FF:FAVz078 On music and film - Course Information
FAVz078 On music and filmFaculty of Arts
- Extent and Intensity
- 2/0/0. 5 credit(s). Type of Completion: zk (examination).
- Phil Powrie (lecturer), Mgr. Šárka Gmiterková, Ph.D. (deputy)
Mgr. Šimon Fiala (assistant)
Petra Hašková, DiS. (assistant)
Mgr. Kateřina Šardická (assistant)
Mgr. Kateřina Váchová (assistant)
Mgr. Bc. Pavla Wernerová (assistant)
- Guaranteed by
- Mgr. Šárka Gmiterková, Ph.D.
Department of Film Studies and Audiovisual Culture - Faculty of Arts
Contact Person: Mgr. Šárka Gmiterková, Ph.D.
Supplier department: Department of Film Studies and Audiovisual Culture - Faculty of Arts
- Tue 1. 10. 12:00–15:50 C34, Thu 3. 10. 14:00–17:50 C34, Fri 4. 10. 12:00–15:50 C34
- There are none.
- 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 69 student(s).
Current registration and enrolment status: enrolled: 42/69, only registered: 0/69, only registered with preference (fields directly associated with the programme): 0/69
- fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
- there are 18 fields of study the course is directly associated with, display
- Course objectives
- This course will present students various ways of thinking about cinema and music. Individual lectures will explore mise en scène and the use of space, the popular genre of the film musical, stardom and the concept of the crystal-song. These topics will be introduced mostly through case studies of French films, therefore will provide students with useful methodological concepts for projects analysing the interconnected areas of film and music.
- Learning outcomes
- The students will be able to:
- define and apply the concept of the crystal-song in various national cinemas
- explore under researched areas of French Cinema
- discuss and compare various ways of using mise en scène, space and musical performance
- Lecture 1. From heterotopia to metatopia: staging Carmen’s death
- This lecture focuses on mise en scène and the use of space, exploring the way the death of the heroine of Mérimée’s novella and Bizet’s opéra-comique is staged in a selection of the 80 or so film adaptations of Carmen. A majority of the films construct the death scene as a ritual performance where the location is transformed into an enclosed stage, especially when the rest of the film has been relatively realist in its use of locations. Using work by Foucault and Michel de Certeau, I will argue that the reason for this staging is to provide a segregated ritual space, which retrospectively legitimises the narrative as a performance of excessive sexualities, while also paradoxically containing that excess by staging it as a performance. I will advance the hypothesis that the figure of Carmen manages to escape the constraining ritual space of execution by what I call ‘metatopia’. There will be extracts from a wide range of Carmen adaptations.
- Lecture 2. Gendered space and music
- This lecture begins with some basic background, first to contemporary French cinema, then to ‘heritage’ cinema (film patrimonial). It then explores the relationship between music and gender in the French heritage film. It shows how otherwise strong women protagonists are constrained by three procedures: disparaging references to music; the loss of the character-supporting leitmotif; the absence of music cued in by women protagonists. I demonstrate that there is little difference between films directed by men and films directed by women. The films considered in detail may include: Camille Claudel (1988), Le Colonel Chabert (1994), Le Hussard sur le toit (1995), Artemisia (1997), Les Enfants du siècle (1999), Saint-Cyr (2000), Lady Chatterley (2006), La Princesse de Montpensier (2010), Thérèse Desqueyroux (2012), La Religieuse (2013).
- Lecture 3. The French film musical in the 1930s and 1940s
- This lecture (together with Lecture 4) explores the popular genre of the film musical, which has generally been ignored by mainstream academic work until very recently. I will begin with a brief overview of the genre, and then in this lecture focus on two manifestations of it. The early 1930s saw the rapid development of the film musical across Hollywood, French and German cinema, amongst other national cinemas. Partly because of the political conditions of the period, with the emigration of many Germans working in the film industry to France and/or the USA, there was considerable interpenetration of film styles across national cinemas. Siodmak’s La Crise est finie (1934) was an attempt to delineate a French musical, but was roundly criticised by reviewers and spectators for being no more than a pale imitation of Gold Diggers of 1933. This lecture will show how the film combines Busby Berkeley routines and German Expressionist styles with a uniquely French approach, which was under-appreciated at the time. It will focus in particular on the finale, which in both iconography and lyrics can be seen as a parody of American materialism. In the third section of the lecture I will focus on the Big Band films of the 1940s and 1950s, particularly those of Ray Ventura, which echo the swing and big-band films of Hollywood, but which have a distinctively French flavour, given their links with French vaudeville and music hall traditions. I outline the codes of the genre in their French context, with a particular emphasis on the interaction between narrative and musical numbers, and show how the films demonstrate a tension between the old and the new, the romantic couple and the community, and between France and the USA. Finally, I focus on a single case study, the best-selling French film of 1950, Nous irons à Paris.
