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HISTORY OF EUROPEAN FILM

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FALL 2008
HISTORY OF EUROPEAN FILM
FALL 2008

Tuesday and Friday, 11:40-13:00, DIS 7-31

Instructor: Anne Jespersen.


Cand.mag. (English Literature, Film History and Theory, University of Copenhagen, 1982.)
Editor of the film yearbook "Filmsæsonen" 1985-99. Bookpublisher (Forlaget April) 1985-94. Has
translated several books and written film reviews and film-historical articles. Assistant Professor at
the Department of Film & Media Studies, Copenhagen University. Frequently lectures at The
European Film College in Ebeltoft, at Hamburg Media School and at other universities abroad.
With DIS since 1987.

Anne Jespersen
Jerichausgade 43
DK-1777 Copenhagen V
Tel.: 33 25 27 24
e-mail: aj@dis.dk
DIS contacts: Jakob Lorentzen, ECH Program Director, jlo@dis.dk
Nick Parkinson, ECH Program Assistant, np@dis.dk

Objectives:
To understand the basic facts and methods of film analysis, and to obtain a sound knowledge of the
history of European cinema in its relation to cultural and social conditions and general film history.

Content:
The course offers an introduction to film understanding, the elements of film language, film
aesthetics, and film history in general as a basis for an analysis of European cinema. Following an
introduction to early European film history, the course will concentrate on Italian Neorealism,
Masters of Scandinavian Cinema, French New Wave, Masters of Experiment and Modernism,
European Cinema of the 1970's, 1980's, 1990's and 2000's. Examples from American film history
will be investigated as comparison. The main emphasis will be on seeing and understanding films
and film makers in relation to their historical, literary, and motion picture backgrounds, partly
through film examples, partly through reading material. Each class will concentrate on one theme
or aspect of film history and will include a related film viewing.

The course does not include practical film making - the approach is analytical, aesthetical, and
historical.

Method:
The course will include lectures, discussions of films and required readings, and film viewings.
Each week will concentrate on one theme or aspect of European cinema and will include a related
film viewing. The films are in English or with English subtitles.

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Academic Procedures and Regulations
Please, see the DIS Booklet Schedules Fall 2008, pp. 2-5.

Attendance Policy
Attendance at all scheduled classes is required, and each student is responsible for all material
covered or assigned in class. Included in the computation of the final grade in the course is
participation. Participation extends to all class sessions, as well as activity in class discussion and a
general contribution to the progress of the class. Viewing the assigned films before they are
discussed in class is a requirement for class participation; however, students may watch them
during the weekly film viewings or independently.

Reading List:
- Gerald Mast: A Short History of the Movies. 8th ed. Macmillan, New York & Toronto, 2003.
- Peter Schepelern (ed.): A Reader on European Film History. Vol. 1-2. Copenhagen: DIS, 1986.
- Todd Gitlin: Life in the Postmodern World. The Wilson Quarterly, 1989.
- Susan Sontag: Against Interpretation and Other Essays. (New York 1966).
- Pauline Kael on the best film ever made (=”Raising Kane”) New York, 1971.
- Anne Jespersen: Nothing on MTV. Michelangelo Antonioni in a Postmodern Context.
In: Sekvens 92: Postmodernism and the Visual Media. Dept. of Film and Media Studies.
Copenhagen University, 1992.

Grades & Evaluation


The grades used by DIS instructors are as follows:

A = Excellent = 4
B = Well above average = 3
C = Average = 2
D = Below average but passing = 1
P = Pass
F = Failure or failure to complete = 0
I = Incomplete (only issued in place of final course grade if an agreement exists for completion
by a definite deadline which is approved by the instructor and the DIS registrar).

Plus (+) and minus (-) grades are used for examinations and home assignments as well as for final
grades. For purposes of calculating grade points and averages, the "+" is equal to .3 and the "-" is
equal to minus .3.

