Genre and Experimentation: Central European Cinema in Context
Nicholas David HUDAC
Name of lecturer(s)
Nicholas David HUDAC
Learning outcomes of the course unit
Throughout the semester, this course will teach students how to approach the cultural and historical elements which are the backbone of every film, while also applying film and cultural theory to a variety of visual media. Students will also gain a deeper appreciation of cultural history and how it relates to their own creative processes, with the aim of giving students tools useful in all aspects of the filmmaking process. Students will also learn how to present their ideas and analysis in a clear, concise, and above all, effective manner.
Mode of study
This course will feature a weekly lecture and discussion section, with a mandatory screening attached. What this means in practice is that each week, I will deliver an introductory lecture on the week’s keywords and films (covering basic concepts, historical background information, theory, as well as excerpts from relevant films or visual media) and theme. For most weeks, the rest of the class time will be spent in active discussion of the week’s assigned readings, previously watched films, and so on. On weeks when presentations are scheduled, we shall work the presentations into the course of our discussions. Following that, there will be a short (5 minute) break for students to stretch their legs, smoke, get snacks, and so on, and then we will watch the week’s scheduled film.
Prerequisites and co-requisites
This course is part of a two-course sequence, one in each semester. Students can take either part without prerequisite, or both, if they have time and interest. Films, lectures, and readings will be different in both semesters. The first semester will focus intensely on Visegrad- Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, and Polish film. The second will focus on a wider range of film movements and traditions (both avant-garde and popular) which have shaped Central European Cinema from within.
Central Europe has long been known as an artistic and intellectual island within the greater European sphere. Although ravaged by war, foreign occupation, and totalitarian governments for much of the last few centuries, Central Europe has managed to survive and often thrive as centers of culture and artistic experimentation. This course will focus on films from several influential areas in Central Europe with the goal of examining how this region’s history has impacted its culture by looking at avant garde cinema and its influence on popular genre cinema. In addition to focusing on film theory, we will also be discussing cultural history and media theory, learning approaches to “reading” films not only as movies, but also as multi-faceted cultural artifacts. To this end, our readings will contain primary source materials on cinema history, historical research, film theory, and literature intended to broaden our understanding of the various cultures, visual and otherwise which inform cinema creation in this part of Europe.
While this syllabus gives a fairly accurate portrayal of the material we will cover, additional material may be assigned (and assigned material may be dropped or altered) at any time as the semester progresses, in order to better suit the needs and interests of the class.
Recommended or required reading
Assessment methods and criteria
This course will be graded according to 4 areas— class attendance, class participation, a 10 minute midterm presentation and a 4-5 page final paper. The breakdown is here:
Class Attendance— 25%
Class Participation — 25%
Midterm Presentation — 30%
Final paper — 20%
One of the key skills taught in a college education is the ability to communicate clearly and concisely, while thinking critically about the material at hand.
Students are expected to complete one midterm and one final essay (4 pages minimum, maximum 7), on the topic of their choosing. Suggested essay topics will be distributed two weeks before the midterm, but students are allowed to write on any theme that personally interests them as long it is discussed with me beforehand. Papers that do not meet the length requirements will be penalized. Students are always welcome to meet and discuss paper topics with me at any time, or via email. STUDENTS WHO ARE MORE COMFORTABLE WRITING IN CZECH, SLOVAK, GERMAN, OR RUSSIAN CAN CHOOSE TO DO SO IN ALL WRITTEN ASSIGNMENTS.
Academic dishonesty: cheating and plagiarism will be treated in the appropriately severe manner. When writing papers, always use your own words and concepts; if quoting or appropriating from any outside sources (be they the Internet, books, articles, etc.) and/or scholars, always indicate that you are quoting and provide sources (Chicago Manual of Style footnotes, preferably). If you are unsure how to properly site a particular source, please ask me for advice. I’m always delighted to help.
Attendance and active class participation are required, as are all screenings. Repeated unexcused absences will result in penalties to the attendance and class participation scores. Students who have legitimate excuses (to be determined as the situation requires) will be allowed to make up a MAXIMUM of 2 classes by writing additional essays.
Instructor: Mgr. Nick Hudáč
Office: Nam. Jana palacha 2, Katedra filmových studií, Filozofická Fakulta 406
Office hours: Friday 14:00-15:00 and by appointment
Schedule for winter semester 2019/2020:
The schedule has not yet been prepared
Schedule for summer semester 2019/2020:
Room No. 3