- Lecture 4. The crooner films of Tino Rossi and Luis Mariano
- Tino Rossi and Luis Mariano were the two most high-profile ‘crooners’ of the post-war period, their films regularly achieving 3-5 million spectators in France. Mariano’s Andalousie was the best-selling French film of 1951; his Violettes impériales the second best-selling film of 1952. Perhaps because these films appealed mainly to female spectators, the genre has been routinely ignored by French cinema historians and theorists. This lecture will cover three areas, the first two contextual and historical, the third more theoretical: an overview of the genre, placing it in the context of its fan culture; the films’ characteristic narrative structures; issues of male embodiment, with an emphasis on costume and voice.
- Lecture 5. The crystal-song in contemporary French cinema
- The last two lectures will focus on a concept that I have recently developed, that of the ‘crystal-song’. Its signature, as explained in my book on French cinema, is that it crystallizes turning points in a film, often creating a ‘frisson’ in the audience. It does not illustrate or echo what we see; rather, it articulates a privileged musical moment of intense affect whose intensity depends on the performance of the body in time. It functions in a similar way to Deleuze’s crystal-image in that it is less a pause or interlude than a crystallization of temporalities, an intervention that brings together past, present and future, often in an epiphanic moment. Put at its most basic, the crystal-song is the piece that stands out from the others by a combination of intensity and critical insistence. In this lecture I shall give examples of the crystal-song in a range of contemporary French films: L’ Amour dure trois ans (2012), Amour et turbulences (2013), Une nouvelle amie (2014), Bande de filles (2014) and On voulait tout casser (2015).
- Lecture 6. The crystal-song in five American films from 2016-2018
- This lecture will propose a toolkit for the identification of crystal-songs in films. I develop the taxonomy of the crystal-song I outlined in my book, this time using musical moments in five recent US films. The first is a diegetically performed piano piece from a genre I do not consider in my book, the musical La La Land (Damian Chazelle, 2016); I am concerned here to show that the musical moment is not always the spectacular performance that can be found in film musicals. The second is the diegetically performed song that gives its title to the film (American Honey, Andrea Arnold, 2016 and Beautiful Boy, Felix Van Groeningen, 2018), an aspect which I was unable to consider in my book. The third and the fourth explore references in the dialogue to the music we hear. This aspect is briefly covered in my book, but not comprehensively in relation to the crystal-song. The two musical moments are the diegetic song that is referred to by the characters but not performed by them (Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig, 2017); and finally, non-diegetic songs in a film where performed music is constantly present and talked about (Call Me by your Name, Luca Guadagnino, 2017). The musical moments I examine in this lecture, I contend, have a critical and focal function, shaping audience affects and the perception of the narrative.
- required literature
- • Phil Powrie, ‘The French musical: swing and big bands in the cinema of the 40s and 50s’, Screen (2013), 54(2): 1-23.
- • Phil Powrie, Music in Contemporary French Cinema: The Crystal-Song. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.
- • Phil Powrie, ‘From heterotopia to metatopia: staging Carmen’s death’, in French Literature on Screen, edited by Homer B. Pettey and R. Barton Palmer. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2019
- recommended literature
- • Tina Lent, ‘"My heart belongs to daddy": the fictionalization of baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi in contemporary film and novels’, Literature/Film Quarterly (2006), 34 (3), 212-218.
- • Joan Lynch, ‘Camille Claudel: biography constructed as melodrama’, Literature/Film Quarterly (1998), 26 (2), 117-123.
- • Richard Dyer, ‘Entertainment and utopia’  in Richard Dyer, Only Entertainment (London: Routledge, 2002), 19-35. Available here: https://vdocuments.mx/richard-dyer-entertainment-and-utopia.html.
