Module Identifier TF20320  
Academic Year 2006/2007  
Co-ordinator Dr Mikel Koven  
Semester Semester 1  
Pre-Requisite TF10220  
Course delivery Lecture   20 Hours. 10 x 2 hour  
  Seminars / Tutorials   5 Hours. 5 x 1 hour  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment 2000 word essay   
Semester Assessment 3000 word essay For information on due dates for submission of assessed work, please refer to the departmental web pages at  
Supplementary Assessment Resit will be by submission of failed component (essay) to a fresh topic 

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
1) Identify representations of cultural identity in films,
2)) Analyse specific instances of the portrayal of cultural identity in films
3) Relate these instances to other elements of the films
4) Work with the theories and concepts of cultural identity in studying film
5) Have an understanding of how issues of cultural identity are dealt with by audiences


The aims of the module are:


This module introduces students to studying film in relation to the key concept of cultural identity. 'Cultural Identity' refers to the ways in which films are linked to, and comment on, the cultural background they come from. As such, it views films as 'representations' of reality. The first two lectures will be devoted to sketching the concept of cultural identity theoretically, and relate it to "Koyaanisqatsi" (Reggio, 1983) and" Powaqqatsi" (Reggio, 1987).

The next 8 lectures will tackle a particlar film culture in relation to its regional background. Two lectures will discuss Welsh cinema, by contrasting "How Green Was My Valley" (Ford, 1941), a stereotypical, Hollywood representation of Welshness, with "Dal: Yma/Nawr (Still: Here/Now)" (Evans, 2003), a contemporary tale of Wales. Focusing on differneces between "Old' and 'New Wales' we will study how particular perspectives can lead to different representations. The next two lectures and seminars address French and Belgian film, and its relation to Francophone culture. We will explore representations of childhood in the films of the French New Wave through "L'Enfant Sauvage" (Truffaut, 1970) and in Belgian cinema in "Rosetta" (Dardenne brothers, 1999) asking to what extent they (and their reputations) can inform particular views of Belgian/French communities and family relations.

The next two lectures and seminar deal with British cinema. We will discuss how British film culture appraoches both foreign and indigenous film, (using "Peeping Tom" (Powell, 1959) as an example), and we will take a closer look at how Thatcherism influences British filmmaking in the 1980s (using "Made in Britain" (Clarke, 1982) as an example). Broadening our view across the Atlantic the last two lectures and one seminar will study Canadian film culture, with particular attention to representations of identity in the art-house film, using "Last Night" (McKellar, 1999) as an example, and in Canadian popular and genre cinema, using "Ginger Snaps" (Fawcett, 2000), and its sequels as example.

Through these different cultural backgrounds and perspectives the module aims to point at the diversity (and importance) of studying films as representations of culture, and to understand the dynamic relationship films have with (and beyond) their culture).

Indicative Sessions

Examples of topics for lectures and seminars would be:

Cultural Identity and Film Studies
Orientalism: Cultural Identity of 'the other'
Welsh Cinema and 'the old Wales'
Welsh Cinema and 'Cool Cymru'
French Cinema, Truffaut and the representation of children and family
Belgian Cinema, 'Community', and 'Family'
British National Film Culture Institutions: Criticism and Censorship
British Cinema and Thatcherism
Canadian Cinema: Identity in art cinema
Candadian Cinema: Identity and gender in popular and genre cinema

Additional topics might include:

Dutch Cinema and hedonism
Francophone cinema and social relations
French classical cinema, realism and Renoir
French contemporary cinema and nihilism
Cultural Identity and National Cinema Theories
Cultural Identity and Film Policy
Balkan Cinema and the 1990s conflicts
Hong Kong cinema and representations of masculinity

Brief description

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
Acland, Charles ((1997).) Popular Film in Canada: Revisiting the Absent Audience; in David Taras & Beverly Rasporich (eds). A Passion for Identity. . Toronto: ITP Nelson, 281-296
Bauman, Zygmunt ((1996)) From Pilgrim to Tourist , or a Short History of Identity-In Stuart Hall & Paul Du Gay (eds). Questions of Cultural Identity. London: Sage. P. 18-36
Hall, Stuart ((1996).) Who Needs Identity?; in S. Hall & P. Du Gay (eds.). Questions of Cultural Identity. London: Sage
Hessels, Wouter ((2004)) "Rosetta", in E. Mathijs (ed.). The Cinema of the Low Countries. London: Wallflower Press.
Higson, Andrew. ((1989)) "The Concept of National Cinema". Screen Volume 30 Issue 4, 36-46
Hill, J, s, 1999 (1999) British Cinema in the 1980s, (particularly chapters 1-3) Oxford: Oxford University Pres
Holmes, Diana & Robert Ingram ((1998).) Francois Truffaut. Manchester University Press.
Insdorf, Annette . ((1995).) Francois Truffaut Cambridge UP.
Leach, Jim ((1995)) North of Pittsburgh: Genre and National Cinema from a Canadian Perspective¿ in Barry Keith Grant ed. Film Genre II. Austin: U of Texas P, 474-493
Mathijs, Ernest ((2004).) "Cinema in the Low Countries and the Question of Cultural Identity", in Mathijs, E. (ed). The Cinema of the Low Countries. London: Wallflower Press
Mazierska, Ewa & Rascaroli, Laura (eds.) ((2003)) From Moscow to Madrid: Postmodern Cities, European Cinema London: I.B. Tauris
McArthur, Colin, Hill, John, McLoone, Martin & Hainsworth, Paul (eds) ((1994)) The Cultural Necessity of a Poor Celtic Cinema¿ , Border Crossing: Film in Ireland, Britain and Europe Queens University Antrim: I.I.S. & B.F.I.
McDonald, Scott . ((1993)) "Godfrey Reggio: Powaqqatsi"; in his book Avant-Garde Film. Cambridge University Press. P. 137-146
McDonald, Scott . ((1992)) Interview with Godfrey Reggio in his book A Critical Cinema 2 University of California Press.
Morris, N. ((1998)) Projecting Wales in Planet 126, December-January p.27
Nielsen, Bianca ((2004).) Something's Wrong, Like More than You Being Female: Transgressive Sexuality and Discourses of Reproduction in Ginger Snaps¿; in thirdspace 3 (2), 55-69
Orr, J, ¿ ( (2000) The Art of National Identity: Peter Greenaway and Derek Jarman¿, in Higson and Ashby, eds, British Cinema: Past and Present London and New York: Routledge,
Petley, Julian Ed. Charles Barr. (1986) The Lost Continent, All Our Yesterdays: 90 Years of British Cinema. 98-119. London: British Film Institute
Petley, Julian. ¿. Ed. Steve Chibnall and Julian Petley. A Crude Sort of Entertainment for a Crude Sort of Audience : The British Critics and Horror Cinema British Horror Cinema. London: Routledge, 2002. 23-41.
Quart, L, (1993) The Religion of the Market: Thatcherite Politics and the British Film of the 1980s in Friedman, ed., British Cinema and Thatcherism, London: UCL Press,
Richards, Jeffrey ((1997)) Films and British national identity Manchester: Manchester UP
Ross, Matt ((2004).) Starting Out National; in Kinoeye.
Said, Edward ((1978).) Orientalism. First two chapters. Penguin.
Spaas, Lieve ((1999).) Francophone Cinema: A Struggle for Identity. Manchester University Press.
Straw, Will ((1998).) Canadian Cinema in John Hill and Pamela Church Gibson eds. The Oxford Guide to Film Studies. Oxford: Oxford UP, 523-526
Weedon, Chris (2004) Identity and Culture Open University Press P.1-21
Woodward, Kathryn . ((1997)) Concepts of Identity and Difference�; in her book Identity and Difference. Open University Press/Sage. P. 13-35.
Yacowar, Maurice ((1986-1987)) The Canadian as Ethnic Minority. Film Quarterly 40.2: 13-19


This module is at CQFW Level 5