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2008/09 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ARTF3032 Cities and Film

20 creditsClass Size: 21

Module manager: Dr Marcel Swiboda
Email: M.A.Swiboda@leeds.ac.uk

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2008/09

Pre-requisite qualifications

Students wishing to take this module as an elective at level three must have completed at least 20 credits from ARTF 2000 or any other level two ARTF coded module

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

PRE-REQUISITES: Students wishing to take this module as an elective at level three must have completed at least 20 credits from ARTF 2000 or any other level two ARTF coded module.This module commences with two key essays on the construction of metropolitan Modernity in the era of 'high Capitalism': Georg Simmel's 'The Metropolis and Mental Life' (1903) and Walter Benjamin's 'On Some Motifs in Baudelaire' (1931). These will be explored through two films of the silent era: Walter Ruttmann's Berlin: Symphony of a City (1926) and Dziga Vertov's The Man With the Movie Camera (1928). We will then explore themes introduced in these essays and films (time, movement, shock, memory, experience, technology, alienation, objectification) through the crisis of World War II to the development of Modernist film-making in Europe after 1945. This part of the module focuses on Italian neo-Realism and the French New Wave and their representations of the post-War city. Finally the module analyses cinematic 'cartographies' of the city (city as tree, city as semi-lattice or 'rhizome') ending with an examination of the 'virtual' city of 'post-Fordist' technocapitalist culture. We will also consider the role played by sound and music in urban experience and its filmic embodiments.Assessment: 1 x 1 hour exam (50%) and 1 x 2-3,000 word essay (50%)

Objectives

By the end of this module, students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the complex interactions between urban environments and urban subjectivity; how film functions within the spatio-temporality of the urban and how film is itself an embodiment of this spatio-temporality; of film and its embodiment of the urban using a variety of critical approaches derived from sociology, philosophy, critical theory and anthropology; ethical and political aspects of urban experience; and how film's embodiment of the urban is constituted historically.

Skills outcomes
Verbal and written fluency in constructing a logical and coherent argument.
Use of audio visual aids
Participation in group discussions
Co-ordination and dissemination of a range of historical, contextual visual information
Using bibliographies and databases
Verbal and written fluency in constructing a logical and coherent argument.
Use of audio visual aids
Participation in group discussions
Co-ordination and dissemination of a range of historical, contextual visual information
Using bibliographies and databases


Syllabus

This module introduces students to a number of the key concepts, themes and tropes that can be used to figure the relationship between film (or more generally audio-visual culture) and the urban, and the complex interplay between urban space-time(s) and the production of subjectivity. This relationship will be examined from the age of 'high Capitalism' (late 19th and early 20th Century) to post-World War Two 'late Capitalism', exploring the changing dynamics of the city and of urban subjectivity in western societies. The primary focus in the first five weeks will be European cinema until 1945, introducing some of the main film-making styles of the period (Constructivism, Expressionism, Neo-Realism), with key readings derived from the work of the Frankfurt School critic Walter Benjamin and the sociologist Georg Simmel. The main themes will be drawn from the work of these writers, and will include the following: 1) The problem of experience in the modern city, 2) The time of the city, 3) Rationalisation, 4) Shock, 5) Memory and 6) Technology. The final five weeks of the module will explore European and North American cinema from 1945 onwards, through which the impact of the Second World War on the modern city will initially be explored, before considering more recent developments in the cinematic accounts of the city, for example, 1960s urban renewal, Situationism, and postmodernism. Key stylistic developments of this period will be introduced (American avant-garde, French New Wave). Race and gender in the cinematic city will also be explored. Key text-based sources are derived from the work of Michel de Certeau, Marc Auge, and Henri Lefebvre, and the main themes are: 1) The disjunction between time and space, 2) The Society of the Spectacle, 3) The ethics and politics of everyday life, 4) The city as palimpsest, 5) The crisis of history and 6) Rhythmanalysis.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Film Screenings102.0020.00
Lecture101.0010.00
Seminar101.0010.00
Private study hours160.00
Total Contact hours40.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

100 hours - reading and class preparation
60 hours - essay preparation

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- attendance at lectures, seminars and film screenings
- participation in class discussion

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information


Coursework
Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 2,500-3,000 word essay50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated


Exams
Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)1 hr 00 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 17/03/2009

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