Course syllabus



SEMESTER 2, 2018

15 points

Course Convenor:  Assoc Prof Misha Kavka

 email -
 office - HSB (building 201E), rm 526
 telephone - (09) 923 5351

Tuākana Mentor Kaitiaki Rodger

Office Hours: Fridays, 12pm-2pm (Week 1-6)
                      Wednesdays, 10am-12pm (Week 7-12)
Room: 201-502 (HSB)

Course delivery:

The teaching for this course comprises weekly two-hour lectures, which will include film clips, plus a weekly tutorial. This is a concurrently taught course, which means that students enrolled in MEDIA 307 attend the same lectures as students enrolled in MEDIA 202, but have a separate tutorial programme, readings, second assignment and exam questions.

Lectures:  Mondays 10-12, General Library (building 109), rm B15

Tutorials: 1 hour per week, starting in Week 2 (please see timetable and room details below)

(Timetable and room details can be viewed on Student Services Online)


Course Description:              

This course investigates Hollywood and its influence on other cinemas with a focus on the industrial, aesthetic and cultural aspects of the world’s leading filmmaking apparatus. The first half provides an overview of historical genres in the age of classical Hollywood (1920s-1960s), while the second half focuses on independent, arthouse and foreign films from 1969 onwards.

The course aims to provide understanding of

  • the development of Hollywood genres,
  • the theory of the gaze,
  • the Hollywood machinery of star construction,
  • cinematic aesthetics (esp. cinematography and mise-en-scène),
  • social shifts in 1930s-1950s and post-1960s America,
  • the rise (and fall) of independent filmmaking,
  • responses of 'others' to Hollywood influences

Course outcomes:

By the end of the course, students will

  • have gained a historical understanding of classical Hollywood and its transmutations,
  • understand the difference between Hollywood narration and art cinema,
  • understand the relationship between genre and gender,
  • have improved their skills in close film analysis,
  • be able to connect the technical language of film to theoretical insights, and
  • have developed their ability to present in a group.

Assessment Summary:

Tutorial Participation  -  10%

Assignment One: historical film review (800 words) + group presentation  - 20%

Assignment Two: research essay (2500 words)  -  30%

Exam (2 hours)   -   40%


Weekly Topics:

1. Hollywood narration and style: Ocean's Eleven

2. Gender and the GazeFlesh and the Devil

3. Screwball ComedyBringing Up Baby 

4. Film NoirThe Lady from Shanghai

5. The Musical: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

6. Melodrama: All that Heaven Allows 

7. New Hollywood: Easy Rider

8. Melodrama Revisited: Fear Eats the Soul

9. New York Romance: Manhatan and She's Gotta Have It

10. Indie Cinema and Violence:   Reservoir Dogs 

11. Vengeance in Korean Film:  Old Boy

12. The Superhero BlockbusterBlack Panther



Prescribed Texts:

There is no prescribed textbook. Required weekly readings will be available under 'Reading Lists' on Canvas

 Recommended Text:

Richard Maltby, Hollywood Cinema (Malden and Oxford: Blackwell, 2003, 2nd ed.)

 Workload and submission of coursework:           

This is a 15-point course, comprising one quarter of a full-time workload during the semester. You are expected to spend 10 hours per week working on this course (i.e., 3 hours in class, 2 hours’ viewing and 5 hours’ independent study). The independent study includes weekly preparation for tutorials, which means reading two articles and preparing notes on the readings, as well as preparation for tutorial. There are no class screenings for this course, so students will need to arrange to view all films (primary as well as secondary) before the relevant lecture (see Viewing Schedule under 'Course Materials').

In order to do well in this course, you should aim to attend lectures and tutorials, and you should submit your work on time. In extreme circumstances, such as illness, you may seek an extension but you should do so before the assignment is due. Late assignments without a pre-approved extension will be penalised by loss of marks – check the assignments for details.


Course summary:

Date Details