skip to content

MPhil

Centre for Film and Screen

 

Core course - Strand 1: Theorising Moving Images

Please note that information may be subject to change

Strand 1: Theorising Moving Images

Michaelmas term 2021, Thursdays, 1-3pm, weeks 1-8 (unless otherwise stated)

1.   Ontology

Laura McMahon (lcm31@cam.ac.uk)

Reading

  • Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, Richard Howard, trans. (London: Vintage, 2000 [1980]). (If possible, students should acquire their own copies of Camera Lucida).
  • André Bazin, ‘The Ontology of the Photographic Image.’ In What is Cinema?. Volume I. Hugh Gray, ed. and trans. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967), pp. 9-16.
  • Jonathan Beller, ‘Camera Obscura After All: The Racist Writing with Light’, The Message is Murder: Substrates of Computational Capital (London: Pluto Press, 2018), 99-114.

Further Reading

  • Phil Rosen, Change Mummified: Cinema, Historicity, Theory (Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2001).

Screening

  • Electrocuting an Elephant (Edison, 1903)
  • How It Feels to Be Run Over (Hepworth, 1900)
  • Mothlight (Stan Brakhage,1963)
  • Blow Job (Andy Warhol, 1963)
  • Dyketactics (Barbara Hammer, 1974)
  • The Girl Chewing Gum (John Smith, 1976)

 

2. The Aesthetic

Laura McMahon

Reading  

  • Jacques Rancière, The Politics of Aesthetics, Gabriel Rockhill, trans. (London: Continuum, 2004), pp. 12-34 and pp. 42-45.
  • Gilles Deleuze, 'Having an Idea in Cinema', G. Deleuze & F. Guattari,  New Mappings in Politics, Philosophy and Culture, Eleanor Kaufman and Kevin Jon Heller, eds. (Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 1994), pp. 14-19.

 Further Reading

  • Scott Durham, ‘“The Center of the World is Everywhere": Bamako and the Scene of the Political’, World Picture 2 (Autumn 2008). http://www.worldpicturejournal.com/WP_2/Durham.html
  • Rosalind Galt, Pretty: Film and the Decorative Image (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011)
  • Jacqueline Maingard, ‘Screening Africa in Colour: Abderrahmane Sissako’s Bamako’, Screen, 51:2 (2010), 397-403
  • Jacques Rancière, 'What Aesthetics Can Mean', in From an Aesthetic Point of View: Philosophy, Art and the Sciences, Peter Osborne, ed. (London: Serpent's Tail, 2000), 13-33.
  • Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’ (1988), in Williams and Chrisman, eds, Colonial Discourse and Post-colonial Theory: A Reader (London: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1994) pp. 66-111.
  • James S. Williams, ‘Neoliberal violence and aesthetic resistance in Abderrahmane Sissako’s Bamako (2006)’, Studies in French Cinema, 19:4 (2019), 294-313

Screening  

  • Bamako (Abderrahmane Sissako, 2006)

 

3. Form and Medium

Laura McMahon

Reading

  • G.W.F. Hegel, Aesthetics: Lectures on Fine Art, Vol. I T.M. Knox, trans. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975 [1835]), pp. 1-55.
  • Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. I, Ben Fowkes, trans. (London: Penguin 1990), Chapter 7, Part 1 'The Labour Process', pp. 283-292.
  • Maya Deren, An Anagram of Ideas on Art, Form, and Film, in Essential Deren, Bruce R. McPherson, ed. (Kingston, NY: Documentext, 2005), pp. 85-109.

Further Reading

  • David Bordwell, Narration in the Fiction Film (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1985), pp. 3-47; 48-62.
  • Eugenie Brinkema, The Forms of the Affects (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014)
  • Peter Bürger, Theory of the Avant-Garde, Michael Shaw, trans. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984), pp. 55-82.
  • Lorenz Engell, ‘Ontogenetic machinery’, Radical Philosophy 169 (September-October 2011), pp. 10-12.
  • Erwin Panofksy, Perspective as Symbolic Form, Christopher S. Wood, trans. (New York: Zone Books, 1997).
  • Bernard Siegert, ‘Doors: On the Materiality of the Symbolic’, John Durhan Peters, trans. Grey Room 47 (Spring 2012), pp. 6-23.

