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Unit information: Film History to 1960 in 2018/19

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Unit name Film History to 1960
Unit code FATV20011
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Alex Clayton
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Film and Television
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

In this unit students are introduced to the history of film up to 1960. Topics may include, but are not limited to: the ‘invention’ of cinema, early cinema, the rise of film narrative, European and American silent film, the arrival of sound, Hollywood and European film from 1930-1960, and Japanese cinema in the 1950s.

Unit aims:

  • To introduce students to key ways of approaching, debating and conceptualizing film’s historical changes between 1895 and 1960;
  • To develop skills in contextualising key films, movements, national cinemas, and genres;
  • To develop an understanding of how the medium of film changed through technologies, national and industrial contexts, artistic innovations, and popular reception;
  • To develop skills in researching, analyzing, debating and discussing film within historical frameworks;
  • To develop communication skills in writing and oral presentation.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

1. demonstrate knowledge of historical changes in film and television from 1960 to the present in relation to changing genres, aesthetic traditions and forms;

2. locate specific film and television forms and genres within historical contexts;

3. engage critically with the social, cultural and institutional histories that have shaped – and continue to shape – film and television;

4. consider histories of film and television in national, international and global contexts;

5. engage critically with how film and television can be understood within broader concepts and contexts of culture;

6. identify and analyse the ways in which film and television, and their attendant technologies, make possible different kinds of aesthetic effects and forms;

7. evaluate and draw upon a range of sources and historical frameworks appropriate to research;

8. produce work within a group, showing abilities to listen, contribute and lead effectively;

9. formulate appropriate research questions and employ appropriate methods and resources for exploring them.

Teaching Information

2-hour lecture/seminar, 3-hour weekly screening (with 15 minute introduction)

Assessment Information

1 x 15 min. illustrated group presentation (30%) ILO 1-4, 6-9

3500 word essay (70%) ILO 1-7, 9

Presentations will take place in seminar sessions. Group presentations will be awarded a single grade.

Reading and References

Davis, G., Dickinson, K., Patti, L. and Villarejo, A. (2015), Film Studies: A Global Introduction, London: Routledge

Maltby, R. and Craven, I. (1995) Hollywood Cinema, Oxford University Press.

Street, S (2009) British National Cinema, 2nd ed. London: Routledge.

Thompson, K and Bordwell, D (2003) Film History: An Introduction, Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Grieveson, L. and Krämer, P. (2004) The Silent Cinema Reader, London: Routledge. History of the American Cinema series.