Evaluation:
Short Paper 10 %
Midterm 25 %
Research paper (incl. synopsis) 25 %
Final exam 25 %
Class Participation 15 %

Short Paper
The topic for the Short Paper will be given on Sep. 23 and the answer - an essay of 2-3 pages - must
be handed in on Sep. 30.

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Midterm & Final
The tests consist of questions of relatively simple facts (such as: Who directed ___ film?),
questions of more complex character (such as: mention the characteristics of ___ director), and
questions to be answered with a short essay (such as: Comment on the typical trends in modern
Bulgarian cinema and their relation to the country's recent history). The answers will be weighted
differently.
Midterm Exam will be held on November 11.
The date for the Final exam will be announced later.

Research Paper Synopsis


On November 7, you are to hand in a synopsis of your Research Paper. The synopsis should give
the topic of your paper, the issue/question/problem you wish to investigate/discuss, a detailed
outline, and the sources you intend to use. When grading the research paper, the synopsis will be
considered.

Research Paper
The topics for the research paper are decided by the student and the instructor together. Normally,
it would be on (or relate to) subjects and films dealt with in the course. It is possible to write
about other topics by agreement with the instructor.

Suggested structure of your paper:

1. Table of contents.
2. Introduction: Presentation of the subject to be investigated.
An overview of the contents.
A comment on the methodology.
3. Description: Summaries, observations, references.
4. Analysis: Comments, discussions, comparisons.
5. Summary and conclusion.
6. Notes & Bibliography.

The paper should be based on the required reading, the additional reading found in the DIS library
and/or the Danish Film Museum Library, the films seen in class, the class lectures and
discussions.

In the Introduction and Description, the factual material is presented. The main emphasis, though,
should be on the analysis - that is: your personal discussion of the material. It is necessary to
present the substance of the topic through paraphrasing and quotations (remember, always to
footnote sources of direct quotations), but it is not sufficient only to paraphrase. The analysis of
the material - your personal understanding and interpretation - is the important part of the paper.
The paper should normally include a relatively detailed analysis of one of the films you have seen
within the subject.
Length: Approx. 12 type written pages, or approx. 3600 words.

You can choose between two deadlines for the handing in of the Research Paper:
1) no later than November 28 (in class), and the paper will be returned to you before the Final
exams.
2) not later than December 9 (in class), and the paper will not be returned to you before the
Final exams.
Note: On November 7, you are to hand in a Research Paper Synopsis.

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The Danish Film Museum Library
is located in the Film House, “Filmhuset,” Gothersgade 55 (close to Nørreport Station). The
Library has a large collection of books, periodicals, stills and other film-related material. The
Film House also has a book store, a video library, a cafe, plus three cinemas that show films every
day. When writing your research paper, it is highly recommended that you do some of your
research at the library, and/or take out material from their collections.

The Library is open: Mon.: Closed


Tues: 12 noon - 7 p.m.
Wed.: 12 noon - 4 p.m.
Thur.: 12 noon - 7 p.m.
Fri.: 12 noon - 4 p.m.

Film Viewings
There will be an opportunity each week to view the required films together as a class. This
time block is reserved for members of the class to check out the reserve copy of each week’s
film from the Library and view together as a class. If you are unable to attend a viewing or
would like to review a film, it will be available on reserve in the Library. Keep in mind that
these films act as the texts of this course and it is therefore just as necessary to watch each
film attentively (i.e. take notes) before the class sessions in which it will be discussed.

Film Viewing Schedule


Please note, again, that watching the films during their scheduled viewings is optional, and
students may watch the films on their own time. However, watching the films before they
are discussed is critical for participation. Please also note that the viewing room switches
between 7-41 and 7-31, so read the schedule carefully.

