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Module UXS-2068:
Practical Film Criticism

Module Facts

Run by School of Music and Performance

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

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.

Course content

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.

Assessment Criteria

good

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

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

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

Learning outcomes

  1. You will be able to conduct close textual analysis of films in relation to specific critical approaches and perspectives.

  2. You will be able to appraise the differences in tone, register and intention of Film Criticism written for different audiences.

  3. You will be able to interrogate and evaluate pieces of Film Criticism, both orally and in writing.

  4. You will be able to evaluate the history and development of Film Criticism.

  5. You will be able to adapt your writing/presentational style to specific requirements and for particular audiences.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
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.

70
ESSAY Short essay

Short essay or practical equivalent (1500 words or practical equivalent): Provide a critical analysis of a contemporary film in the style of a critic studied on the module. The critic cannot have written about the film themselves. You can submit this assessment as prose, or in the form of a podcast (audio or video). If you choose to submit as a podcast, you should not require any technology or software more complex than that available freely through Bangor University computers.

30

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Lecture

Five one-hour lectures in the first half of the semester that introduce students to the history of Film Criticism through a focus on its most prominent practitioners.

5
Seminar

The seminar accompanying the lecture will allow students the opportunity to deconstruct and analyse pieces of film criticism in relation to the film they have seen.

5
Private study

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.

170
 

Screening of a film in relation to a piece (or pieces) of film criticism.

10
Workshop

5 2-hour workshops in the second half of the semester in which 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.

10

Transferable skills

  • 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.

Resources

Resource implications for students

None

Talis Reading list

http://readinglists.bangor.ac.uk/modules/uxs-2068.html

Reading list

The reading list will be drawn as far as possible from material Bangor already has, although some newer books may need to be purchased.

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: