Cinema is arguably the most important and influential cultural phenomenon of the last 120 years. It is not just entertainment but a reflection on the myriad diverse wonders of story-telling, social observation and comment in a world that has been transformed by a swathe of new technologies in the last century and more. How and why has film become so important over a relatively short period? Is it because it is both a passive and an immersive medium – occupying multiple senses over an extended time for billions of us, providing time capsules of escape from the realities of real life? If not escape then, an opportunity for action, for reflection, for inspiration, for change? Or is the extraordinary success of the moving image more to do with our love of stories and how we are able to absorb them. It is stories that help us make sense of who we are and where we fit in the world and film in all its forms and manifestations has become the default conduit for narrative in the modern world. For anyone who is curious and passionate about cinema, this course will provide a foundation for ongoing interpretation and critical analysis and a route map to explore the endless range and influences that film has brought to bear as a truly global art-form. In many ways we are naturally students of film culture because we all have opinions about what is good and bad in film. We know what we like and don’t like and why and we have an awareness of cinematic conventions that is a result of film being a constant and ubiquitous presence in our daily lives. Film culture is a vast subject and this course is intended to offer a way into understanding the subject through the culture of film. By this we mean its role and influence across borders and to us directly as individuals. Film is both a way of seeing and a way of showing. Over its brief history the perspectives of our understanding and how we view the world, the issues and ways of watching have changed radically through its evolution which is ongoing.
The aims of this course are to:
- A1 Develop your awareness of a range of global cinematic genres and the social and political context of cinema.
- A2 Encourage you to think critically about cinema auteurs and genres, and articulate your own perspective on them.
- A3 Develop research methodologies and distil good practice in the way you present and organise your research and resources.
- A4 Introduce you to cinema trends and themes to relate to your own interests, and encourage you to write critically on film culture.
On successful completion of the course you will be able to:
- LO1 Describe a range of cinematic genres from the start of cinema to the present day, and demonstrate knowledge of historical and political perspectives, themes and issues in cinema movements globally.
- LO2 Demonstrate knowledge of current film culture trends and debates and analyse at least one film auteur or culture/genre that is new to you.
- LO3 Conduct directed and self-directed research and demonstrate clear organisation of your research and learning resources.
- LO4 Discuss current trends and themes in relation to your own interests and present coherently written points-of-view on a range of subjects within film culture.
- The emergence of cinema as popular culture and the role of the auteur;
- The development of cinema as a social and political force, national cinematic movements and their conceptual approaches to film-making;
- Conventions within filmmaking and the impact of technology;
- Blurring boundaries – distinctions between fact and fiction, drama and documentary cinema, and their contribution to our way of seeing the world;
- Cinematic influences across borders, and the significance of film language;
- The power and influence of Hollywood and American cultural values, and the culture of celebrity as a global phenomenon.
Unit Leader for An Introduction to Film Culture
“My interest and work in photography covers a broad area but is increasingly focusing on curation and designing educational projects. Since 2011 I’ve been the photographer in residence at Bank Street Arts in Sheffield, a role that allows me to explore the connections between my own photography and the work that I curate…”
Read the rest of Andrew’s profile here