Veranstalter  Lars Schmeink 
Thema  Silver Screen Dreams: An Introduction to Film
Art der Veranstaltung  [Q]-Studies / IAA
Zeit des Seminars  2st., Mo 16–18 Uhr (HCU), Di 10-12 Uhr (UHH) 
Raum  3.104 (HCU), 1269 (UHH) 
Beginn  Ab 07.04.15 (UHH) / 13.04.15 (HCU) 


Duales Seminar im Rahmen der [Q]-Studies an der HafenCity Universität und im Rahmen des BA English an der Universität Hamburg, Sommersemester 2015

Course Description:

The course will only have 11 sessions, not the usual 14, instead there is an additional and mandatory symposium: „Film in the 21st Century“ student symposium FRI 10.07. – all day (!)

The course will introduce students to the medium of film, giving them tools to analyze and evaluate filmic production. The course concentrates on Hollywood cinema and the feature film as a form, as these are dominant in Western film production, but will also try to take short excursions into other cinemas and film forms. Students will learn to differentiate historical and aesthetic perspectives of film making (early experiments, studio system, auteur cinema, blockbuster vs. avant-garde), as well as to implement analytical tools of film theory. The course is offered both at the University of Hamburg and the HafenCity University and will end in a student symposium, where students present their work as junior researchers.

The course consists of eleven class sessions in which students will be introduced to specific aspects of film analysis, which will then be used in interpreting selected film examples. These sessions will take place in two groups (UHH and HCU), but students of both universities will engage in cooperative group work on specified research projects.

At the end of term, there will be a one day symposium – both universities taking part – on „Film in the 21st Century“. During this symposium students will give group presentations of their research projects and engage in scholarly debate with peers. The symposium will be open to the interested public. Allowing secured financing, there will be a conference program incl. an invited keynote lecture by a renowned scholar.

Course Credit

  • Attendance (no more than two sessions missed), symposium day is mandatory
  • Active participation
  • Sessions needs to be prepared – 1-2 feature films will be assigned to be watched by students on their own discretion. There will be no screenings of films. Films should be available on streaming services or in video stores. Additionally, short texts might be assigned for each session.
  • Research project: Each student will need to register with (email is sufficient) and engage in one group research project. This group work will need to commence over the course of the seminar sessions. Research topics are given at the beginning of the semester but students are welcome to suggest their own topics, as longs as enough participants are in one group. Each student needs to be in a group before May 1st, and each group needs to present an outline of their presentation by June 5th at the latest to receive feedback.
  • Presentation: During the symposium day, each group will be assigned a 30 minutes presentation slot (plus 10 minutes discussion time). Presentations need to address the audience of students, provide a meaningful analysis of the research topic and be engaging for further discussion.
  • SILVER SCREEN AWARD: Presentations will be evaluated by the audience present and an award for the „best presentation of the symposium“ given to the winning group.
  • Final Exam: Each student hands in a written take-home exam (est. 6 pages of answers). The questions will be made available at „Agora“ from July 11th (10 am) onwards for download. Questions will be on specific video material also available on „Agora“ for download. Hand-in of exam by July 18th (10 am) via PDF / All questions regarding the exam, as well as sick-notes (if necessary) are to be send via email.
  • GRADE: Your grade will be a composite of the following:
    • Presentation: 40% of grade
    • Term Paper: 60% of grade
  • AGORA Platform: Students need to register at – registration only requires a name (please use clear names, no nicknames) and email-address. Search for „Silver Screen Dreams“ and register with the password „Hollywood“. More info on Agora will be given in the first session.
  • READING MATERIAL: We will use Richard Barsam and Dave Monahan, Looking at Movies (3rd ed. New York: Norton, 2010) as textbook. Additional texts might be assigned. Due to costs of the books, all reading material will be provided via the Agora platform.


UHH HCU Topic Films / Readings
07.04. 13.04. Introduction  Selected excerpts in class
14.04. 20.04. History Modern Times, Dir. Charlie Chaplin (1936), His Girl Friday, Dir. Howard Hawks (1940)

— Read: US-parts of Chapter 10

21.04. 27.04. Narration   Pulp Fiction, Dir. Quentin Tarantino (1994), The Usual Suspects, Dir. Bryan Singer (1995)

— Read: Chapter 4

28.04. 04.05. Cinematography and Editing The Godfather, Dir. Francis Ford Coppola (1972), The Shining, Dir. Stanley Kubrick (1980)

— Read in groups Ch. 6 / Ch. 8

05.05. 11.05. Mise-En-Scene (and Sound) Rear Window, Dir. Alfred Hitchcock (1954), American Beauty, Dir. Sam Mendes (1999)

— Read: Chapter 5

12.05. 18.05. Genre The Searchers, Dir. John Ford (1956), Cabin in the Woods, Dir. Drew Goddard (2012)

— Read: Ch. 3

19.05. 01.06. Ideology Transformers, Dir. Michael Bay (2007), Sleep Dealer, Dir. Alex Rivera (US/MEX 2008)

— Read: Tony McKibbin „Film Ideology and Political Theory“

09.06. 08.06. Psychoanalysis Black Swan, Dir. Darren Aronofsky (2010), Inception, Dir. Christopher Nolan (2010)

— Read: Barbara Creed „Film and Psychoanalysis“

16.06. 15.06. Feminism   Alien, Dir. Ridley Scott (1979), The Piano, Dir. Jane Campion (1993)

— Read: Smelik, Anneke „Feminist Film Theory“

23.06. 22.06. Postmodernity   Fight Club, Dir. David Fincher (1999), Adaptation, Dir. Spike Jones (2002)

— Read: Catherine Constable „Postmodernism and Film“

30.06. 29.06. Technology The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Dir. Peter Jackson (2012).– additional excerpts in class

— Read: parts of Ch. 6, Ch. 11

FRI 10.07. „FILM IN THE 21st CENTURY“ – Student Film Symposium@ UHH – ESA East, Lecture Hall 221