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MA modules

Module TitleCodeSemesterConvenorDescription
Forms of Film PracticeFLM7038Sem 1Dr Steven EastwoodMainstream narrative cinema has always benefitted from the formal innovations taking place at the margins of film practice. The formal, aesthetic and technical experiments conducted by the avant-garde were soon appropriated by the commercial film industry. Risks taken in the documentary field have led to new attitudes towards truth and actuality. This module focuses on what forms film practice can take beyond fiction and storytelling. The module aims to broaden the students' skills-base by focusing on documentary filmmaking and artists' moving image, encouraging formal experimentation and an active critique of the ways in which mainstream cinema and conventional televisual formats construct meanings and representations.

The module covers a range of practices, production procedures, technologies and techniques for concept development, and is structured to develop creative thinking, collaboration, crew dynamics and practical abilities. It is designed to ground the student in appropriate research and development methods along with practical and aesthetic skills to produce a short documentary or experimental film. Students choose from two short film project options: either a documentary portrait of a person, place or event, or a film that engages with process, concept and aesthetics, rather than with explicitly narrative content. In parallel, students produce an essay consisting of a close reading of a filmmaker or filmmakers working in a mode that relates to their short film production.
Final ProjectFLM7200Full yearMr Eugene DoyenLaunching in semester two of your programme and running the course of the summer, the Final Project module guides you to deepen your research skills and realise an ambitious, high-production, festivals-ready documentary film drawing on the methods and modes given attention to over the duration of the MA. The documentary film production is supported by a research portfolio and an academic essay in giving detailed and theoretically informed context to the topic and the form of the film produced.
Documentary Film - Theory and PracticeFLM7201Sem 1Ms Athena MandisDocumentary in its simplest of forms is a recording of an act. The film camera is first and foremost a recording instrument, whether it captures 'life caught unawares' or a fictional scenario. This module examines the history of 'non-fiction' filmmaking in the 20th and 21 st century through the understanding of documentary styles and genre. Political, social, ethical and historical issues will be addressed through the engagement of theory and practice.
Documentary Production ProjectFLM7202Sem 2Dr Steven EastwoodThis module challenges some of the key tenets and ideas of documentary film (such as transparency, truth, reality, and representational practices) with a view to pushing the boundaries of the documentary form. We will explore different modes of documentary practice, including the performative documentary, artists' moving image documentary in the gallery, the animated documentary, archival and found footage film and the essay film. These non-traditional modalities of nonfiction are designed to enhance and reconfigure your own documentary practices, and enable you to test out new theoretical, aesthetic and rhetorical strategies in your production work.
To make the most of the module, you are encouraged to read extensively around documentary film theory and practice, thinking through the myriad formal, political and ethical ways the moving image encounters and represents the lived world. To broaden your horizons, please make sure to keep abreast of the extra-curricular suggestions for recommended viewing, and make the most of the artistic, cinematic, and socially engaged events Queen Mary University and the many communities of London have to offer. Please check your email and social media daily for updates.
Sessions will commonly be divided into two parts. In the first part, there will be a screening covering a particular mode of documentary film that challenges traditional approaches to documentary filmmaking, followed by a lecture and discussion of the film and the assigned reading material. The second part of the session will focus on the practical aspects of planning the production of your film - from concept to completion.
Film Practice and ManifestosFLM7033Sem 2Dr Ashvin DevasundaramThis module examines filmmaking practice through the study of statements on practice made by a range of film practitioners across a variety roles, filmmaking styles (including non-fiction examples), institutional contexts and periods, and via the study of a number of film manifestos. In the first part of the module students examine statements made by film practitioners in which they reflect on their practice and compare and contrast these to examples of the film practitioner's work. A particular focus will be how practitioners negotiate the restraints of the film industry, thereby encouraging an understanding of filmmaking as a profession. The second part of the module examines three manifestos from different historical periods and you will consider how these relate to filmmaking practice, especially through the importance of the adoption of measures to restrict creative freedom. Alongside this students produce a podcast of an interview with contemporary film practitioner about their practice.
9/11 and American Film SMLM047Sem 1Dr Guy Westwell

This module will examine a range of mainstream, independent and underground American films with a view to reading those films as representing a variety of responses to the experience and legacies of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001; produce symptomatic readings of films and cycles of films that directly and indirectly address the terrorist attacks and their aftermath and explore the tangled relationship between feature films and other cultural forms such as documentary film, photography and television news coverage.

Film StudiesSMLM035Full yearDr Jennifer Chamarette

The core module is divided into sections offering students the opportunity to explore key issues in film theory, in the classification and development of national cinemas, and in assessing film production practices, such as cinematography, the continuity system of editing and directorial style.

Auteur DirectionSMLM041Sem 2Mr Eugene Doyen

This module offers students the opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge of film studies, in particular auteur theory, and consider this understanding through critical practice; where practical work is used to demonstrate, test and develop theoretical understanding in film. Students enrolled on the module will initially prepare an academic presentation setting out the features which characterize the director as an auteur, especially in relation to directing technique, and this will form the basis for a short production by the student which demonstrates or tests aspects of these features of authorship. Each student will shoot and edit their production with the co-operative support of their colleagues. The completed production and an essay will be submitted for assessment. The essay will be based on the research prepared for the presentation and discuss the completed production in an appropriate theoretical context. Students are not expected to have practical skills in production before starting this course.

