Monash University Handbooks 2008

FTM4042 - Historical Film Theory and Criticism

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Deane Williams


Clayton Second semester 2008 (Day)


This unit examines some concepts in the history of film theory by considering a number of theoretical and critical writings in relation to a range of films. Topics for examination include early silent film theory, the notion of the historical avant-garde in the form of French impressionism, the film theories of Kracauer and Bazin, French new wave criticism, the neglected tradition of realist phenomenology in film theory, 1968 and the leftist turn and the question of film language and structuralism.


By the completion of the subject students will be expected to:

  1. identify and summarise a number of critical positions in historical film theory;
  2. critically assess the limitations of these positions so as to begin to establish new domains of inquiry;
  3. identify and defend their own critical positions with the field of film studies;
  4. relate these positions to the examination of films and film related material;
  5. demonstrate an understanding of research methodologies and the requirements of research papers.


First essay 3000 words 35%
Second essay 4500 words 45%
Seminar participation and paper 1500 words 20%

Contact hours

4 hours (one 2-hour seminar and one 2-hour screening) per week


A major in Film and Television Studies or other approved discipline


FTV4042 / FTM5042

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