- • Gwénaëlle Le Gras, ‘Major stars, the heritage film, and patrimonial values in contemporary French cinema’, in A Companion to Contemporary French Cinema, edited by Alistair Fox, Michel Marie, Raphaëlle Moine and Hilary Radner (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwel
- • Susan Felleman, ‘Dirty pictures, mud lust, and abject desire: myths of origin and the cinematic object’, Film Quarterly (2001), 55 (1), 27-40. [On Artemisia and Camille Claudel]
- • Levilson C. Reis, “Goodbye, “temporary” transvestites – hello, new girlfriend! Ozon’s transgenre and transgender crossovers in Une nouvelle amie (2014)’, Studies in French Cinema, 17 November 2018, 1-25.
- • Belén Vidal, ‘Feminist historiographies and the woman artist's biopic: the case of Artemisia’, Screen (2007), 48 (1), 69-90
- • Isabelle McNeill, ‘“Shine Bright Like a Diamond”: music, performance and digitextuality in Céline Sciamma’s Bande de filles (2014)’, Studies in French Cinema (2018), 18 (4): 326-340.
- • James Chapman, ‘A short history of the big band musical’, in Film’s Musical Moments, edited by Ian Conrich and Estella Tincknell (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006), 28-41. Available here: https://authorzilla.com/DYp3E/film-39-s-musical-momen
- • Jeffrey H. Jackson, ‘Making jazz French: the reception of jazz music in Paris, 1927-1934’, French Historical Studies (2002), 25 (1), 149-170.
- • Phil Powrie, Bruce Babington, Ann Davies and Chris Perriam, Carmen on Film: A Cultural History (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007).
- • Hilary Radner, ‘The historical film and contemporary French cinema: representing the past in the present’, in A Companion to Contemporary French Cinema, edited by Alistair Fox, Michel Marie, Raphaëlle Moine and Hilary Radner (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwel
- Teaching methods
- The course consists of six lectures. Students are obliged to read the items on the reading list marked as required - these will be provided in the student materials - and familiarise themselves with the suggested titles as a way of preparation for the course. The 100% attendance at the lectures is compulsory and will be checked throughout every lecture.
Tuesday 1. 10.
12:00-12:30: preliminary test
12:30-14:15: Lecture 1
14:30-16:00: Lecture 2
Thursday 3. 10.
14:00-15:45: Lecture 3
16:00-17:50: Lecture 4
Friday 4. 10.
12:00-13:45: Lecture 5
14:00-15:50: Lecture 6
- Assessment methods
- Apart from the compulsory attendance students will have to pass two test. First test is preliminary and it will take place just before the start of the first lecture. With two questions, the test will check the knowledge of the required items from the reading list for the first three lesson. The other test is final, consisting of three questions testing both students' acquaintance with the reading list as well as their knowledge and skills gained throughout the course itself. Ten points maximum can be gathered from both of the test; five points are the necessary minimum in order to pass the course successfully.
- Language of instruction
- Further comments (probably available only in Czech)
- Study Materials
The course can also be completed outside the examination period.
The course is taught only once.
General note: Obligatory 100% attendance (with the exception of distance students who are allowed to miss 2 out of 6 sessions).
- Teacher's information
- Phil Powrie is professor of Cinema studies at the University of Surrey, where he was executive dean of the Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences in 2010-2015. He has published a number of books, mainly on French cinema: French Cinema in the 1980s: Nostalgia and the Crisis of Masculinity (1997), Contemporary French Cinema: Continuity and Difference (ed., 1999), Jean-Jacques Beineix (2001), French Cinema: An Introduction (2002), The Trouble with Men: Masculinities in European and Hollywood Cinema (ed., 2004), The Cinema of France (ed., 2006), Changing Tunes: The Use of Pre-Existing Movies in Film (ed., 2006), The Films of Luc Besson: Master of Spectacle (ed., 2006), Carmen on Film: A Cultural History (2007), Composing for the Screen in Germany and the USSR: Cultural Politics and Propaganda (ed., 2008), Pierre Batcheff and Stardom in 1920s French Cinema (2009), French Cinema (ed., 4 volumes, 2008). His latest book is entitled Music in Contemporary French Cinema: The Crystal Song (Palgrave-Macmillan 2017). He is the chief general editor of Studies in French Cinema and Chair of the British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies.
PLEASE NOTE, that for any questions or queries regarding the course (scheduling, exam dates, evaluation) contact Dr. Šárka Gmiterková - firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Enrolment Statistics (recent)
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