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MFCO301 Critical Problems in Film and Media

A survey of the major critical and theoretical approaches to film and media to include the impact on contemporary digital media convergence and transmedia productions.

This paper will examine major problems, issues and orientations in the theorisation of film, television and other moving-image-based media. The emphasis will be largely on commercial media, with a focus on the implications for conciousness and culture of changing technologies of representation. Special attention will be paid to the digital transformation of contemporary moving images through intermediality and transmedia phenomena and the challenges these present for historical understandings of media specificity.

Paper title Critical Problems in Film and Media
Paper code MFCO301
Subject Media, Film and Communication
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $886.35
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,766.35

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18 200-level MFCO or FIME points or GEND 205 or GEND 305
FIME 301
Schedule C
Arts and Music
Teaching staff

Convenor and Lecturer: Associate Professor Catherine Fowler

Paper Structure
The paper explores the various ways in which film and media theory has considered the experience of the moving image in terms of ontology, representation and signification and how it has analysed the position of the spectactor.

  • Concept Tests (2): 15% each
  • Critical Essay: 30%
  • Final Exam: 40%
Teaching Arrangements
Two 50-minute lectures and one 120-minute screening per week.
Course reader and on Blackboard.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete the paper will
  • Demonstrate understanding of the major approaches to theorising film and media
  • Show advanced knowledge of the historical development of film and media theory
  • Evaluate the use of different theoretical approaches and apply them to the critical analysis of film and media texts

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First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system

Film Screening

Stream Days Times Weeks
F1 Monday 14:00-16:50 9-16, 18-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Wednesday 11:00-11:50 9-16, 18-22
Thursday 11:00-11:50 9-15, 18-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
T1 Thursday 13:00-13:50 10-16, 18-21
T2 Thursday 14:00-14:50 10-16, 18-21
T3 Thursday 15:00-15:50 10-16, 18-21