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Course Code: 
RTC 302
Course Period: 
Course Type: 
Prerequisite Courses: 
Course Language: 
Courses given by: 
Course Objectives: 
The objective of this course is to develop an understanding of film theory, criticism and analysis which has been enriched by every major phases throughout the 20th century. From the first public film screening, cinema has been a subject of ongoing interest and at the center of many significant debates on aesthetic, economic and social issues. In order to conceive film theories, we may have to take account of the influence of other theories coming from outside the field, including researches in social sciences as well as theoretical debates on aesthetics and arts forms ranging from literature to painting and should confront to the aesthetic, social and psychological dimensions of the cinema.
Course Content: 

The course surveys film theories from early period to more recent theoretical discourses emerging in cinema studies, influenced by a number of arguments and approaches to the subject, ranging from semiotics, psychoanalysis and literary criticism to feminism, race and gender studies, etc. Theoretical basis, concepts and frameworks of aesthetics and social theories will be discussed in relation to cinema. Among the theorists to be covered in the class include Hugo Munsterberg, Rudolf Arnheim, Siegried Kracauer, Andre Bazin, Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes, Jean-Louis Baudry, Laura Mulvey, Sergei Eisenstein and Althusser.

Course Methodology: 
1: Lecture, 2: Interactive Lecture
Course Evaluation Methods: 
A: Exam

Vertical Tabs

Course Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes Program Learning Outcomes Teaching Methods Assessment Methods
1) Identify and demonstrate an understanding of major theoretical approaches and historical positions in film theory. 1, 3, 7, 9 1, 2 A
2) Understand the social and historical context within which theoretical texts and discourses on cinema have been produced and debated. 1, 7, 9 1, 2 A
3) Relates economic, technological and aesthetic developments of cinema with social and cultural theories. 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 1, 2 A
4) Be able to explore and critically discuss a variety of film theory methods and investigate diverse approaches to theorizing film from an interdisciplinary perspective. 1, 3, 7, 8, 9 1, 2 A
5) Develop an ability to synthesize various knowledge, theoretical concepts and frameworks about cinema in order to develop appropriate interpretations and to use them in analyzing films. 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9 1, 2 A

Course Flow

Week Topics Study Materials
1 Introduction to the course: What will we cover, why is it necessary and how will we manage to relate cinema and theory: Mapping the term  
2 How does theory and cinema come together? Film Theory: An Introduction, p. 1-22
3 What are the early theories of cinema studies? From silent era to sound and beyond. Aesthetics of a new medium. Film Theory: An Introduction, p. 22-36
4 Formalism: Avant-garde aesthetics. Russian formalists and Soviet Montage theorists in theorizing the film medium Film Theory: An Introduction, p. 37-54



The Faithful Heart (1923), Jean Epstein (excerpts)

Man with a Movie Camera, Dziga Vertov, 1929 (excerpts)

5 Realism: Debates on realism and the relationship of the medium to the reality. Kracauer and André Bazin. Film Theory: An Introduction, pp.72-82

Film Theory and Criticism, “Film and Reality” pp.135-141


Umberto D.(1952), Vittorio de Sica (excerpts)

Citizen Kane (1942), Orson Welles (excerpts)

6 Cinema, mass culture/industry and Cultural Studies Film Theory: An Introduction, p.64-72,  223-229

Film Theory and Criticism, W. Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” pp.800-811

Film Studies Reader,  T. Adorno & M. Horkheimer: “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as mass deception”, p.7-12

7 Semiotics and structuralism. The question of film language. Film Theory: An Introduction, pp. 102-119
9 Cinema and ideology Film Theory: An Introduction, p.130-145

Film Theory and Criticism, Jean Luc Comolli and Jean Narboni, Cinema, Ideology, Criticism, pp.812-819

10 Psychoanalysis and cinema  Film Theory: An Introduction, p.158-169

The Oxford Guide to Film Studies, Barbara Creed “Film and Psychoanalysis” pp.77-90

11 Lacanian-Althussarian approach toward film studies. Apparatus theory, narrative and ideology Film Theory: An Introduction, p.158-169

Recommended readings:

Film and Theory “Apparatus Theory” pp. 403-408

Narrative, Apparatus and Ideology,  J.L. Baudry, “Ideological Effects of the Basic Cinematic Apparatus” pp. 287-298