Screening

  • Ritual in Transfigured Time (Maya Deren, 1946)
  • Playtime (Jacques Tati, 1967)

 

4. Watching

Laura McMahon

Reading

 

Further Reading

  • Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, 'The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception', in Dialectic of Enlightenment, John Cumming, trans. (London: Verso, 1997 [1944]), pp. 120-167.
  • Jean-Louis Baudry, 'Ideological Effects of the Basic Cinematographic Apparatus', trans. Alan Williams, Film Quarterly, 28.2 (Winter 1974-5), pp. 39-47.
  • Jean-Louis Baudry, 'The Apparatus: Metapsychological Approaches to the Impression of Reality in Cinema'Camera Obscura 1 (Fall 1976), pp. 104-128.
  • Jonathan Beller, The Cinematic Mode of Production: Attention Economy and the Society of the Spectacle (Dartmouth College Press, 2006), pp. 1-33.
  • Karen M. Bowdre, ‘Passing Films and the Illusion of Racial Equality’, Black Camera, 5:2 (Spring 2014), 21-43
  • Fred Camper, ‘The Films of Douglas Sirk’, Screen (Summer 1971), pp. 44-62.
  • Elena Gorfinkel, ‘Getting it done’, Sight & Sound, October 2017, pp. 16-17 [on Everson]
  • Christian Metz, Psychoanalysis and Cinema: The Imaginary Signifier. Celia Britton, trans. (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1982).
  • Laura Mulvey, ‘Afterthoughts on “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” inspired by Duel in the Sun’, in Feminism and Film Theory, ed. Constance Penley (London: Routledge, 1988), pp. 57-68.
  • Paul Willemen, ‘Distanciation and Douglas Sirk’, Screen 12 (Summer 1971), pp. 63-67.
  • Paul Willemen, ‘Towards and an Analysis of the Sirkian System’ Screen 13 (Winter 1972), pp. 128-134.

Screening

  • Imitation of Life (Douglas Sirk, 1959)
  • Quality Control (Kevin Jerome Everson, 2011)

 

5. Time

Laura McMahon

Reading

  • Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 2: The Time-Image, translated by Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta (London and New York: Continuum, 2005) – Preface, Chapter 1 (sections 1 & 2), Chapter 4 (sections 1 & 2)
  • Elena del Río, ‘Performing the narrative of seduction: Claire Denis’ Beau Travail (Good Work, 1999)’, Kinoeye, 3:7 (2003), https://www.kinoeye.org/03/07/delrio07.php

Further reading

  • Martine Beugnet, Claire Denis (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004)
  • Claire Colebrook, Gilles Deleuze (London: Routledge, 2002).
  • Mary Ann Doane, The Emergence of Cinematic Time: Modernity, Contingency, the Archive (Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press, 2002), pp. 1-32.
  • Bliss Cua Lim, Translating Time: Cinema, the Fantastic, and Temporal Critique (Durham, NC.: Duke University Press, 2009)
  • Douglas Morrey, ed., ‘Special Issue: Claire Denis and Jean-Luc Nancy’, Film-Philosophy, 12.1 (2008) <http://www.film-philosophy.com/index.php/f-p/issue/view/11>
  • Laura Mulvey, 'Passing Time', in Death 24x a Second: Stillness and the Moving Image (London: Reaktion, 2006), pp. 17-32.
  • Jean-Luc Nancy, ‘A-religion’, Journal of European Studies, 34:1/2 (2004), 14-18.
  • Elena del Río, Deleuze and the Cinemas of Performance: Powers of Affection (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008)
  • David Rodowick, Gilles Deleuze’s Time Machine (Durham: Duke University Press, 1997).

Screening 

  • Beau Travail (Claire Denis, 1999)
  • Atlantiques (Mati Diop, 2009)

 

6. Sensation

Laura McMahon

Reading

  • Laura U. Marks, ‘Introduction’ and ‘Video Haptics and Erotics’, in Touch: Sensuous Theory and Multisensory Media (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002), pp. ix-xxii, pp. 1-20.
  • Jean-Luc Nancy, ‘The Image--the Distinct’ in The Ground of the Image. Jeff Fort, trans. (New York: Fordham University Press, 2005), pp. 1-14.

 

Further reading

  • Jennifer Barker, The Tactile Eye: Touch and the Cinematic Experience (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009)
  • Walter Benjamin, 'The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction', in Illuminations, Hannah Arendt, ed.; Harry Zohn, trans. (New York: Schocken, 1969), pp. 217-251.
  • Martine Beugnet, Cinema and Sensation: French Film and the Art of Transgression (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007)
  • Miriam Hansen, 'The Mass Production of the Senses: Classical Cinema as Vernacular Modernism'Modernism/Modernity 6:2 (April 1999), pp. 59-77.
  • Laura U. Marks, The Skin of the Film: Intercultural Cinema, Embodiment and the Senses (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000)
  • Gayle Salamon, Assuming a Body: Transgender and Rhetorics of Materiality (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010)
  • Vivian Sobchack, Carnal Thoughts: Embodiment and Moving Image Culture (University of California Press, 2004)
  • Dziga Vertov, 'The Cine-Eyes. A Revolution', (1923), in Richard Taylor and Ian Christie, eds., The Film Factory: Russian and Soviet Cinema in Documents (London: Routledge, 1994), pp. 89-94.

