Circulating within The Modern Cinematic Image
Name of lecturer(s)
Learning outcomes of the course unit
This course will teach the student both how to watch a film and how to use
other disciplines to throw more clear light on the cultural form of cinema."
Mode of study
lecture plus discussion
Prerequisites and co-requisites
This inter-disciplinary seminar is modeled on the epistemological notion of a U.S.-American-informed postmodernity/globalization, which for worse or for ill informs our contemporaneity, and which by extension for us as such produces our class that pedagogically engages a select examination of global films from the following twentieth-century world-directors: Sergei Eisenstein, Carl Theodor Dreyer, D.W. Griffith, Buster Keaton, Fritz Lang, Friedrich Murnau, Dziga Vertov, and Orson Welles (i.e., pre-1947 Occidental and Soviet cinema) with special focus given to those cinematic moments that teach and that train us in new non-dominatory viewing strategies, in new creative ways of circulating (our term for moving), and so by extension in new nonsadistic ways of engaging with the most essential element of the cinema: the aesthetic unit of the image.
The rôle of silence and of the unconscious in film culture will also be given special coverage. Film criticism and film philosophy from Walter Benjamin, Leo Bersani-Ulysse Dutoit, David A. Cook, Gilles Deleuze, Siegfried Kracauer, Niklas Luhmann, Todd McGowan, Edgar Morin, Jacques Ranciere, Erik S. Roraback, Steven Shaviro, François Truffaut and Slavoj Žižek, will be our principal textual objects of focus. All films are either in English or have English inter-titles or sub-titles. Clips and special features from the DVDs will also be shown. The course is conducted in English and consists of three clock hour long sessions (i.e., four academic hours) to allow sufficient time for both the screenings and for seminar lecture/discussion. Strategically, we shall engage our target pictures in a non-orthodox counter chronological way in order to undercut over facile teleological ways of thinking and of reasoning; it will also provide us with a different perspective on the evolutionary development of arguably one of the more important and influential cultural forms of the twentieth-century, the cultural system of fillm.
Recommended or required reading
Selections from the following critical and theoretical texts will be available in a course-reader or will be adduced in the lectures or readings authored by the instructor:
Barber, Stephen: The Screaming Body (Creation, 1999).
Bersani, Leo and Ulysse Dutoit: Arts of Impoverishment: Beckett, Rothko, Resnais (Harvard, 1993).
Bílek, Petr A. and Tomáš Dimter, eds. Krajina bez vlastností: Literatura a Střední Evropa / Landschaft ohen, Eigenschaften: Literatur und Mitteleuropa, Peteru Demetzovi k 85. Narozeninám/ Festschrift für Peter Demetz zum 85. Geburtstag, eds. Petr A. Bílek, Tomáš Dimter (Praha: Aktion, 2007/2010).
Conrad, Peter: The Stories of His Life: Orson Welles (Faber & Faber, 2003).
Cook, David A.: A History of Narrative Film (Norton, 2004).
Deleuze, Gilles: Cinema 1: The Movement-Image, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam (Minnesota, 1986).
_ . Cinema 2: The Time-Image, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta (Minnesota, 1989).
Drew, William M. D.W. Griffith´s „Intolerance“: Its Genesis and its Vision. (McFarland, 2001)
Eisner, Lotte H.: The Haunted Screen: Expressionism in the German Cinema and the Influence of Max Reinhardt
Kracauer, Siegfried: From Caligari to Hitler: A Psychological History of the German Film (Princeton, 1947).
Lambert, Gregg: „The Brain is the Screen: An Interview with Gilles Deleuze“ in Flaxman, Gregory, ed., The Brain is
the Screen: Deleuze and the Philosophy of Cinema (Minnesota, 2000).
Luhmann, Niklas: The Reality of the Mass Media, trans. Kathleen Cross (Stanford: Stanford UP, 2000).
McGowan, Todd: The Real Gaze: Film Theory after Lacan (SUNY, 2007).
Morin, Edgar: The Cinema, or The Imaginary Man, trans. Lorraine Morimer (Minnesota, 2005).
_ . The Stars, trans. Richard Howard, foreword Lorraine Mortimer (Minnesota, 2005).
Nancy, Jean-Luc: The Creation of the World; or, Globalization, trans. with an intro. François Raffoul and David
Pettigew (Albany: SUNY P, 2007).
Ranci?re, Jacques: Film Fables, trans. Emiliano Battista (Berg, 2006).
_ . The Future of the Image, trans. Gregory Elliott (Verso, 2007).
Roraback, Erik S.: a select band of subunits of composition adduced below already published and/or presented from a tome in progress, Circulations in/of the Autopoietic Cinematic Image.
Shaviro, Steven: The Cinematic Body, Theory Out of Bounds, Volume 2 (Minnesota, 1993).
Truffaut, François: ?Foreword? to André Bazin?s Orson Welles: A Critical View (Acrobat, 1978), pp. 1-27.
Tsivian, Yuri: Ivan the Terrible (BFI Film Classics, 2002).
Žižek, Slavoj: In Defense of Lost Causes (Verso, 2008).
Assessment methods and criteria
To receive credit for the seminar students must
- have no more than one absence out of the thirteen total weekly sessions; for each absence beyond one your course grade will be lowered a full letter grade; arriving more than ten minutes late at the beginning of the seminar or leaving early will be considered an absence for that full session.
- give one oral presentation on a film and on the required text(s) for that week
- submit a mid-term essay and
- produce a final essay.
Final essay (3000 words): 30%,
Mid-term essay (1500 words): 20%,
Oral presentation: 20%,
Attendance and participation: 30%.
Essay topics will be distributed at least two weeks before they are due.
Detailed syllabus available upon request in FAMU International office.
Erik Sherman Roraback
(Charles University; FAMU-International)
(Visiting Professor, Univ. de Provence, Aix-en-Provence, France, 2005;
College Tutor and Doctor of Philosophy, University of Oxford, UK, 1997,
doctoral thesis examiners Terry Eagleton, Oxford & Maud Ellmann, Cambridge;
Bachelor of Arts, Pomona College, USA, 1989).
After seminar and by appointment;
To be announced, Faculty of Philosophy, Charles University, nám. J. Palacha 2, Room 219c
This course is an elective for all students of this school
Schedule for winter semester 2019/2020:
The schedule has not yet been prepared
Schedule for summer semester 2019/2020:
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)
- Production Team Studies (optional subject)