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    An introduction to the basic analytical and critical skills as they apply to the study of moving images, specifically film. Issues of form, style and genre are addressed.

    Moving images surround us, they are part of our daily routine and our lifetime experience, we no longer simply encounter them when we go to the cinema, instead they are on our phones and our laptops, we see them in our city streets and around airports. In this course we explore how screen studies has conceptualised relations between viewers and moving images. Key concepts to be covered include: narrative and spectacle, the cinematic apparatus, the gaze, entertainment and pleasure, ideology and advertising, censorship and the regulation of image culture, broadcasting and narrowcasting, audience research and media effects debates.

    The course divides in two; in the first section on ‘screen form’ we focus on narrative and fictional moving images: feature and short films, experimental media, adverts and web series. In the second section ‘screen culture’ our focus is upon the social and cultural questions raised by media. We are interested in the wider permutations of screens, and how communities, fans and audiences produce and consume their own images.

    A core focus of this paper is upon introducing you to the construction of critical argument. The three forms of assessment: Journal Exercises; the making of an Audio-Visual Essay and the Critical Essay are designed to support this focus.

    In previous years, students found the best aspects of the paper were:

    • Looking closely at the films we watched during the film screenings
    • The video essay, as a great way of providing a thesis
    • The lectures on censorship, mythical meanings and the male gaze
    • Working with other students and tutors
    • Learning how to edit in Da Vinci Resolve

    About this paper

    Paper title Screen Form and Culture
    Subject Media, Film and Communication
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $981.75
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    FIME 101
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music

    Students who meet the prerequisite are welcome to enrol in this paper. Prior study of Media is not necessary. Students who have studied NCEA Media will find that the paper extends their understanding into new theoretical areas.


    Teaching staff

    Professor Catherine Fowler

    Paper Structure

    This paper features modules which may include any of the following:

    • Close analysis of Film and television style including editing, cinematography, mise-en-scene and sound
    • Media genres, stars, celebrity, fans and audiences
    • Media industries and entertainment, cinema as art and the auteur
    • Political and activist expressions of media including third and fourth cinema


    Will include Journal Exercises, the making of an Audio-Visual Essay and a written Essay.

    Teaching Arrangements

    Attendance at lectures, screenings and tutorials is essential.

    Events and guests include: Expanded cinema performance; a speaker from the NZ Office of Film and Literature Classification.

    Students will make a video essay for assignment two. A workshop and support will be offered.


    Textbooks are not required for this paper.

    Course outline

    View a sample course outline for MFCO 101

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised

    Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.

    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete the paper will:

    • Have a foundational knowledge of theoretical approaches to the study of film and media.
    • Have a foundational grasp of the use of audio-visual analysis to create argument.
    • Understand the forms that big, small and mobile screens take and their cultural and social permutations.
    • Be able to ask questions and create argument in a scholarly way.


    Semester 1

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system

    Film Screening

    Stream Days Times Weeks
    O1 Monday 16:00-18:50 9-13, 15-22


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    L1 Monday 13:00-13:50 9-13, 15-22
    Tuesday 13:00-13:50 9-13, 15-22


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    Attend one stream from
    T1 Tuesday 15:00-15:50 10-12, 15-21
    T2 Wednesday 13:00-13:50 10-12, 15-21
    T3 Wednesday 14:00-14:50 10-12, 15-21
    T4 Wednesday 15:00-15:50 10-12, 15-21
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