 

Screening

  • Nånting måste gå sönder/Something Must Break (Ester Martin Bergsmark, 2014)

Further Screening

  • Fuses (Carolee Schneemann, 1967)
  • La Captive (Chantal Akerman, 2000)
  • Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929)
  • Pather Panchali (Satyajit Ray, 1955)
  • Trouble Every Day (Claire Denis, 2001)

 

7. Exclusions

Laura McMahon

Reading

  • Ann Cvetkovich, ‘In the Archive of Lesbian Feelings’, in An Archive of Feelings: Trauma, Sexuality, and Lesbian Public Cultures (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003), Chapter 7, pp. 239-271.
  • Lee Edelman, No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004), pp. 1-31.
  • Hito Steyerl, ‘In Defense of the Poor Image’, in The Wretched of the Screen (Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2012), pp. 31-45.

 

Further reading

  • Judith Butler, Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of Sex (Routledge: 1993), pp. 121-140.
  • Tina M. Campt, ‘The Visual Frequency of Black Life: Love, Labor, and the Practice of Refusal’, Social Text, 37:3 (2019), 25-46.
  • Eva Cherniavsky, Incorporations: Race, Nation, and the Body Politics of Capital (Minneapolis; London: University of Minnesota Press, 2006), pp. 71-99.
  • Stefanie K. Dunning, ‘She’s a B*(u)tch: Centering Blackness in The Watermelon Woman’ in Queer in Black and White: Interraciality, Same Sex Desire, and Contemporary African American Culture (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009), pp. 84-105.
  • Silvia Federici, Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle (Oakland, CA; Brooklyn, NY: PM Press; Autonomedia, 2012).
  • Alyson Nadia Field, Jan-Christopher Horak, and Jacqueline Najuma Stewart, L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema (Oakland: University of California Press, 2015).
  • bell hooks, ‘Is Paris Burning?’. In Black Looks: Race and Representation, (Boston: South End Press, 1992), pp. 145-156.
  • Achille Mbembe, ‘Necropolitics’, Public Culture 15.1 (2003), 11-40.
  • Susan Sontag, ‘Notes on Camp’. In Against Interpretation (New York: Dell Publishing, 1966), pp. 275-292.
  • Meg Wesling, ‘Queer Value’glq: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 18:1 (2012), pp. 107-125.
  • Frank WildersonRed, White, Black: Cinema and the Structure of U.S. Antagonisms (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009), pp. 1-32.

 

Screening

  • The Watermelon Woman (Cheryl Dunye, 1996)

Further Screening

  • Daughters of the Dust (Julie Dash, 1991)
  • Looking for Langston (Isaac Julien, 1989)
  • Mariposas en el Andamio (Butterflies on the Scaffold, Margaret Gilpin and Luis Felipe Bernaza, 1996)
  • Paris is Burning (Jenny Livingston, 1990)
  • Several Friends (Charles Burnett, 1969)
  • Sodom (Luther Price, 1989)
  • Formation (Beyoncé Knowles, Melina Matsoukas, 2016)

 

 

8.  Post-

Laura McMahon

Reading

  • Jacques Derrida, The Animal That Therefore I Am, trans. David Wills, ed. Marie-Louise Mallet (Fordham University Press, 2008), pp. 1-11.
  • Rosi Braidotti, ‘Introduction’, The Posthuman (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2013), pp. 1-12.
  • Steven Shaviro, Post Cinematic Affect (London: Zero Books, 2010), pp. 11-34.

Screening

  • Tropical Malady (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2004)
  • Corporate Cannibal (Grace Jones [performer] and Nick Hooker [director], 2008)

Further reading

  • Mel Y. Chen, Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering and Queer Affect (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012)
  • Donna J. Haraway, When Species Meet (Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2007)
  • Ian James, ‘The Nonhuman Demand’, Paragraph, 42:1, 6-21.
  • Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism, Or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1991), pp. 1-54.
  • D. N. Rodowick, The Virtual Life of Film (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007)
  • Cary Wolfe, What is Posthumanism? (Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2010), pp. xi-xxxiv.

 

 

 

 

 

Screenings and Events

Two new Assistant Professors join the Centre for Film and Screen

27 April 2022

The Centre for Film and Screen is delighted to announce that we have recently appointed two new Assistant Professors in Film and Screen Studies. Kareem Estefan and Xin Peng will be joining the Centre in September 2022 and will also both make History of Art their departmental home. These appointments result from and respond...