Cinematography: theory and analysis/FI

Display Schedule

Code Completion Credits Range Language Instruction Semester
311CTFI ZK 3 2T English summer

Subject guarantor

Name of lecturer(s)


Learning outcomes of the course unit

Course Learning Objectives:

By the end of the course the student will be able to:

– analyze the cinematography in various films

– understand how the specific DP’s choices influence spectators’ response

– adopt the vocabulary used within film theory concerning the cinematography

Mode of study


Prerequisites and co-requisites


Course contents

Course Description:

The aim of the course is to discuss the specifics of cinematography from the theoretical and historical point of vies. Students will discuss the films from the different epochs and different regions and will examine the significance of various choices that directors of photography needs to make (e.g. deep space, long takes, close-ups, POV, lighting, colour, etc.).

Recommended or required reading


Antunes, Luis Rocha. “The Vestibular in Film: Orientation and Balance in Gus Van Sant’s Cinema of Walking,” Essays in Philosophy 13. 2 (August 2012): 522 – 549. URL: Accessed September 12, 2017.

Branigan, Edward. Approaches to Semiotics (AS): Point of View in the Cinema. Tubingen, DEU: Walter de Gruyter, 2012. 103–121. Print. (Chapter 5. THE POINT-OF-VIEW SHOT.)

Bordwell, David and Kristin Thompson. Film Art. An Introduction. McGraw-Hill 2010, pp. 186 – 212.

Brown, Blain. Cinematography: Theory and Practice : Imagemaking for Cinematographers and Directors. Amsterdam: Elsevier/Focal Press, 2012. 69-76. Print. (Chapter LIGHTING AS STORYTELLING.)

Burch, Noel. Theory of Film Practice. Princeton University Press 1981, pp. 17 – 31.

Cossar, Harper. Letterboxed: The Evolution of Widescreen Cinema. Lexington, Ky. : University Press of Kentucky, 2011. 185–224. Print. (Chapter EXPERIMENTS, 1968, AND THE FRACTURED SCREEN.)

Dole, Jake Ivan. “The Author’s Gesture: The Camera as a Body in Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love.“ The Cine-Files 10 (Spring 2016): 1 – 12.

Everett, Wendy. “Mapping Colour. An Introduction to the Theories and Practices of Colour.” In Colour in Cinema: From Paintbrush to Pixel, ed. by Wendy Everett, Peter Lang. Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften 2012, pp. 7 – 34.

Hanich, Julian. “Complex Staging. The Hidden Dimensions of Roy Andersson’s Aesthetics,” Movie – A Journal of Film Criticism 5 (2014): 37 – 50.

Henderson, Brian. “Toward a non-bourgeois camera style.” Movies and Methods (vol. 1). Ed. Bill Nichols. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1976. 422–438. Print.

Paulus, Tom. “The view across the courtyard: Bazin and the evolution of depth style.” Film International 5.6 (2007): 62-75. Print.

Persson, Per. “Towards a Psychological Theory of Close-ups: Experiencing Intimacy and Threat.” Kinema undated: n. pag. Web. 18 September 2014 <>.

Place, Janey, and Lowell Peterson. “Some Visual Motifs of Film Noir.” Movies and Methods (vol. 1). Ed. Bill Nichols. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1976. 325–338

Assessment methods and criteria

Course Requirements:

Class Attendance and Participation: I expect students to attend all classes. Students will read the texts required for each lesson and discuss them in the class. Also, students will watch the films assigned (they all will be available). Lively discussion is expected. Students should ask anything that is not clear enough, bring their own ideas, and participate actively in the program of the course. Participation and contribution to class discussion will be taken significantly into account in the final grade. Excessive unexcused absences result in lowering of the final grade! If a student cannot attend the class because of a school-related duty (shooting of film, post-production etc.), s/he needs to inform a professor ahead.

Presentation: Around half of the class time (i.e. approximately 45 minutes) will be devoted to discussion. We will discuss the film and the reading(s) that are assigned for that very day. While all the students will be familiar with the film and the reading(s), one student (or more) will have a special task to be a “leader of discussion”. S/he will prepare presentation will include the close analysis of the film based on the reading (not exclusively, the student may add whatever else s/he will find important for understanding the film) using Powerpoint, Prezi , Google Slides, or any other tools). The handout/presentation will include AT LEAST 5 questions for class. Those questions should be rather complicated, can be even controversial, encouraging the students to think about the film more intensively (not “Did you like the film?). Since everybody in class will be prepared, the “leader” will encourage all students to talk. The student's presentation will last around 45 minutes.

The presentation should NOT include the factual information as are the names of the cast and crew (with exception of director and DP when relevant), the number of awards and prices the film got, the names of the production/distribution companies associated with the film, the titles of the director’s other films etc, unless it is particularly relevant. You should instead focus on YOUR OWN analysis and/or interpretation of the film (with the help of readings assigned) and perhaps also on the additional reviews/analysis of that film available at the Internet. The goal is to get us talking about the certain traits of film style and how it demonstrates itself in the particular film.

Send me the presentation at least 24 hours before the class begins, that is until Sunday evening!

Final Essay: Students themselves will choose the topic for the paper, while focus should be on the cinematography. Students may choose any film they wish, just need to inform me ahead, in case the films chosen is not the one we have seen in class. Papers have to be typed and may be sent via email. Due date is not negotiable. If a student must request an extension, she/he has to do it before the paper is due. All sources (films, books, articles, interviews, websites etc) have to be cited: any time student quotes or paraphrases someone else’s work she/he has to give her/him credit, otherwise it is understood as plagiarism, that is unacceptable and will cause student‘s failing from the assignment and may lead to failing from the overall course as well.

The in-class presentations (May-02 + May-09) are the parts of the assignment and makes each 10% of a grade. Essay will have 1.400 words (about 5 pages double-spaced) minimum. Plagiarism is unacceptable, and if any part of the assignment is plagiarized you will receive a failing grade for the essay and may fail from the overall course. Late submission of the essay will result in an automatic fail on the assignment. Due: May 22nd

A student will not write an essay on film s/he has a presentation on.

Grading Table

Grade percent 1000 points 333 points

A 100-96 1000-960 333-320

A – 95-90 959-900 321-300

B+ 89-87 899-870 299-290

B 86-83 869-830 289-276

B – 82-80 829-800 275-267

C+ 79-76 799-760 266-253

C 75-70 759-700 252-233

D 69-60 699-600 232-200

F 59-0 599-0 199-0

Assessment and final grade:

The course grade will be calculated as follows:

Participation in discussions and presence (33.3%) = 333 points

Presentation (33.3%) = 333 points

Final Essay (33.3%) = 333 points


CET Program Note: The subject consists of 28 contact hours in Spring 2022, recommended transfer to 2 US credits.

Schedule for winter semester 2021/2022:

The schedule has not yet been prepared

Schedule for summer semester 2021/2022:

room 241
Room No. 3

(Lažanský palác)
(lecture parallel1)
Date Day Time Tutor Location Notes No. of paralel
Mon 19:00–20:35 Petra DOMINKOVÁ Room No. 3
Lažanský palác
lecture parallel1

The subject is a part of the following study plans