Sep 8 The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari / Monday in 7-41, 18:00


Sep 18 The Battleship Potemkin / Thursday in 7-31, 18:00
Sep 22 Un Chien Andalou, The Crowd / Monday in 7-41, 18:00
Sep 29 The Grand Illusion / Monday in 7-41, 18:00
Oct 2 Citizen Kane / Thursday in 7-31, 18:00
Oct 6 Bicycle Thieves / Monday in 7-41, 18:00
Oct 9 The Third Man / Thursday in 7-31, 18:00
Nov 3 Sunset Boulevard / Monday in 7-41, 18:00
Nov 6 The Seventh Seal / Thursday in 7-31, 18:00
Nov 13 The 400 Blows / Thursday in 7-31, 18:00
Nov 14 Dr Strangelove / Friday in 7-41, 18:00
Nov 16 Bell de Jour / Sunday in 7-41, 18:00
Nov 24 Europa/Zentropa / Monday in 7-41, 18:00
Nov 27 Dekalog #1 / Thursday in 7-31, 18:00
Dec 1 Festen/The Celebration / Monday in 7-41, 18:00
Dec 8 The Hours / Monday in 7-41, 18:00

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SCHEDULE:

1895-1910: European & American Film Pioneers

August, 29 INTRODUCTION to the course


Fri 11:40-1:00 pm Films: A selection of short films by Lumière (c. 1900);
An Impossible Voyage by Georges Méliès (1904);
Rescued by Rover by Cecil Hepworth (1905);
The Gay Shoe Clerk by Edwin S. Porter (1903);
Rescued from an Eagle’s Nest by Edwin S. Porter (1907)
Reading: Mast, Chapters 1, 2 & 3: pp. 1-51.
Reader Vol.I, pp. 1-12.

1910s: Scandinavian Pioneers I


September, 2 Films: Ingeborg Holm by Victor Sjöström (1913);
Tues 11:40-1:00 pm Reading: Reader Vol. I, pp. 13-30

1910-1925 Scandinavian Pioneers II


September, 5 Film: The Phantom Carriage by Victor Sjöström (1921) (excerpt)
Fri 11:40-1:00 pm Sir Arne’s Trasure by Mauritz Stiller (1919) (excerpt)
The Saga of Gösta Berling by M. Stiller (1925)(excerpt)
Reading: Mast, Chapter 10: pp. 216-217
Mast, Chapter 14: pp. 380-382
Note: Election of two class reps!

1896-2008 A Brief History of Danish Film


September, 9 Film: Examples from various Danish films.
Tues 11:40-1:00 pm Reading: Binder article no. 10

Before Sep. 16: Viewing of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (70 min)

September, 12 No class (Denmark Tour)


Fri

1920s: German Expressionism


September, 16 Film: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari by Robert Wiene (1920)
Tues 11:40-1:00 pm Reading: Reader Vol. I, pp. 31-65
Mast, Chapter 7: pp. 148-170
Mast, Chapter 11: pp. 256-260

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Before Sep. 19: Viewing of The Battleship Potemkin (70 min)

1920s: Russian Propaganda Film


September, 19 Film: The Battleship Potemkin by Sergei Eisenstein (1925)
Fri 11:40-1:00 pm Reading: Mast, Chapter 8: pp. 171-195;
Reader Vol. I, pp. 79-92, 101-108.

Before Sep. 23: Viewing of The Crowd (90 min)

1920s: American Realism


September, 23 Film: The Crowd by King Vidor (1928);
Tues 11:40-1:00 pm Reading: Binder article no.11

Before Sep. 26: Viewing of Un Chien Andalou (20 min)

1920s: French Avant-Garde


September, 26 Film: Un Chien Andalou by Luis Buñuel (1928);
Fri 11:40-1:00 pm Entr'acte by René Clair (1924);
Reading: Mast, Chapter 10: pp. 209-221;
Reader Vol. I, pp. 109-112, 124-133.

Before Sep. 30: Viewing of The Grand Illusion (115 min)

1930s: French Poetic Realism


September, 30 Film: The Grand Illusion by Jean Renoir (1937).
Tues 11:40-1:00 pm Reading: Mast, Chapter 10: pp. 221-233;
Reader Vol. I, pp. 134-163.

