Units of Study

ARHT2652 - From Silent to Sound Cinema

Semester 1, 2012  |  Credit Points: 6

Coordinator: Laleen Jayamanne


This unit of study examines film/cinema as a manifestation of modernity i.e. as commodity, industry, institution and mass production of the senses (aesthetics). These concepts integral to modernity will be explored through a study of Early American cinema and the Weimar cinema of Germany in the 1920s. Detailed work will be done on the following genres, Slapstick and Melodrama (in Hollywood), and Horror/Fantasy (in Weimar cinema). While the focus will be on the aesthetics of these films, the historical and industrial context of each national cinema will form an essential background. The unit will introduce a selection of major classical and contemporary film theories such as those of Sergei Eisenstein and Gilles Deleuze as well as the recent scholarship on silent film aesthetics and spectatorship within the wider intellectual tradition of theorising modernity and vernacular modernisms. An emphasis will be placed on the idea of filmic performance (film as an art of movement and time) which includes camera rhetoric, editing, acting, mise-en-scene. Students will study the phenomenon of stardom through one of cinema's very first global icons, Charlie Chaplin whose work will enable us to cross the technological divide between silent and sound cinema in the last segment of the unit.


1x1500wd film analysis (30%), 1x2500wd essay (70%)


Recommended Readings:
'The Silent Cinema Reader', Eds. Lee Grieveson and Peter Kramer (Routledge, London and New York, 2004)


1x2-hr lecture/week, 1x1-hr tutorial/week, 1x2-hr film screening/week


ARHT1001 and ARHT1002 (For Art History Major), ARHT1002 or ENGL1025 or ENGL1026 (For Film Major)



Additional Information

Film Studies Core Unit. This unit is available as a designated 'Advanced' unit for students who are already enrolled in the BA (Advanced) degree program.

A timetable is not available for this session.
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