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Cities and Landscapes

This module explores questions of representation through a study of the cinematic representation of place. In recent years, a number of important publications have appeared that privilege the encounter between cinema and the city. This has resulted in the emergence of an identifiable canon of films and periods that might include such instances as Berlin in the 1920s (Berlin, Symphony of a City, Walter Ruttmann, 1927), Paris in the 1960s (Cléo de 5 à 7, Agnès Varda, 1961) and New York in the 1970s (Taxi Driver, Martin Scorsese, 1976). The module commences with an investigation of the constitution of this city canon, looking in detail at selected films and the critical debates that surround them, as well as some key writings about the city which originate outside film studies. It will then move on to introduce the study of landscape in cinema and the range of critical methodologies that might be appropriate in developing an understanding of the location of more rural cinematic topographies. Here, the focus will be on contemporary world cinema with case-studies that might include Thailand (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His past Lives, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2010), China (Still Life, Jia Zhangke, 2006) and Chile (Nostalgia for the Light, Patricio Guzmán, 2010). Students will have the opportunity to develop their own independent research project in relation to either of these elements.


Module Outline
Reading List

Module Leader


Dr. Alastair Phillips