Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Case Studies in Contemporary Art Cinema
Academic Year
Semester 2
Successful completion of Part 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 10 x 2 Hour Lectures
Viewing 10 x 3 Hour Viewings


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay 1 (2500 words)  50%
Semester Assessment Essay 2 (2500 words)  50%
Supplementary Assessment Essay 1 (2500 words)  50%
Supplementary Assessment Essay 2 (2500 words)  50%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Understand and critically engage with discourses on the concept of 'art cinema'.

2. Understand the economic and institutional factors involved in production of non-mainstream narrative cinema.

3. Make critical use of theoretical concepts such as the 'time-image' and 'cinema of poetry'.

4. Identify and contextualise particular stylistic devices associated with art cinema.

Brief description

This module introduces students to a popular area of non-mainstream film production, commonly (but not unproblematically) referred to as 'art house cinema'. Students will first be made aware of art cinema as a contested concept, and the debates surrounding its employment in designating a heterogeneous body of works from around the globe. The economic and institutional factors involved in the emergence of art cinema will be a continual point of reference. The module aims to build a gradual understanding of various unconventional approaches to style, narrative and characterisation, where the cause and effect model of conventional cinema is rejected through a privileging of ambiguity, time, space, place and memory. Students will thus be encouraged to consider this area of film production as a frequently inward-looking, contemplative cinema, but also as a cinema of transgression, provocation and excess, dealing with themes such as poverty, race, gender, sex and violence in brutal and uncomprising ways. Consequently, the module will also deal with the critical reception of these works and the controversy surrounding them. Students will also be asked to test various theoretical concepts, notably Giles Deleuze's 'time-image' and Andrey Tarkovsky's 'sculpting in time', which will provide a central focus of the module. The module will cover the topic not from the usual chroological perspective of canonical works, directors and movements, but through a number of case studies of key themes and concerns that help to frame and conceptualise this area. As such, key historical figures and films will be placed alongside emerging contemporary filmmakers in order to provide a more holistic understanding of the development of art cinema. Films from a wide range of European, Asian and North African countries will be discussed such as Austria, Sweden, Greece, China and Tunisia, taking into account specific national and transnational contexts.


Course delivery:

10 x 2 hour lecture/seminars
10 x 3 hour viewings

Lectures and seminars will centre on five interrelated themes and corresponding theories, using one historical and one contemporary film to illustrate different approaches to this theme. The screenings will include films from a range of countries, with a different national cinema being represented each week. A range of directors and national cinemas will be discussed in the lectures.

What defines art cinema? Some perspectives on time, duration and spatial representation, beginning with Gilles Deleuze's concept of the 'time' image and Andrey Tarkovsky's notion of 'sculpting in time'.

1. Solaris (Andrey Tarkovsky, 1972, Russia)
2. Eternity and a Day (Theo Angelopoulos, 1998, Greece)

Following on from the previous two sessions, this part of the module will ask students to reflect on the way representations of national identity are inseparable from representations of time and space - the subject as situated in, and unable to escape, history.

3. The Silences of the Palace (Moufida Tlatli, 1994, Tunisia)

4. Still Life (Jia Zhangke, 2006, China)

Here we will consider different representations of social realism and working class contexts, from the British 'kitchen sink' dramas to the emerging trend towards grotesque representations of poverty and abjection.

5. Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (Karel Reisz, 1960, Britain)

6. Dog Days (Ulrich Seidl, 2001, Austria)

These two sessions will look at the legacy of Surrealism from two different perspectives: feminist and minimalist.

7. Daisies (Very Chytilova, 1966, Czech Rep)

8. Songs From the Second Floor (Roy Andersson, 2000, Sweden)

The final part of the module focuses on the development of what has been termed 'Extreme Cinema' because of its uncomprising depiction of sex and violence.

9. Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom (Pier Paolo Passolini, 1975, Italy) TBC

10. Romance (Catherine Breillat, 1999, France)

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
Communication * Students' written communication skills will be developed (e.g. appropriate language and style, accuracy, precision and ability to be concise). * Opportunities will be given, through seminar sessions, for students to develop confidence in using their speaking and listening skills when communicating their ideas.
Improving own Learning and Performance * Students will be able to develop their skills of information location and retrieval. * Students will be given opportunities to develop effective note-taking skills. * Students will develop their critical thinking skills. * Through group discussion, students will be given opportunities to develop an awareness of the opinions of others and reconsider their initial ideas if necessary.
Information Technology * Students will be given the opportunity to develop their authorial and note-taking skills when planning and preparing for the written assignment and will be encouraged to develop their note-taking skills in lectures. * Students will be given opportunities to develop their skills in searching for relevant reading and other materials (such as film reviews), through the University's Voyager Library Catalogue, the University electronic journal resource, Joey, and through the newspaper database, Lexis-Nexis. * E-mail and Blackboard will remain the main forms of communication and information sharing in this module, so students will be encoraged to actively engage in these processes.
Personal Development and Career planning * Students will be given the opportunity to evaluate current knowledge and skills and set targets for self-improvement. * Students will be encouraged to take increasing responsibility for making their own learning. * 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 through the module).
Problem solving Students should be able to identify tensions and debates in the field and will be encouraged to reflect critically on the process by which academics arrive at particular theoretical interpretations of particular films.
Research skills * Students will be able to develop their skills of information location and retrieval (in particular through the first assessment where they are required to locate one academic piece of writing on their chosen film and then summarise its argument). * Students will be able to develop their textual analytic skills and to learn to analyse texts in a focused and purposeful manner.
Subject Specific Skills See Subject Benchmark Statement for Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies 2008.
Team work All seminar sessions will involve group work where students will be able to collaborate through discussion and then feed back their ideas to the seminar group as a whole.


This module is at CQFW Level 5