Module Information

Module Identifier
FM32920
Module Title
Film Authorship
Academic Year
2015/2016
Co-ordinator
Semester
Semester 2
External Examiners
  • Dr Helen Wheatley (Associate Professor - University of Warwick)
 
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminar 11 x 1 Hour Seminars
Viewing 10 x 3 Hour Viewings
Lecture 10 x 1 Hour Lectures
 

Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Critical essay (2500 words)  50%
Semester Assessment Reception Analysis (2500 words)  50%
Supplementary Assessment Critical Essay (2500 words) - (to a new title)  50%
Supplementary Assessment Reception Analysis (2500 words) - (to a new title)  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate understanding of, and compare and evaluate, a range of theoretical approaches to film authorship.

2. Test theoretical claims about authorship through the analysis of relevant films.

3. Relate changing conceptions of the film author to a range of historical, cultural and industrial contexts.

4. Analyse and explore the changing reception of particular film directors.

Aims

The module 'Film Authorship' is designed to supplement the provision of Level 2 film studies modules in Year 3, by introducing students to a topic area that has a long tradition in academic film studies, which remains one of the most persistent and widespread ways in which movie-goers talk about and evaluate films, and which has served as one of the key ways in which critics have attempted to champion and defend cinema's status as a significant modern art-form. Currently, this topic is examined during Part 1 only and this module therefore aims to expand on the debates and issues covered at introductory level. The module is also designed to complement the critical, theoretical and historical approaches to film studies which are at the centre of a range of other film studies modules in the department through the alternative context of film authorship and its historical and critical circulation. It is designed to fit within the Third Year framework of Advanced Critical Approaches modules (20 credits), and, consequently, is designed to enable students to enhance their skills of critical evaluation of academic arguments and theories, and to also engage with historical methods within film studies.

Brief description

The module aims to introduce students to the different ways in which authorship has been conceived and approached within film (and television) studies, both theoretically and in relation to changing historical, cultural and institutional contexts. Consequently, the module serves, through a focus on debates around and research into film authorship, to further develop student engagement with theoretical traditions and approaches within film studies, and methods of historical research within film studies. The module aims to illustrate how changing approaches and methods within film studies have impacted on the conception of the film's authorship to their films and to cinema institutions more generally. Consequently, students will be encouraged to explore the ways in which film directors (and other perceived film authors) have been approached, at different times and in different contexts, as individuals and creative personalities, as a set of textual stuuctures, as critics of the Hollywood system, as a form of discourse or critical classification, and as a star, brand and marketing strategy. In order to facilitate this process, the module will move from a focus on key theoretical claims and debates about film authorship, to historical studies of film authors and their changing reputations, to a focus on the historical, technological and institutional contexts which have informed changing conceptions of the film author. In lectures and seminars, students will be encouraged to engage with these debates and approaches through a focus on key figures who have been approached and discussed, in different ways, as authors or auteurs (including Alfred Hitchcock, Doulas Sirk, Luchino Visconti, Werner Herzog, Terry Gilliam, Ed Wood, Stephen Spielberg and David Lynch). The two module assessments are designed to enable students to, firstly, engage in the critical evaluation of key theoretical debates around authorship, and, secondly, to conduct a small-scale piece of historical research focused on a film director of their choice.

Content

Lecture and seminar sessions will focus on the folowing topics:

1. Cahiers du Cinema and the Humanist Approach to Film Authorship

2. Hollywood, Ideological Criticism and Film Authorship

3. Authorship and Structuralist and Post-Structuralist Debates

4. Film Authorship, Film Canons and Historical Reception Studies

5. European Art Cinema and Authorship

6. The New Hollywood, the Movie Brats and Film Authorship

7. The Director as Reputation-Builder, Star and Brand

8. The Cult or Renegade Director

9. Television and Authorship

10. Authorship in the Age of DVD

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
Communication Students' written communication skills will be developed over the two pieces of assessed work that they produce. They will be encouraged to produce arguments about the subject, using appropriate language and style and through structuring their argument and writing effectively. Students will develop their oral communication skills through seminar sessions which will encourage both individual contributions and group discussion, and, in some cases, will ask students to give brief presentations (in groups). Students will also be encouraged to answer and to ask questions in lectures.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will develop their critical thinking skills, and their ability to apply, evaluate and compare contrasting theoretical and critical perspectives and methods. Through small group discussions in seminars, studnets will be given opportunities to develop an awareness of the opinions of others and reconsider initial ideas if necessary, to apply and test theoretical claims and arguments, and to articulate and communicate their ideas.
Information Technology Students will be given opportunities to develop skills using elctronic search and retrieval of sources both on the web and on the AU LIS (including LexisNexis) in the research they undertake for seminar preparation and their assessed assignments. Students will develop thier research and referencing skills when analyzing, evaluating and referencing materials from the web and related sources, and will focus on the selection of materials appropriate to the task (seminar work and assessed work). E-mail and Blackboard will be the main forms of communication and information sharing in this module, so students will be encouraged to actively engage in these processes.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will be encouraged to take increasing responsibility for managing their own learning by preparing work independently for seminar sessions. Students will be encouraged to build upon the knowledge gained from lectures through developing skills in self study (supported by the general and specific reading lists and other resources distributed throughout the module). Students will be encouraged to develop their confidence in articulating and discussing their ideas (individually and in groups) in seminar sessions and lectures.
Problem solving Students should be able to identify and debates in the field. They will be encouraged to engage with, compare and evaluate existing critical thought and theory, and to identify and select the most appropriate material (academic reading, films and reception materials) to use in their assessed work.
Research skills Students will be given the opportunity to develop their research skills and apply and test the research methods necessary for their assignments within seminar provision. Students will be encouraged to evaluate, analyse, interpret and reflect upon a variety of primary sources that they will use in their assessed work and in seminars.
Subject Specific Skills Students will develop their film analysis skills, through an analysis of the styles and themes that characterize the films of specific film directors.
Team work All seminar sessions will enable students to work within a small group, and discuss and compare ideas. Furthermore, some of the required pre-seminar preparation will ask students to engage in particular preparation tasks in small groups.

Notes

This module is at CQFW Level 6