Identities in World Cinema
Identities in World Cinema 2023-24
School Of Arts, Culture And Language
Module - Semester 1
This module will focus on international cinema and in particular the importance of non-Hollywood cinemas. On this module, you will study five films from five different countries and all of these will have English subtitles.
Despite the films being from different places and by different directors, this module will focus on several key themes. The films will provide you with a variety of visions of questions concerning identity, history and memory. Rather than merely focusing on the films' place within the cinematic output of a single country, this module will instead examine the works' place within a range of national and transnational contexts in an age of globalisation.
This module brings together films from a range of different countries that will help students to gain a more detailed understanding of identity, history, and memory in non-Hollywood cinemas. It will focus on films from countries whose languages are taught in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, but all of the main films will be available with English subtitles.
By studying this module, students will gain an understanding of the place of key films within a variety of national and transnational contexts. This will enable them to explore a range of different film cultures, directors, and films.
The module will begin with an introductory lecture that will focus on cinema's relationship with history, and questions concerning identity and memory. It will then have five thematic blocks each lasting two weeks, and will conclude with a session in which students do their assessed presentations.
The thematic blocks will be based around topics such as the following:
National identity, history and memory in Spanish cinema. Key focus: Victor Erice's 1973 film El espíritu de la colmena (The Spirit of the Beehive). This is a key film in the history of Spanish cinema and a prime example of auteur cinema in Spain.
Diversity and identity in French cinema. Key focus; Jacques Martineau and Olivier Ducastel's 2000 film Drôle de Félix (The Adventures of Felix). This film focuses on a protagonist who is of North African descent, gay, and HIV positive who embarks on a journey across France in search of his father.
German unification and film. Key focus: Christoph Schlingensief's 1990 film The German Chainshaw Massacre. This film will introduce students to a leading experimental German filmmaker, and a key part of a trilogy of films he made about key events in German history and society.
Cinematic representations of the Chinese family. This will introduce students to key Chinese directors and their depictions of family, identity, and diversity. Key film(s) likely to be chosen from the following list: You and Me (2005), A Touch of Sin (2013), Wolf Warrior (2015) .
Identity nation and history in Italian cinema. This section of the module will introduce students to how italian cinema has explored questions of identity, history and memory. Key film(s) to be confirmed.
Assessment (each assignment will focus on a different topic from the module)
- Individual Presentation (40%): Individual presentation in which students will be required to provide close analysis of several individual scenes from one of the main films studied. Presentation will last 10 minutes and be followed by 5 minutes of responding to questions from the examiner(s). 2 Essay (60%): 2500-word essay. Students will criticailly assess the broader cinematic and socio-cultural importance of one of the main films studied. ***Students must focus on a different film for each assessment.
Threshold (D- to D+) In order to merit the award of credit, students should demonstrate a basic comprehension of the position, content and technique of the films studied, succeeding in giving a rudimentary analysis of their stylistic approach.
Good (C- to B+) Students attaining the higher grades in this course will not only have understood the artistic aims and affiliations of these film makers, but will begin to explore the concepts that link them, re-evaluating traditional critical judgements of their works, forming their own conclusions as they pay close attention to the material.
Excellent (A- to A+) Students attaining the highest grades in this course will have produced innovative readings of both the films and the artistic contexts studied. They will have supplemented set works with intelligently chosen additional primary or secondary material and demonstrated a high level of engagement with both the ideas and style of the films studied."
- Analyse film and film culture in a range of non-Hollywood contexts.
- Assess the significance of key films made in countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and China, both in cinematic and broader socio-cultural terms.
- Identify ways in which cinematic techniques, plot and themes interact in key films in order to contribute to their overall meaning.
- Situate and explain how specific scenes in key films contribute to the films' overal depiction of matters concering identity, history and memory.
2500-word essay. Students will criticailly assess the broader cinematic and socio-cultural importance of one of the main films studied. ***Students must not focus on the same film as for the presentation. Deadline will be near the end of the semester, to be finalised when days on which classes are to be scheduled are confirmed.
Individual presentation in which students will be required to provide close analysis of several individual scenes from one of the main films studied. Students must focus on a different film for their individual presentation and the assessed essay.