Before Oct. 3: Viewing of Citizen Kane (120 min)

1940s: Orson Welles & Citizen Kane


October, 3 Film: Citizen Kane by Orson Welles (1941);
Fri 11:40-1:00 pm Reading: Mast, Chapter 11: pp. 274-283;
Pauline Kael: Raising Kane
(= Pauline Kael on the best film ever made)

Before Oct. 7: Viewing of Bicycle Thieves (90 min)

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1940s: Italian Neo-Realism
October, 7 Film: Bicycle Thieves by Vittorio de Sica (1948).
Tues 11:40-1:00 pm Reading: Mast, Chapter 13: pp. 325-332;
Reader Vol. II, pp. 1-18, 20-38.

Before Oct. 10: Viewing of The Third Man (100 min)

1940s: Post-WW2 British Cinema


October, 10 Film: The Third Man by Carol Reed (1949).
Fri 11:40-1:00 pm Reading: Reader Vol. II, pp. 59-64.
Binder article no. 1.

TRAVEL BREAK

Before Nov. 4: Viewing of Sunset Boulevard (110 min)

1950s: American Film Noir


November, 4 Film: Sunset Blvd. by Billy Wilder (1950).
Tues 11:40-1:00 pm Reading: Binder article no. 12

Before Nov. 7: Viewing of The Seventh Seal (90 min)

1950s: Bergman & Existentialism


November, 7 Film: The Seventh Seal by Ingmar Bergman (1956).
Fri 11:40-1:00 pm Reading: Mast, Chapter 14: pp. 380-391;
Reader Vol. II, pp. 65-81.
Note: Research paper synopsis to be handed in today!

November, 11 Film: Ingmar Bergman continued.


Tues 11:40-1:00 pm + MIDTERM EXAM

Before Nov 14: Viewing of The 400 Blows (120 min)

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1950s/1960s: French New Wave
November, 14 Film: The 400 Blows by François Truffaut (1959).
Fri 11:40-1:00 pm Reading: Mast, Chapter 13: pp. 348-379;
Reader Vol.II, pp. 85-90, 95-99, 139-147;

Before Nov 17: Viewing of Dr. Strangelove (90 min) and Belle de Jour (100 min)

1960s: Cold War Cinema


November, 17 Film: Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And
Love the Bomb by Stanley Kubrick (1964).
Monday Reading: Mast, Chapter 15: pp. 472-476.
6:00-7:20 pm Binder article no. 2.
(Note date and time)

1960s: Modernism
November, 18 Film: Belle de Jour by Luis Buñuel (1967).
Tues 11:40-1:00 pm Reading: Reader Vol. II, pp. 148-178.
Mast, Chapter 16: pp. 526-534.

November, 21 No class
Fri

Before Nov 25: Viewing of Europa/Zentropa (100 min)

1980s/1990s: Postmodernism
November, 25 Film: Europa/Zentropa by Lars von Trier (1991)
Tues 11:40-1:00 pm Reading: Binder article no. 4.

Before Nov 28: Viewing of Dekalog #1 (60 min)

1980s/1990s: Postmodernism and After


November, 28 Film: A selection of shorter films & extracts
Fri 11:40-1:00 pm Dekalog1 by Krzysztof Kieslowski (1989)
Reading: Binder article no. 5 and 6.
Mast, Chapter 14: p. 413.
Note: Research Paper must be handed in today
for the grade to be ready before the Final exam!!

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Before Dec 2: Viewing of Festen/The Celebration (100 min)

1990s: Contemporary European Film


December, 2 Film: Celebration/Festen by Thomas Vinterberg (1998)
Tues 11:40-1:00 pm Reading: Binder article no. 7.

December, 5 Film: To be announced


Fri 11:40-1:00 pm Reading: tba

Before Dec 9: Viewing of The Hours (115 min)

December, 9 Film: The Hours by Stephen Daldry (2003)


Tues 11:40-1:00 pm Reading: Binder article no. 13.
Note: Last day for handing in the Research Paper!
+ Conclusion & Summary

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