Film and Media Theory

Course Code: BFMP 4502

Academic Year: 2020-2021

What sort of art is film? Is it best understood as another species of narrative such as novels and plays? What is the photographic image in terms of its maker and in relation to the world that it (seems to) represent? And what is the potential impact and cultural significance of this, the most popular of the arts? Such questions about art, its impact on audiences, and its role in the culture or society at large (its function) have been asked since the time of Plato and Aristotle in ancient Greece. Students briefly examine some of their writings to better understand essential features of narrative arts and the great seriousness with which such socially and psychologically powerful media must be taken. On this basis, students examine recent accounts of film as language and as a mere mechanical product of a "culture industry." They examine the psychological pleasures of viewing and the social meaning of such pleasures. Lastly, they consider examples of film theory and film making that attempt to break with the dominant patterns of representation which rupture our habits of viewing and insist on a singular vision that challenges viewers in their passivity.