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Western University Film Studies Five-Minute Film Festival

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Course Offerings for 2013-2014



First Year course offerings

Theories of National Cinema (9373A) - Fall term (Burucua)
Required course
Mondays 10:30-1:30 uc 84
Wednesdays 11:30-1:30 uc 12

Throughout this course, students will become familiar with questions concerning ideas of nation, the national and the transnational, associated to film and the complex relationships between the medium, its history within different national contexts, the development of national and/or regional film industries,  different modes of production (industrial, cultural, “third cinema”) and various schemes of financing. By thinking about theories of nation in terms of the debates around them, readings of the ‘national’ as an organic, homogeneous and unitary entity will be troubled. Equally, the idea of a national identity, and its representation,  will be challenged and complemented by understandings of class, gender, race and sexuality. Films from different contexts of production will be analized as case studies and examined in the light of key essays written on those matters by leading scholars in the field.

download the course syllabus here

Far away, so close: the scales of far and near (9210A) - Fall term (Coates)
Elective course

Mondays 2:30-5:30 uc 12
Thursdays 4:30-6:30 uc 12

Film begins…with the long-shot of the Lumières; but also, in a sense, with the close-up Griffith wished to patent and Béla Balázs deemed foundational. Jean-Luc Godard voiced a characteristically paradoxical desire to make spectators feel distant even when close (importing the alienation effect into the close-up usually eschewed by cinematic Brechtians); Wim Wenders, however, described his angels as ‘far away, so close’ – as a reality, albeit an invisible super-reality, no mere desideratum. Bearing in mind the issues raised by the juxtaposition of these facts, this course will examine what is at stake in the camera’s, and the spectator’s, emotional and/or spatial closeness to or distance from the film. Among other things, it will consider such notions as those of alienation, identification and the haptic, and such techniques as those of the close-up, the zoom lens, and the telephoto lens, along with their use in various works – including ones by Godard and Wenders, as well as Charulata, The Conversation, Gilda and Images of the World and the Inscription of War, among others.

download the course syllabus here


Wartime Image Culture in Japan and its Territories (9211A) - Fall term (Raine)
Elective course

Tuesdays 10:30-1:30 uc 12
Thursdays 12:30-2:30 uc 12

This seminar explores the history and theory of cinema as part of a visual culture of "propaganda and agitation" during Japan's wars in Asia and the Pacific, 1937-1945. We will study  Japanese films as part of a global 1930s "illiberal modernism" while  also exploring more local sources, in prewar studio cinema, the documentary film movement, and the broader image culture of wartime Japan. Those ancillary media will include popular music, war painting, propaganda posters, photography, and advertising. We will also study how the medium was deployed in Japan's colonies (Taiwan and Korea), client states (Manchuria), and occupied territories (Eastern China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, the Philippines, etc.) during the war. All readings on the course are in English; no Japanese is required.

download the course syllabus here


Research Methods (9100B) - Winter term (Falkowksa)
Required course

Mondays 1:30-4:30 uc 12
Wednesdays 1:30-3:30 uc 12


This graduate seminar will provide a practical introduction to the research methods involved in the study of film, of its political and historical context, its reception in various countries and its theoretical interpretation dependent on the theoretical focus of the research person. Students will read theoretical works at the same time and bring this discussion to the classroom. These sessions should help them develop their ideas about their research devoted to the thesis which they will present in early-April.

During the first six weeks of the course, the instructor will share research methods, research content, writing and editing experience with the students. The instructor will also reiterate major analytical and historical methodologies in film studies in the context of his/her own research. After recapping older methodologies in film studies, the students will explore new trends in research methods involving archival research, industry and marketing research and reception research.

