FAVz038 Film Style and Aesthetics: Theories, Methods, Analysis

Faculty of Arts
Spring 2013
Extent and Intensity
2/0/0. 5 credit(s). Type of Completion: zk (examination).
Warren Buckland (lecturer)
Mgr. Radomír D. Kokeš, Ph.D. (assistant)
Mgr. Michal Večeřa, Ph.D. (assistant)
Mgr. Šimon Bauer (assistant)
Mgr. Luděk Havel, Ph.D. (assistant)
Guaranteed by
doc. Mgr. Petr Szczepanik, Ph.D.
Department of Film Studies and Audiovisual Culture - Faculty of Arts
Contact Person: doc. Mgr. Petr Szczepanik, Ph.D.
Supplier department: Department of Film Studies and Audiovisual Culture - Faculty of Arts
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is also offered to the students of the fields other than those the course is directly associated with.
The capacity limit for the course is 120 student(s).
Current registration and enrolment status: enrolled: 1/120, only registered: 0/120, only registered with preference (fields directly associated with the programme): 0/120
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
there are 46 fields of study the course is directly associated with, display
Course objectives
At the end of the course students should be able to: understand and explain selected questions of history and theory of film style.
  • A ‘methodological theory’, in Francesco Casetti’s definition, studies a particular aspect of cinema using criteria from one theoretical perspective. Each methodological theory generates a specific type of knowledge while excluding other perspectives. In this series of lectures and seminars, I plan to outline a series of methodological theories film studies scholars have developed over the previous 40 years, highlighting the specific type of knowledge each generates about film. These include: theories of film style; textual analysis; narratology; auteur analysis; and film poetics, with a focus on Hollywood style, European style, Ozu’s late style, and the recent films of David Lynch.
  • Lectures will cover the following topics and films:
  • • Style, Narrative, and Narration in Hollywood (Lonedale Operator, The Big Sleep, Jurassic Park, The Lost World)
  • • Narration and Focalisation in European cinema (Alice in the Cities, Wings of Desire)
  • • Poetics of Film Editing and Lighting (The Trial, An Autumn Afternoon, Return of the Secaucus 7, Notorious)
  • • Wes Anderson as auteur These will be supplemented with two seminars, devoted to: • David Lynch’s puzzle films (especially Mulholland Dr. and Inland Empire).
  • Preparatory Readings
  • 1. Warren Buckland Directed by Steven Spielberg: Poetics of the Contemporary Hollywood Blockbuster
(Continuum, 2006), chapter 2.
  • 2.Barry Salt ‘The Shape of 1999’, in Moving into Pictures: More on Film History, Style, and Analysis (London: Starword, 2006): 330-43.
  • 3. Thomas Elsaesser ‘Film as System’, in The Persistence of Hollywood (New York: Routledge, 2012): 105-26.
  • Exam
  • 1. Thomas Elsaesser and Warren Buckland, ‘Film Theory, Methods, Analysis’, in Studying Contemporary American Film: A Guide to Movie Analysis (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2002): 1-25.
  • 2. David Bordwell, ‘The Way Movies Look: The Significance of Stylistic History’, On the History of Film Style (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997): 1-12.
  • 3. Kristin Thompson and David Bordwell, ‘Space and Narrative in the Films of Ozu’, Screen, 17, 2 (1976): 41-73.
  • The plan of individual lectures:
  • 1. Editing in John Sayles's The Return of the Secaucus 7
  • 2. Narration in Jurassic Park
  • 3. Film as a System
  • 4. Wes Anderson as Auteur
  • 5. Narrative Analysis of Mulholland Dr.
  • 6. Seminar on Inland Empire
  • BORDWELL, David. On the history of film style. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997. x, 322. ISBN 0674634292. info
  • BORDWELL, David, Janet STAIGER and Kristin THOMPSON. The classical Hollywood cinema : film style & mode of production to 1960. New York: Columbia University Press, 1985. xv, 506. ISBN 0231060556. info
Teaching methods
Assessment methods
written test
Language of instruction
Further comments (probably available only in Czech)
Study Materials
Information on completion of the course: Full time students: 100% presence at the lectures is required. Distance students: two absences are tolerated.
The course is taught only once.
The course is taught: in blocks.
General note: Kurz probíhá v rámci projektu č. CZ.1.07/2.2.00/28.0044 Inovace uměnovědných studijních oborů na Filozofické fakultě MU, který je spolufinancován Evropským sociálním fondem a státním rozpočtem České republiky. Viz. www.phil.muni.cz/music/opvk.

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