Film Style and Form 1
Name of lecturer(s)
Learning outcomes of the course unit
By the end of the course students will:
-adopt stylistic aspects of mise-en-scene in the history of world cinema
-describe the means of film style and form and how they present themselves
-interpret possible meanings of films or short extracts seen during the lectures
Mode of study
Prerequisites and co-requisites
The course will focus on the film style and form (FALL 2021: mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing; SPRING 2022: sound, narration) partly based on the readings of the book Film Art: An Introduction by David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson. We will discuss the means of film style and form and how they present themselves in a dozen of films from various epochs and countries. Disclosure of possible meanings and interpretation of them is the aim of the course.
During the sessions will be screened short extracts illustrating particular topics. Also, the students will watch the films in their entirety on their own. The discussions in which we can exchange the ideas and experiences are the important part of each lesson. Students should ask anything that is not clear enough, bring their own ideas and participate actively in the whole course.
NB “Film Form and Style” will be open also in Spring 2022, however, the focus of Spring term will be on sound and narration, therefore, the students may take the class both terms.
Recommended or required reading
REQUIRED READINGS (all readings will be available at Moodle) t
“Jonathan Amos, Paul Machliss ('Baby Driver' film editors): 'Every aspect integrated to the music'” (video) Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NF8U4vo-axc
David Bordwell – Kristin Thompson, Film Art. An Introduction. (International Edition.) McGraw-Hill, 2010.
Noel Burch, Theory of Film Practice. Princeton University Press 1981, pp. 17 – 31.
Shahla Haeri, “Sacred Canopy: Love and Sex under the Veil,” Iranian Studies 42, no. 1, 2009, pp. 113-126.
Julian Hanich, “Complex Staging. The Hidden Dimensions of Roy Andersson’s Aesthetics,” Movie – A Journal of Film Criticism 5, 2014, pp. 37 – 50.
Charles H. Harpole, “Ideological and Technological Determinism in Deep Space Cinema Images: Issues in Ideology, Technological History and Aesthetics,” Film Quarterly 33, no. 3 (Spring 1980), pp. 11-22.
Brian Henderson, “Toward a non-bourgeois camera style,” In Movies and Methods ed. by Bill Nichols. University of California Press 1976 (vol. 1), pp. 422–438.
Aleksandar Kušič, “The Neon Demon: Fashion, Beauty, and the Space of Absolute Danger,” January 2017. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/319527683_The_Neon_Demon_Fashion_Beauty_and_the_Space_of_Absolute_Danger
James Naremore, Acting in Cinema. University of California Press 1992, pp. 131–156.
Janey Place – Lowell Peterson, “Some Visual Motifs of Film Noir,” In Movies and Methods ed. by Bill Nichols. University of California Press 1976 (vol. 1), pp. 325–338.
Joan Ockman, “Architecture in a mode of distraction: Eight takes on Jacques Tati’s Playtime,” In Architecture and film, ed. by Mark Lamster, Princeton Architectural Press, 2000, pp. 171-196.
George Turner, “The Astonishing Images of I am Cuba,” American Cinematographer July 1995, pp. 77–82.
Assessment methods and criteria
Assessment and final grade:
The final grade will be calculated as follows: Class Attendance and Participation (25%); presentation (25%); midterm essay (25%); final test (25%)
Class Attendance/Participation: I expect students to attend all classes. If a student is sick or has another duty (e.g. needs to be present on the shooting), s/he needs to apologize to the professor ahead, otherwise the absence is treated as unexcused. A student with the extensive absences, i.e. five and more (whether excused or unexcused) will be asked to do an extra work for the class and may fail the course if s/he does not fulfill the extra assignment.
Participation to class discussion will be taken into account in the final grade. Participation means a meaningful contribution in the classroom, utilizing the resources and materials presented to students as part of the course. Students are required to actively, meaningfully and thoughtfully contribute to class discussions and all types of in-class activities throughout the duration of the class. Meaningful contribution requires students to be prepared, as directed, in advance of each class session. Particularly, students will read the text(s) required for each lesson and will come to the class prepared with an excerpt from the text and comments how it refers to the film seen. All students will be ready to discuss the readings in the class. Lively discussion is expected.
Students are expected to ask clarification questions if they cannot follow the instructor’s or other students’ line of thought or argumentation.