Sherlock Jr (1924), Buster Keaton (excerpt)

Rear Window (1954), Hitchcock (excerpt)

12 Cinema and gender. The influences of psychoanalysis and feminism in film theory Film Studies Reader, Laura Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure and narrative Cinema”, p.238-248

Recommended readings:

Film Studies Reader, Mary Ann Doane “Film and The Masquerade: Theorising the Female  Spectator”


Gilda (1946), Charles Vidor (excerpt)

Jeanne Dielmann (1975), Chantal Akerman (excerpt)

13 Alternative film aesthetics: Brechtian and Third World aesthetics. Reflexivity. Political cinema and politics of the cinema. Film Theory: An Introduction, pp. 55-58, 92-102, 145-158, 281-292

Recommended readings:

Film Studies Reader,  Colin Mac Cabe, Realism and the Cinema: Notes on some Brechtian Theses, p.201-206



Film excerpts from Third Cinema examples

14 Post-colonial cinema and identity. Post colonialism, multiculturalism, representation of race, gender, class and ethnicity Film Theory: An Introduction, p. 267-281

Film Theory: An Introduction, p.292-297

15 Post-structuralist debates in film theory. Post-modernism in film aesthetics and film theory. Cinema in the digital age. Film Theory: An Introduction, p.179-192, p. 201-212 & pp. 298-307

Recommended readings:

The Oxford Guide to Film Studies, P. Brunette, “Post Structralism and deconstruction” pp.91-95

The Oxford Guide to Film Studies, John Hill, “Film and Postmodernism” pp.96-105

R. Stam & T. Miller (ed); (2000) “The Politics of Postmodernism” pp.753-758


Recommended Sources

Textbook Stam, R., (2002), Film Theory: An Introduction, Oxford: Blackwell
Additional Resources Cohen M. & Baraudy, L. (Eds), (2004) Film Theory and Criticism, New York: Oxford Univ. press, (6th eds).

Stam, R. & Miller, T., (eds), (2000), Film and Theory: An Anthology, Oxford: Blackwell,

Hollows, J. & Hutchings, P. & Jancovich, M. (2000), The Film Studies Reader, London, Arnold

Film excerpts (www.youtube.com, Accessed 06.06.2020) + Professor’s slides

Material Sharing

Documents Yeditepe Copy Center, www.coadsys.yeditepe.edu.tr


Mid-terms 1 100
Total   100
Contribution of Final Examination to Overall Grade   60
Contribution of In-Term Studies to Overall Grade   40
Total   100

Course’s Contribution to Program

No Program Learning Outcomes Contribution
1 2 3 4 5
1 Defines basic concepts, theories, methods, and domains of study specific to radio, television and cinema by associating them with the findings and theories of humanities and social sciences.         X
2 Demonstrates the responsibilities, effective participation, coordination, and planning skills essential for harmonious and efficient teamwork in the production processes relative to the radio, television and cinema fields. X        
3 Generates media products in accordance with professional standards in various narrative forms and genres specific to the field by synthesizing up-to-date knowledge and skills for expertise acquired through applied and theoretical courses.       X  
4 Manifests professional knowledge and such skills as copywriting, image management, editing, sound design, producing and directing, media management in different fields of radio, television and cinema locally and globally.   X      
5 Holds responsibility in broadcasting by integrating national and international rules of law that media professionals should pursue with professional ethical principles. X        
6 Comprehends the knowledge and skills related to institutional operation and management in the production and broadcasting processes of radio, television and cinema for the common interest. X        
7 Evaluates radio, television and cinema fields analytically and critically from their institutional structuring to products regarding a wide range of cultural, artistic, economic, and social relations.         X
8 Has the ability to collect visual, audio and written data, conduct research, evaluate, report and offer creative solutions in the fields of radio, television and cinema.     X    
9 Develops original projects for radio, television and cinema by following new technologies, developments, and ideas in the fields of art, culture, and media at the national and global planes.       X  


Activities Quantity Duration
Course Duration 14 3 42
Hours for off-the-classroom study (Pre-study, practice) 14 2 28
Students Reading 13 2 26
Mid-terms 1 2 2
Final examination 1 2 2
Total Work Load     100
Total Work Load / 25 (h)     4
ECTS Credit of the Course     4