In the second part of the course  students will begin to develop their own research projects directly related to the thesis. Each student be repsonsible for programming a film and readings based on thier dissertation research and leading a seminar on these materials. Students  will also be responsibe for drafting a short segment of the thesis as a seminar paper which they will later develop into a thesis prospectus. The work on the latter will involve developing a bibliography and mapping out the thesis prospectus’ major ideas and research methods, that is, producing a  “cognitive map” of the entire thesis.

ownload the provisional course syllabus here

Film Theories, Criticisms, Histories (9200B) - Winter term (Falkowska)
Required course

Tuesdays 10:30-1:30 uc 12
Thursdays 12:30-2:30 uc 12


The course provides an overview of some of the major methods of analyzing film, focusing especially on some of the mid-to-late-twentieth century theoretical ideas that have shaped film studies as a discipline.  We will examine the distinct but sometimes intersecting approaches of film theory, criticism and history, concentrating in particular on some of the key concepts of film theory: cinema as a system of meaning-production; theories of realism and ideology; theories of the cinematic apparatus and the construction of vision; semiotics, psychoanalytic, and feminist film theories; theories of spectatorship and cinematic address; the historical turn; theories of globalization and post- coloniality.  Thus, the course shapes a meta-theoretical analysis of some of the key methods and ideas informing the history of film studies. 

We will meet twice each week, first for a screening and then for seminar.  The seminar will discuss the screened material and readings.  Each week organizes a larger set of questions and issues under keywords that have shaped film studies. Students will be evaluated on their constructive participation in discussions, a one-hour long presentation, a written proposal and a bibliography for a final research paper, and the final paper (20-25 pages).  You are encouraged to meet with me during office hours to discuss the final paper.  There are two required books for the course, Narrative, Apparatus, Ideology: A Film Theory Reader, edited by Philip Rosen and Reinventing Film Studies edited by Christine Gledhill and Linda Williams.  Lastly, the course website is at http://owl.uwo.ca.  Please log in for any additional material, updates and posts.

download the course syllabus here

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Second Year course offerings

Far away, so close: the scales of far and near (9210A) - Fall term (Coates)
Special Topics course

Mondays 2:30-5:30 uc 12
Thursdays 4:30-6:30 uc 12

Film begins…with the long-shot of the Lumières; but also, in a sense, with the close-up Griffith wished to patent and Béla Balázs deemed foundational. Jean-Luc Godard voiced a characteristically paradoxical desire to make spectators feel distant even when close (importing the alienation effect into the close-up usually eschewed by cinematic Brechtians); Wim Wenders, however, described his angels as ‘far away, so close’ – as a reality, albeit an invisible super-reality, no mere desideratum. Bearing in mind the issues raised by the juxtaposition of these facts, this course will examine what is at stake in the camera’s, and the spectator’s, emotional and/or spatial closeness to or distance from the film. Among other things, it will consider such notions as those of alienation, identification and the haptic, and such techniques as those of the close-up, the zoom lens, and the telephoto lens, along with their use in various works – including ones by Godard and Wenders, as well as Charulata, The Conversation, Gilda and Images of the World and the Inscription of War, among others.

download the course syllabus here


Wartime Image Culture in Japan and its Territories (9211A) - Fall term (Raine)
Special Topics course

Tuesdays 10:30-1:30 uc 12
Thursdays 12:30-2:30 uc 12

This seminar explores the history and theory of cinema as part of a visual culture of "propaganda and agitation" during Japan's wars in Asia and the Pacific, 1937-1945. We will study  Japanese films as part of a global 1930s "illiberal modernism" while  also exploring more local sources, in prewar studio cinema, the documentary film movement, and the broader image culture of wartime Japan. Those ancillary media will include popular music, war painting, propaganda posters, photography, and advertising. We will also study how the medium was deployed in Japan's colonies (Taiwan and Korea), client states (Manchuria), and occupied territories (Eastern China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, the Philippines, etc.) during the war. All readings on the course are in English; no Japanese is required.

download the course syllabus here

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Department of Film Studies - Western University
University College Building, Room 79
London, Ontario, Canada, N6A 3K7
Tel: 519.661.3307


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