The use of electronic devices is not allowed unless it is explicitly required by the professor (that may happen in some specific situations). Students are expected to take notes by hand unless the student is entitled to the use of computer due to his/her academic accommodations. In such cases the student is required to prove the need. If a student is seen by a professor using any electronic device regardless the explicit ban, s/he will get the “Warning.” If the situation occurs again, a student will get a worse grade automatically (i.e.
B instead of A, C instead of B, etc.). The third occurrence may lead to the failing from the course. (A paragraph above DOES NOT apply to on-line teaching, of course.)
Presentation: Around half of the class time (i.e. 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 will have a special task to be a “leader of discussion”. S/he will prepare the handout for each student that will include the close analysis of the film based on the reading (not exclusively, student may add whatever else s/he will find important for understanding the film) OR the presentation (using Powerpoint, Prezi 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 handout/presentation should NOT include the factual information as is the names of the cast and crew (with exception of director and DP when relevant), the number of awards and prices the film get, the names of the production/distibution companies assocated 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 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 handout or presentation at least 24 hours before the class begins! !!
A student will not write a midterm essay on film s/he has a presentation on.
Midterm essay: Students themselves will choose the topic for the paper, while focus should be on the stylistic elements surveyed in class: mise-en-scene, framing, and/or editing. 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 unaceptable and will cause student‘s failing from the assignment and may lead to failing from the overall course as well.
The in-class presentation (October-25) is the part of the assignment and makes 5 % 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: Nov 01
A student will not write a midterm essay on film s/he has a presentation on.
Final test: Test on the material covered in the course, 5 questions, each for 5% of the grade. In one lesson we will together summarize what we have learnt and what possibly may occur in the final test. Will be written: Dec 13
Assessment and final grade:
The final grade will be calculated as follows: Class Attendance and Participation (25%); presentation (25%); midterm essay (25%); final test (25%
Mise-en-scène in its excess. Marlene Dietrich as a stain on canvas. (ACTORS / COSTUME)
Discussion: The Scarlet Empress (Josef von Sternberg, USA, 1934)
Reading: Obligatory: Bordwell – Thompson, 118-159. (Recommended: Naremore.)
Symbolism of the place (SETTING I)
Discussion: Neon Demon (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2016)
Playful mise-en-scène. (SETTING II) / How to write an essay
Discussion: Playtime (Jacques Tati, France, 1967)
Staging in depth (MISE-EN-SCENE IN SPACE) / Presentation of midterm papers
Discussion: Songs from the Second Floor (Roy Andersson, Sweden/Norway/Denmark, 2000)
Reading: Hanich (Recommended: Harpole.)
Mise-en-scène and film genre. Film Noir. (LIGHTING)
Discussion: The Big Combo (Joseph H. Lewis, USA, 1955)
Reading: Place –Peterson.
MIDTERM ESSAYS ARE DUE
Framing in service of Ideology: Long Live Communism! (SHOT SCALE / ANGLE OF FRAMING)
Discussion: I am Cuba (Soy Cuba / Ya Kuba; Mikhail Kalatozov, 1964)
Even when it is not seen it is still there. (OFF-SCREEN SPACE)
Discussion: Sunshine in the Net (Slunko v sieti, Štefan Uher, 1962)
Reading: Bordwell – Thompson, 186-212. (Recommended: Burch.)
As long as it is possible (LONG TAKE / MOBILE FRAME)
Discussion: Utøya 22. juli (Erik Poppe, Norway, 2018)
Reading: Bordwell – Thompson, 212-218. (Recommended: Henderson.)
Putting Things Together (EDITING)
Discussion: Baby Driver (Edgar Wright, USA, 2017)
Reading: Bordwell – Thompson, 223-262, 422-425 + WATCH “Jonathan Amos, Paul Machliss ('Baby Driver' film editors): 'Every aspect integrated to the music'“ at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NF8U4vo-axc
“Other Space” – Iranian Cinema / Preparation for a final test
Discussion: Gabbeh (Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Iran, 1996)
Theme: Final Test / Feedback
This course is an elective for all students of this school
Schedule for winter semester 2021/2022:
Room No. 1
|Date||Day||Time||Tutor||Location||Notes||No. of paralel|
|Mon||17:20–18:55||Petra DOMINKOVÁ||Room No. 1
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)
- Production Team Studies (optional subject)