The Films of Powell and PressburgerSMLM046undefinedDr Charles Drazin

This module is intended to offer students an in-depth appreciation of the films of Powell & Pressburger. Commencing with the formation of Powell & Pressburger's production company the Archers in 1942, it will focus on the series of films that the partnership made during the 1940s and early 1950s, exploring their preoccupation with art, tradition, landscape and British identity, as well as their pioneering use of colour. Besides considering the themes and motifs of the films themselves, the module will look at their production history, the social and political context in which they were made, and the creative dynamic between Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.

Hollywood's VietnamSMLM040undefinedDr Guy Westwell

This module examines American feature films of the Vietnam War such as The Green Berets, Apocalypse Now, The Deer Hunter and Platoon. These movie and others are located within the wider war movie genre (extending lines of inquiry begun in the module 'Hollywood and the 2nd World War') and we will investigate how the war is mapped in relation to dismodules of gender, race, and social class. The tangled relationship between feature film representation and other cultural forms such as documentary film, war photography and television news coverage, will also be explored. Complimenting the module ‘History, Memory and Fiction in French Cinema', this module will also track how the Vietnam War movie has shaped American cultural memory since the war’s end and how ‘Vietnam’ continues to be a significant force in American cultural and political life.

Sighting Gender and Sexuality in Latin American CinemaSMLM011undefinedProf. Else Vieira

Major films and landmark documentaries have projected the workings of gender and sexuality in Latin American political history in novel and complex ways. Moving away from such clichés as Latin American machismo, this course explores other perspectives on gender and sexuality opened by Latin American Cinema and also by renowned directors in the international circuit, Roman Polanski being a case in point. The focus will be on Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico. The course initially analyzes codings of masculinity and power in representations of popular revolutionaries, notably Che Guevara, and of State authoritarianism, emblematized by General Pinochet; it also surveys representations of the encounter of the revolutionary and the libidinal in the lives of earlier twentieth century feminine icons Frida Kahlo and Olga Benario. The course then features important unfoldings of feminine agency in the context of dictatorships later in the century in major documentaries and award-winning commercial films: the politicization of motherhood and widowhood in response to violations of human rights; women engaging in armed struggle; women traumatized by rape during torture confronting its perpetrators. It also discusses film representations of homosexual persecution by the dictatorship in Argentina and the representation of sexual excess on the Brazilian screen as challenges to the repressive State.

Hollywood and the Second World War HST7317undefinedDr Mark Glancy

This module focuses on a key period in film history, and it considers the methods with which film critics and historians have analyzed it. It is as much about the writing of film history as it is about individual films and filmmakers, and the syllabus is designed to offer students the opportunity to engage with several different methods and schools of criticism, while at the same time maintaining a continuity by centering on the films of one distinct time period and country.

Moving Landscapes: The Berlin School in an International ContextFLM701undefinedDr Alasdair King
History, Fiction, Memory in French CinemaSMLM008undefinedDr Libby Saxton

This module will investigate the contribution of cinema to current debates about the interplay of history, fiction and memory. It will begin by examining the aesthetics of films that represent processes of remembrance and forgetting. This initial interrogation of how memory is mediated by the filmmaker will allow us to establish a critical and theoretical framework in which to conceptualise and explore the screen representation of memory. We shall then focus on questions of memory in relation to specific moments of national trauma, concentrating on fiction films and documentaries relating to episodes in recent French history (the Holocaust, the Occupation, Algeria). These will be considered in the context of recent historiographical material; our analysis of these films will focus on understanding what the French filmmaker's contribution has been to acts of commemoration and repression of national memory, as well as to the formation of ideas about the relationship between public events and personal memories.

Paris on the ScreenSMLM018undefinedDr Sue Harris

This module uses Paris as an example of a city that has a particular relationship to filmmaking, both in terms of representation and in terms of its status as a centre of innovative practices in design. It will look at examples of how Paris has been represented by French filmmakers, by emigrés working in France, and by the international film community. Students will gain insight into a range of design methodologies and production practices that underlie visual expression, particularly as they relate to depictions of urban space.

3D Cinema: Digital Space and Stereoscopic AestheticsFLM7203undefined

This module examines the historical development, technological conditions and unique aesthetics of stereoscopic 3D cinema. It fosters a critical understanding of the distinct optical properties of this exhibition technology, and uses the tools of film archaeology to explore its place in the visual culture of the last two hundred years (a place consistently under-valued in both histories and theories of cinema). Providing an overview of stereoscopic media - from the nineteenth-century stereoscope to genre cinema of t520457he 1950s and 1980s - the module focuses upon the contemporary digital period of mainstream 3D film production; in doing so, it shows that digital 3D works to produce distinctly contingent, ephemeral and subjective spaces, and explores how these spaces join up with broader virtualisations of space in the digital age.

 

Please note this list is indicative only. The curriculum is subject to change and you should contact the MA convener to find out more about the current programme.

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