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Themes in European and Japanese Cinema


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 5
  • Convenor: Dr Damian Catani
  • Assessment: a 2000-word essay (50%) and 1500-word take-home test (50%)

Module description

In this module we explore developments in the novel from the seventeenth to the twenty-first centuries across five different language-speaking areas: French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish.

The module is organised around themes which have captured the imaginations of film-makers across these very different cultural contexts. We will explore how these themes are developed differently both in relation to film form and content in different language-speaking areas, allowing you to gain knowledge of the history of cinema and its relationship to broader political and social histories.

You will further develop skills in visual analysis gained at Level 4, build on already acquired knowledge of film history and theory, and develop your skills in talking and writing about film.

The largest part of the module will focus on comparative study across language-speaking areas, but you will also be able to focus in-depth on the specific themes we have studied in relation to the cinematic production in one language-speaking area in break-out groups.

Indicative syllabus

  • Cinema and nation
  • Cinema: love and friendship
  • Cinema and war
  • Further exploration of themes in relation to French/German/Italian/Japanese/Spanish cinema (break-out groups)

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • demonstrate in-depth knowledge of significant aspects of the history of cinema across French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish-speaking cultural contexts
  • understand key themes in cinema across these language-speaking areas
  • compare and contrast developments in film form and narrative across different cultural contexts
  • understand specific developments in cinema in relation to key themes in one language-speaking area
  • use advanced key skills to analyse cinema
  • understand key theoretical ideas in the study of cinema
  • demonstrate competence in written analysis and in academic discussion about visual cinema.