Film Language 2

Display Schedule

Code Completion Credits Range Language Instruction Semester
311FLG2 Z 2 2h/W English winter and summer

Subject guarantor


Name of lecturer(s)


Learning outcomes of the course unit

The class is about competence and knowledge of basic film language and grammar, through analysis of material and screenings (also of students material.)

Mode of study


Prerequisites and co-requisites


Course contents

Not just what is it about but HOW is it about?

– the process of visualisation

– story and literary screenplay – alongside literary work, developing the director’s concept of a text

(director’s statement on the text from the story stage, together with references and research)

What does the story offer in terms of the film’s direction? Why make it into a film?

– work with space, the role of space – nature, architecture in the story, placing of figures in space (from the story phase envisage the space, the alternation of exteriors and interiors, their role, work with the colour of space in relation to the colour of costumes, light and shadow)

Why does my story take place precisely here? Do I use space solely as a background for characters, or do I invest it with other meaning? Do I want it to reflect the inner world of my characters?

– technical script and storyboard – camera angles, ground plan with camera positions. Perspective.

Subjective perspective versus objective perspective – determining the basic viewpoint of the narrative. Who is looking? Why?

Why should I simply use my film to illustrate a literary screenplay? Don’t I want the film’s own movement to be in the forefront of my film? Am I just using shot sequences to write the film? Where is my original story shifted to by the director’s vision? If the form is consistently adhered to, doesn’t that create the content retroactively?

(C. Reygadas, A. Serra, C. Guerra)

– form – the shift from the literary screenplay to the technical script – deciding the tempo, shot length, seeking a modus operandi for composition and camera movement.

How can I use the literary script to describe the time and the silence that I want to include in my narrative? How can I use ellipsis to involve the viewer more? How can “sculpting in time” help me express the innermost psychological changes in my characters? How can I go beyond literalism that binds me to descriptiveness, causalities and psychologizing? How can I create intensity in place of causality? Visuals, storyboard, moodboard, graphic novel, teaser?

– acting style – guiding actors in relation to composition and camera movement, the rhythm of dialogues in relation to the size of the shot, to camera movement, and to editing. Determining the style of acting.

Determining the acting style. Natural v. stylised. Rhythm, composition, verisimilitude, the here and now.

In my film it is not the actor but the actor’s image that performs. What is authentic screen acting? Should the actor play for the camera, or should the camera “simply” record the actor’s performance. Must my actors know the psychological portraits of their characters? Isn’t there a risk that they will present their assumptions of what the result should be? How authentic should the actor be in front of the camera? How can I assist my actors as director?

– the sound concept – the director’s concept of the sound components should already be thought out at the literary script stage (sound style, sync sound versus post-sync; dialogues and sound effects, their interaction and rhythm; determining the foreground and middle ground)

Is it possible for me to replace the image with the sound element? Would this not be a way to involve the viewer’s imagination more? I first show my characters listening and only then do I show what they are listening to (Hou Hsiao Hsien, N.B. Ceylan, Kornél Mundruczo, Ivan Bunin).

Recommended or required reading


Gaston Bachelard: The Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard: La poétique de la rêverie (The Poetics of Dreaming), Steven D. Katz: Film Directing Shot by Shot, Eric Sherman: Directing The Film, David Bordwell: Figures Traced in Light, Zwischen Film und Kunst (Storyboards von Hitchcock bis Spielberg), Roy/Leweke: The Berlin School, etc.

Film trends:

Berlin School, Romanian new wave, French new extremity, Taiwanese new wave, Argentinian new cinema, etc.

Visuals, work with space, painters, architects:

Daniel Pitín, Vilhelm Hammershoi, Edward Hopper, Andrew Wyeth, Luca Servino, László Rajk, etc.

Assessment methods and criteria

Based on participation and results.


Scott Graham is a writer-director from the North East of Scotland. His short films include the award-winning Native Son which premiered in Cannes as part of Semaine de la Critique in 2010 and led Scott to be chosen as one of Screen International’s UK Stars of Tomorrow. In 2012 his first feature Shell based on his short about a young woman’s last days in a remote highland petrol station won Best Film at Torino International Film Festival and earned Scott a nomination for Outstanding Debut by a Writer-Director at the 2014 British Academy Film Awards. His most recent feature is set in his hometown where young men and women come of age through racing cars; premiering at Tribeca and London Film Festival to rave reviews Run is set for theatrical release by Verve Pictures in the spring of 2020.

Schedule for winter semester 2020/2021:

room 241
Room No. 3

(Lažanský palác)
(lecture parallel1)
Hybrid online/on-campus
Date Day Time Tutor Location Notes No. of paralel
Wed 09:50–12:15 Václav KADRNKA Room No. 3
Lažanský palác
Hybrid online/on-campus lecture parallel1

Schedule for summer semester 2020/2021:

The schedule has not yet been prepared

The subject is a part of the following study plans