Friday, 30 January 2015

Yr3 Week 13 (Thurs 22 Jan - MDA320 Film Theory - Drastic Overhaul)

Today marked a fairly sizeable change for this module, as Sharon had been ousted following complaints about her mediocre teaching methods and a lack of real progression in the module. and replaced by department veteran Patrick Philips.

Several changes had also been instituted in the module, which are as follows:
  • No more screenings: it was felt they were superfluous, and any visual aides could be supplied adequately by just using clips and excerpts.
  • The assignments had been delayed by several weeks, in order to have more of an emphasis on really discussing the theories and most importantly, how we could use them in our assessment of our film work.
  • The lesson time had been condensed, so in total, the lessons for this module would run from about 11:30-4:00, with no other group for the absurd 6:00 seminar. It would be one main lecture, followed by two seminars between 1 and 4. 
What then followed in the lecture was basically a quick recap of what we had learnt the past term, though in lieu of simply reciting from a sheet and throwing out large concepts with very little context, Patrick instead gave us a full Powerpoint as well as careful categorization of the different elements that fall under the umbrella of film theory.  Such a breakdown, very simply, followed as such:

  • Theories of Film as what/such: What is film if not an imprint of reality (related to ontology) and what knowledge does it contain (Epistemology).
  • Theories of Film Effects: What is the ideology of a film, how does it communicate them, and what is the 'pleasure' of a film's viewing.
  • Theories of Value/agency: Who makes the film and questions around authorship and the ethics.
  • Theories of Filmmaking: How should a film be made (styles and forms/Poetics)
  • Theories of Meaning: The signs and symbols and how we make meaning of them.
  • Theories of Culture, politics and society: Going beyond the film and understanding the time and world around it. What does it reflect on said culture and its values?
And as for the seminar, it was more or less just going over the nature of the new term and asking questions about what was in store and the changes. So, my thoughts? I was rather impressed by Patrick, who had managed to provide a more concise and better defined module and concepts than Sharon's more rambly, generalised and unbalanced approach. I feel this is more what the introduction should've been like, and felt I got a better grasp of the ideas and how to define them than before. I now await the next session very eagerly.

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