Cinergy Master-class with Duane Hopkins

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Code Completion Credits Range Language Instruction Semester
300MMDH Z 1 10S English summer

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Learning outcomes of the course unit

The aim of this masterclass is to extend the horizons in the context of contemporary British social film realism and use of cinematic technique and narrative approaches for a new ways of visual films.

The discussion with Duane Hopkins will provide an insight look into his filming process and his style of visual storytelling. Duane´s films include scenes and images which do not perform a narrative task but nevertheless provoke an emotional response.

Mode of study


Prerequisites and co-requisites


Course contents

27. 4./ 20:45/ Světozor Cinema - Small hall/ Screening of film – Bypass


The story of Tim, a young man from the English working class. He needs to earn money, he is expecting a son, he has just lost his mother. He is ill, but it is not clear just how ill. As the pressure mounts, the illness worsens and one day he wakes up in a hospital bed. But in the meantime, his son is born.

Director’s Statement

Tim’s innate morals are in contradiction to the world he inhabits. He is an innocent in a guilty environment. The neighborhood in which he lives is its own universe. The authorities here are those who wield intimidation and coercion as tools. Like any authority, they have organised to administer it. To survive, to provide for his dependents, Tim can only work to the imperatives that govern life here. A person of good moral character thus commits acts that are morally ambiguous; some that are illegal. And he does so consciously. And there is a burden in that consciousness.

28. 4./ 15:30/ Světozor Cinema - Small hall/ Screening of film – Better Things (free entry)

Gail’s agoraphobia keeps her inside where she escapes into romance novels. She shares a house with her Nan, recently back from the hospital. Gradually, they both try to reach out to each other to break their isolation. Rob plunges further into his addiction as a way of numbing his heartbreak over the death of his girlfriend. In his stupor, he dreams of embracing her again. Mr & Mrs Gladwin are going through a shift in their 60 year relationship. Years of resentment and unspoken truths have built a barrier between them that Mrs Gladwin, in her abiding love, tries to erode in little gestures.

28. 4./ 18:00/ Světozor Cinema - Small hall/ Interview with Duane Hopkins (free entry)

Duane Hopkins is one of the most fascinating directors currently working in the UK. His first short film, Field, made in 2001, premiered at Cannes Film Festival. A dark, unblinking tale of rural adolescence won a host of prizes at festivals internationally. Hopkins followed Field in 2003 with his second short film Love Me Or Leave Me Alone, a study in the articulations and limitations of first love', premiered at Edinburgh International Film Festival where it won.

In his debut feature film Better Things, which was premiered at International Critics' Week in Cannes 2008, Hopkins combines masterful composition that shows off the dark beauty of Northern England with the stark realism often associated with UK cinema. A multi-narrative tale of love, yearning and loss amongst the young and old of a small town in rural England, Better Things was widely praised by critics as a film that was both radical and nuanced. It was often noted for its use of cinematic technique and narrative approach to connect themes such as romantic need, the roots of drug addiction, and existential notions of anxiety, purposefully against a contemporary, epic rural backdrop.

Hopkins has been described as being at the centre of an emergent 'British New Wave' alongside directors like Steve McQueen, with Better Things distinguished „by its technical and stylistic approaches to typical problems of British realism“. His film work has been noted for its precise compositions and technical rigour, and for its poetic cinematic rendering of realist subject matter, characters and environments.

His second feature Bypass (2014) follows Tim, a young man pushed into responsibility after his older brother is put in jail. With an absent father, a surly younger sister and a pregnant girlfriend, Tim finds himself being dragged deep into the criminal underground in order to try and keep the pieces of his fragmented life from floating away even more. But when he starts feel ill, some sort of escape looks increasingly impossible.

Hopkins film examines a generation that has effectively been bypassed by society with no hope or direction. It’s often a tough watch, with Tim’s life becoming ever more strained by a number of indignities and the general air of despair being almost palpable. But Hopkins transcends the clichés often associated with social realism as he indulges in a number of stylistic touches – including chases shot with a handheld camera and touches of the surreal – that create a unique atmosphere. "I wanted the camera as another character,” Hopkins says. “I’ve taken genre cinema and given it a whole new set of tools.”

Hopkins also works in the fields of photography and moving image art. His first solo gallery exhibition Sunday, a collection of single and multi-channel moving image installations, opened at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in March 2009. With Sunday Hopkins was said to have "created an experience that is entirely separate from the conventions of sitting in a cinema. He generates a portrait of youth that has a matter of fact, harsh reality to it and a psychological intensity that is unnerving.

His films as well as his video art works confirms Hopkins status as one of the great modern UK filmmakers.

Recommended or required reading

Stella Hockenhull:Aesthetics and Neoromanticism in Film: Landscapes in Contemporary British Cinema; ISBN: 9781848859012

New Cinemas: Journal of Contemporary Film; ISSN: 14742756

British realist cinema,id=9840/

Society’s Feared & Forsaken Take Centre Stage in Duane Hopkins’ Lyrical Sophomore Feature ‘Bypass - interview with Duane Hopkins

Personal website with his videos films photos

Script of Better Things

Assessment methods and criteria

100% attendance and 100% participation for all events.



Further information

No schedule has been prepared for this course

The subject is a part of the following study plans