Chapters from Contemporary Cinema
Name of lecturer(s)
Learning outcomes of the course unit
By the end of the course students will:
understand dominant tendencies in contemporary western cinema
explain their economic, social and cultural background
analyse selected films and understand their historical/cultural references
Mode of study
lecture + seminar
Prerequisites and co-requisites
Students are required to attend both lectures and discussion seminars and participate actively. A maximum of 3 absences during the semester is allowed. For the seminars, students are required to watch selected films, read assigned texts, and be prepared to discuss them in groups and collectively.
Besides collective tasks based on preparatory readings and watching assigned films, the students will give one group presentation during the semester, based on a specially assigned text/material. This applies to the seminar sessions. The presentation should take approx. 20 minutes, the students are welcome to support their argument with clips from the film in the discussion. The presentation should focus on the main points from the assigned text and their relation to the given film. It is not necessary to sum up the plot, technical specifications, and awards of the discussed film. The presenting students will also prepare at least 3 discussion topics relevant to the assigned texts and film(s) and lead the discussion with their colleagues in class.
Final test and essay:
The test will cover the topics outlined in the lecture sessions only, there will be 6 questions based on the presentations and materials sent in advance by the lecturer.
In the essay (5-7 pages double-spaced) the students are asked to elaborate on one aspect of their presentations, the more specific and detailed, the better. The essay must comply with academic writing standards, including citations and paraphrasing following MLA or Chicago style citation norm. Plagiarism is unacceptable and will result in a failing grade for the essay and a lower grade for the overall course.
Week 1 – Monday, Oct. 4
Introduction + presentation topics assignment
Week 2 – Monday, Oct. 11
Lecture topic: Mumblecore
Week 3 – Monday, Oct. 18
Seminar: Funny Ha Ha (Andrew Bujalski, 2002) + Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig, 2017)
Reading: Dennis Lim. “A Generation Finds Its Mumble,” nytimes.com, 19 August 2007, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/19/movies/191im.html?ex=1345262400&en=bfbel222d5a64a808jei=5124
Text for presentation: Nessa Johnston. “Theorizing ´Bad´ Sound: What Puts the ´Mumble´ into Mumblecore?” Velvet Light Trap 74 (Fall 2014): 67-79.
Week 4 – Monday, Oct. 25
Week 5 – Monday, Nov. 1
Lecture topic: New Romanian Cinema
Week 6 – Monday, Nov. 8
Seminar: Death of Mr. Lazarescu (Cristi Puiu, 2005) + Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn (Radu Jude, 2021) or Touch Me Not (Adina Pintilie, 2018)
Reading: Jeanine Teodorescu, Anca Munteanu. "´Lazarescu, come forth!´: Cristi Puiu and the Miracle of Romanian Cinema.” Film Criticism 34.2/3 (Winter 2010): 51-66.
Text for presentation: Andrei Gorzo. “In the Name of ´The Ambiguity of the Real´: Romanian Cinematic Realism after the 2000s.” Film Criticism 41.2 (October 2017):1-12.
Week 7 – Monday, Nov. 15
Lecture topic: Greek Weird Wave
Week 8 – Monday, Nov. 22
Seminar: Attenberg (Athina Rachel Tsangari, 2010) + The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2018) + The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Lanthimos, 2017)
Reading: Steve Rose. ”Attenberg, Dogtooth and the Weird Wave of Greek Cinema.” The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/fi lm/2011/aug/27/attenbergdogtooth-greece-cinema
Text for presentation: Marios Psaras. “Attenberg: Of (Dis)Orientation.” The Queer Greek Weird Wave (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016): 123-154.
Week 9 – Monday, Nov. 29
Lecture topic: Neo/realism Today
Week 10 – Monday, Dec. 6
Seminar: The Kid with a Bike (Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, 2011) + Sorry We Missed You (Ken Loach, 2019) + Young Ahmed or Two Days One Night (Dardennes, 2019 and 2014)
Reading: Frédéric Bonnaud. “Radical Kindness.” Film Comment 48.2 (Mar/Apr 2012): 22-25.
Text for presentation: Richard Rushton. “Empathic projection in the films of the
Dardenne brothers.” Screen 55.3 (Autumn 2014): 303-316.
Week 11 – Monday, Dec. 13
Lecture topic: Contemporary Polish Cinema
Week 12 – Monday, Dec. 20
Seminar: Ida (Pawel Pawlikowski, 2013) + Corpus Christi (Jan Komasa, 2019) + Clergy (Wojciech Smarzowski, 2018)
Reading: Leonard Quart. “Film as Meditation: An Interview with Pawel Pawlikowski.” Cinéaste 39.3 (2014): 40-44.
Christian Davies. “Polish film The Clergy sparks hundreds of allegations of abuse.” Guardian, 15 Oct. 2018.
Texts for presentation:
Megan Ratner. “Displaced Persons: Ida’s Window on Vanished Lives.” Film Quarterly 67.3 (2014): 30-34. – analysis of style + controversy
Recommended or required reading
LIM, Dennis. “A Generation Finds Its Mumble,” nytimes.com, 19 August 2007, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/19/movies/191im.html?ex=1345262400&en=bfbel222d5a64a808jei=5124
TEODORESCU,Jeanine,MUNTEANU, Anca. "´Lazarescu, come forth!´: Cristi Puiu and the Miracle of Romanian Cinema.” Film Criticism 34.2/3 (Winter 2010): 51-66.
ROSE,Steve. ”Attenberg, Dogtooth and the Weird Wave of Greek Cinema.” The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/fi lm/2011/aug/27/attenbergdogtooth-greece-cinema
ALVIN, Rebecca M.. “The Silent Treatment: An Interview with Michel Hazanavicius.” Cineaste 37.2 (Spring, 2012): 6-9.
BERGERY, Benjamin. “Silent Splendor.” American Cinematographer 92.12 (Dec 2011): 68-70,72,74,76-77.
BONNAUD, Frédéric. “Radical Kindness.” Film Comment 48.2 (Mar/Apr 2012): 22-25.
HALTOF, Marek. The cinema of Krzysztof Kieślowski: Variations on Destiny and Chance. Wallflower Press, 2004.
MURRAY,Jonathan.. “The Music of Freedom: An Interview with Paweł Pawlikowski.” Cinéaste 44.1 (Winter 2018): 4-7.
Assessment methods and criteria
Student work is assessed based on the class attendance and participation, a presentation, final essay (1500 words) and final text examining the covered topics
The final grade will be calculated as follows
Class Attendance and Participation -25%
Final essay - 25%;
Final test - 25%
Link to the syllabus with assignments -
Link to films (password: chapters21) -
Schedule for winter semester 2021/2022:
Room No. 2
|Date||Day||Time||Tutor||Location||Notes||No. of paralel|
|Mon||13:10–14:45||Veronika KLUSÁKOVÁ||Room No. 2
Schedule for summer semester 2021/2022:
The schedule has not yet been prepared
The subject is a part of the following study plans
- Academy Preparation Program - Cinematography (optional subject)
- Academy Preparation Program - Animated Film (optional subject)
- Academy Preparation Program - Directing (optional subject)
- Academy Preparation Program - Documentary (optional subject)
- Academy Preparation Program - Editing (optional subject)
- Academy Preparation Program - Photography (optional subject)
- Academy Preparation Program - Screenwriting (optional subject)