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MODULE’S CONTENT AND OBJECTIVES
This module offers the opportunity to engage with the historicity of a cinema’s aesthetics
by exploring a range of national cinemas. You will be encouraged to familiarise yourself
with aspects of production, distribution and exhibition in different national film industries,
and to relate those historically specific modes of operation to the generic categories and
stylistic features of the films these industries produced at different times in their
development. Above all, you will be expected to engage with the history of diverse
geographical areas and to consider how the films examined relate to those broader
The module’s main topics are:
- concepts of national, trans-national, regional, world and Third cinema;
- European cinemas, including Italian, French, German and British cinemas;
- Latin American Third Cinema movements, including in Argentina, Cuba and Brazil;
- Pan-African cinema;
- Cinemas of the Middle East;
- Cinema in South Asia;
- Cinema in Asia, including Japan, mainland China, Hong Kong and South Korea
The module’s objectives are
- to address questions of trans-national, regional, global, world and Third cinema byexploring a range of national cinemas, their specificity as well as their inter-connections;- to examine the diverse aesthetics of a range of national cinemas by engaging with theeconomic, political and social contexts that shaped them;- to study the aspects of production, distribution and exhibition which characterize diversenational film industries in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America;- to discuss the global circulation of films that have emerged within specific nationalformations;- to familiarise yourself with theoretical frameworks for an understanding of the relationsbetween the industrial mode of operation of diverse national cinemas and the generic andstylistic features of the films produced within those specific cinematic traditions
Having successfully completed the module, you should be able to- identify the economic and cultural factors determining the formation of individual nationalcinemas, the interconnections between them, and their global circulation, if any;- identify generic currents and formal characteristics within individual national cinemas;- relate historical (economic, social, cultural, political) factors to aesthetics and genericpatterns;- discuss proficiently questions and theories of national, trans-national, regional and worldcinema;
- undertake film-historically pertinent analysis of films belonging to a broad range of
- evaluate different theories and apply them to the understanding and analysis of a broadrange of films and related cultural practices;
- be aware of the diversity and range of films within global genres (such as action cinemaor melodrama);
- evaluate the inter-relationship between films’ aesthetics and social, political andeconomic pressures;
- carry out research on a range of cinemas and their broader, historical context;
- expand your understanding of film theory and historiography;
- develop an autonomous and critical interest in, and aspire to the acquisition of further
knowledge of, world history and cultures;
- demonstrate verbally, as well as in writing, the capacity to do all of the above
ESSAY QUESTIONSCoursework 1 (2,000 words maximum): chose one of the following questions:
1.1 Taking as case study any one of the films listed in the module guide’s filmography,discuss whether or not that film is part of a national, a trans-national or a regional cinema,(or all of them at the same time), and why.
1.2 Discuss the pressures that, by the 1920s, led to the categorization of some silentcinema as ‘national cinema’.
1.3 What set Italian silent melodrama and epic films apart from French and Americanserials?
1.4 What were the main characteristics of the film industry in India in the 1910s and1920s? Discuss by outlining the role of exhibitors, producers and distributors in shaping adistinct Indian film culture.
1.5 Select any one of the following films and discuss what, in your opinion, makes it aNeorealist film: La terra trema (L. Visconti, Italy, 1948), Ossessione (L. Visconti, Italy,1943), Ladri di biciclette (V. De Sica, Italy, 1948), Roma città aperta (R. Rossellini, Italy,1945), Paisà (R. Rossellini, Italy, 1946), Germania, anno zero (R. Rossellini, Italy, 1948).
1.6 To what extent can Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger be considered bold andexperimental filmmakers? Discuss with reference to at least two of their films.
1.7 There have been several significant film movements throughout French cinemahistory, such as the Nouvelle Vague (New Wave), Cinéma du look and the New FrenchExtremity. Analyse two film examples from one of these movements, discussing how thesefilms relate to French culture at that time, both in terms of the films’ style and in relation tohistorical context.
Coursework 2 (2,000 words maximum): chose one of the following questions:
2.1 Discuss any one of the films directed by Rainer Werner Fassbider, Werner Herzog,Volker Schöndorff or Wim Wenders listed in this guide’s filmography in relation to theOberhausen manifesto.
2.2 Compare the presentation of the Toxteth riots in John Akomfrah’s Riot (1993) with thepresentation of the Tottenham riots in this news report: ‘Tottenham Riot 2011: BBCLondon News Coverage’ (broadcast on 7 August 2011 and available athttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAV1FisFIas&feature=related (last accessed 7 Sept.2015)
2.3 What is ‘Third cinema’? Discuss using as a case study a suitable film from the oneslisted in this guide’s filmography.
2.4 Discuss any one of the Brazilian films listed in this guide’s filmography in relation to thesocial and political movements that were taking place in Brazil at the time the chosen filmwas made.
2.5 Discuss any one of the African film listed in the module guide’s filmography in relationto post-coloniality, nationalism and national identity.2.6 Discuss any one of the films directed by Youssef Chahine in the light of the events thathave taken place the Middle East during the last five years. In your opinion, do Chahine’sfilms have anything to say to the generation that is living through these more recentevents?
2.7 ‘Melodramas tend to centre on female characters because melodramas are aboutsocial modernisation.’ Discuss this statement by analyzing as a case study any one of theIndian films listed in the module guide’s filmography.
2.8 Discuss the social and political conditions in which films are made in Iran and howthese affect the films’ narrative and thematic content.
2.9 How do Japanese post-war melodramas address questions of individuatedsubjectivity? Discuss with reference to any of the films available from the UEL librarydirected by these directors: Mikio Naruse, Hiroshi Shimizu, Yasujirô Ozu, YasusôMasumura, Kenji Mizoguchi and Akira Kurosawa. In your discussion, pay particularattention to the film’s mise en scène.
2.10 Discuss whether any one of the following Japanese films appears to be preoccupiedor not with the dissolution of a sense of national identity: I am waiting (Koreyoshi Kurahara,1957), Rusty knife (Toshio Masuda, 1958), Take aim at the police van (Seijun Suzuki,1960), Cruel gun story (Takumi Furukawa, 1964), Woman of the dunes (HiroshiTeshigahara, 1964), A colt is my passport (Takashi Nomura, 1967), Tetsuo I and II (ShinyaTsukamoto, 1988), Dead or alive (Takashi Miike, 1999), Audition (Takashi Miike, 1999).
2.11 Examine South Korean genre cinema’s rise in international popularity and discusswhether these films engage with Korean history and culture, or whether they are productsof an Americanised and globalised film culture, (or both).
2.12 Outline the emergence of a Shanghai-based Pan-Asian distribution and exhibitionnetwork during the silent cinema period and discuss whether, in your opinion, the Shaw Brothers’ operation in Asia was constitutive of a national, a regional or a trans-national cinema.
2.13 Discuss any one of the films directed by Tsui Hark in the context of the Hong KongNew Wave