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2020 The Practice of Film Criticism

How is this module assessed

The Practice of Film Criticism is a 15 CAT module designed as a response to the digital turn in film studies. Whereas previously when writing criticism one had to translate from screen to page, an exercise in approximation, now one could cite directly by making a clip. The whole module is now geared to enabling students to produce a work of criticism that takes the form of a 5-10 minute video essay.

In order to achieve this goal, students are offered four skill sessions in video editing that are optional depending on their level of skill. The module then allows them to choose their object of study: they choose one film that will in some sense be related to their final video essay and the module leader programs it as something all students must watch. When the film is screened the student who chose it leads a discussion of it with the aim of developing their ideas on the work.

What does this assignment entail?

The module is designed as a series of tasks: students write a 500-word review of their chosen film and they are paired off so two students give feedback on each other´s work. This 500 work then forms the basis a more extended 1500 word essay that is required but non-assessed, which the tutor gives feedback on, and is a further step in the development of their ideas on the video essay and also the foundation for the ´Creator´s Statement´ that accompanies each video essay. During the ten weeks of the module, each student has an individual tutorial with the module tutor which the tutor records, photographs, and then turns over to the student to edit into a podcast. The podcasts are all published in a blog designed and run by the students. Finally, students are asked to do a ten-minute PowerPoint presentation in the last two weeks of the module to present the structure of their eventual video essay and to solicit feedback and advice from their colleagues. There is an out for students who are daunted by the video essay. It can be replaced by a conventional 5000 word scholarly essay on their chosen subject. But no student has chosen that option in the last few years.

Want to Know more about this?

This is one of the undergraduate modules of the Department of Film and Television Studies at Warwick.

Meet the Module Leader...

Jose Arroyo

Jose Arroyo

Check out the amazing pieces that the students enrolled in this module have produced!!

These are some examples of the students' work created in this Module...

image preview of The practice of Film Criticism digital assessment module

Video Essay Title:

"Musical Diegesis and
Repression - Dancer in the Dark"

By: Jacob Buckley

Department: Film and Television Studies

image preview of The practice of Film Criticism digital assessment module

Video Essay Title:

The Erotics of 8 1/2
‘reveal the sensuous surfaces’

By: Bianca Giacalone

Department: Film and Television Studies

image preview of The practice of Film Criticism digital assessment module

Video Essay Title:

"Horrible Bodies:
The (new) Politics of Horror"

By: Polina Zelmanova

Department: Film and Television Studies

image preview of The practice of Film Criticism digital assessment module

Video Essay Title:

"Mandy: The Film Concert"

By: Alex Hobbs

Department: Film and Television Studies

image preview of The practice of Film Criticism digital assessment module

Video Essay Title:

"Austin Powers"

By: Tino Muchina

Department: Film and Television Studies

image preview of The practice of Film Criticism digital assessment module

Video Essay Title:

"Wes Anderson and Fatherhood"

By: Georgia Smithies

Department: Film and Television Studies

image preview of The practice of Film Criticism digital assessment module

Video Essay Title:

"Avatar: The Last Airbender,
An Example of Pastiche or
a Case of Cultural Appropriation"

By: Eva Katelic

Department: Film and Television Studies

image preview of The practice of Film Criticism digital assessment module

Video Essay Title:

"Understanding Slowness
Through the Cinema of
Gaspar Noé "

By: Joe Humfrey

Department: Film and Television Studies

image preview of The practice of Film Criticism digital assessment module

Video Essay Title:

"The Revelry in the Basement:
Bong Joonho’s Parasite and
Class discussion in films"

By: Jingyi Zhang

Department: Film and Television Studies

What are the main challenges?

The module has thrown up challenges. It´s very demanding in terms of time and it is occasionally an effort to get all students to show up for each others´ screenings. Also, it´s a module that is work-shop based and students have often found the lack of conventional lectures or seminars difficult to adjust and is something that has to be spelled out carefully to avoid problems. The module also requires a much higher level of student participation than most though I find students eventually rise to the challenge. The work they produce is usually quite extraordinary and extraordinary in different ways. It´s a model that offers students different pathways to achieving excellence, and students who might not have great dexterity in expressing themselves in prose often surprise with the depth and complexity of their audio-visual work. What´s extraordinary is not only the excellence of individual work but the excellence of the work produced by the group as a whole.

Want to see more like this?

Take a look at the other modules with digital assessment and the amazing work created by their students.