social and cultural contexts affect the nature of language and meaning (English Benchmark Statement 3.2).
- The ability to synthesize information from various sources, choosing and applying appropriate concepts and methods (English Benchmark Statement 3.3).
- Ability to formulate and solve problems, anticipate and accommodate change, and work within contexts of ambiguity, uncertainty and unfamiliarity (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2; English Benchmark Statement 3.3).
- Ability to engage in processes of drafting and redrafting texts to achieve clarity of expression and an appropriate style. (English Benchmark Statement 3.3; NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2).
- Ability to gather information, analyse, interpret and discuss different viewpoints (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2; English Benchmark Statement 3.3).
- Information technology (IT) skills broadly understood and the ability to access, work with and evaluate electronic resources (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2; English Benchmark Statement 3.3).
- Intellectual skills shared with other disciplines – research and exploration, reasoning and logic, understanding, critical judgement, assimilation and application
- Skills of communication and interaction – oral and written communication, public presentation, team-working and collaboration, awareness of professional protocols, sensitivity, ICT skills, etc.
- Skills of personal management – self-motivation, self-critical awareness, independence, entrepreneurship and employment skills, time management and reliability, organisation, etc.
Resource implications for students
Talis Reading listhttp://readinglists.bangor.ac.uk/modules/uxs-2068.html
The reading list will be drawn as far as possible from material Bangor already has, although some newer books may need to be purchased.