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A Level Film Studies Case Studies

A Level Film Studies Case Studies

Section A: Film Form in US Cinema from the Silent
Era to 1990

This section focuses upon the
micro-elements of film
form
and the construction of meaning and response
by both filmmaker and spectator, with a particular
focus on US films from the Silent Era to 1990.

Learners will be required to study
three set films

from US cinema in this section. Learners must study
one of the listed set films from each of the following
time periods:

Silent Era:

Birth of a Nation (

1915

).
Directed by DW Griffith.
USA, 15

The Gold Rush
(1925). Directed by Charlie Chaplin.
USA, U

The Mark of Zorro
(1920). Directed by Fred Niblo and
Theodore Reed. USA, U

The General
(1926). Directed by Clyde Bruckman,
Buster Keaton. USA, U

Sunrise
(1927). Directed by F.W. Murnau. USA, U

The Wind
(1928). Directed by Victor Sjostrom. USA,
not rated

1930–1960:

Citizen Kane
(1941). Directed by Orson Welles. USA, U

Singin’ in the Rain
(1952). Directed by Gene Kelly/

Stanley Donen. USA, U

Stagecoach
(1939). Directed by John Ford. USA, U

Vertigo
(1958). Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. USA, PG

Double Indemnity
(1944). Directed by Billy Wilder.
USA, PG

All that Heaven Allows
(1955). Directed by Douglas
Sirk. USA, U

1961–1990:

2001: A Space Odyssey
(1968). Directed by Stanley
Kubrick. USA, U

Raging Bull
(1980). Directed by Martin Scorsese. USA,
18

E.T.
(1982). Directed by Steven Spielberg. USA, PG

Do the Right Thing!
(1989). Directed by Spike Lee.
USA, 15

The Conversation
(1974). Directed by Frances Ford
Coppola. USA, 12

West Side Story
(1961). Directed by Jerome Robbins/

Robert Wise. USA, PG

Knowledge and understanding of film form and its key
terms will be developed through:

• studying the
micro-elements of film form

• identifying how these elements construct
meanings and contribute to the aesthetics
of film

• an appreciation of film poetics: film as a
constructed artefact, resulting from
processes of selection and combination.

For clarity,
it is reiterated that
each set film chosen for
study
must
be from a different time period. A list of
set films is included below as a reference example of
a selection meeting these criteria:
The Gold Rush
(1925). Directed by Charlie Chaplin.
USA, U

Vertigo
(1958). Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. USA,
PG (1930-1960)

E.T.
(1982). Directed by Steven Spielberg. USA,
PG (1961-1990)

Further details of the assessment of this component
are given in Section 3a.

2c. Content of Film History (01)

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Section B: European Cinema History

This section focuses upon the study of at least
two

major European movements or stylistic developments

in film history,
characterised by the significant

contribution they made and continue
to make to film

aesthetics. Learners must study one compulsory,

distinctly experimental film movement (surrealist film)

and one other film movement from a choice
of two.

Experimental film – European surrealist film

Learners
must
study

a

set pair of two
experimental

films from the European
surrealist film
movement of
the 1920s and 1930s.

This movement challenged conventional ideas about
filmmaking and its films were experimental in nature.
For the purposes of this specification ‘experimental’
films are defined as those films which are non-

narrative or which work against the conventions of
narrative used in both mainstream and independent
film production practice.
Un Chien Andalou
(1929). Directed by Luis Buñuel.
France, 15

L’Age D’or
(1930). Directed by Luis Buñuel. France, 15

The set experimental film pair is equivalent in study
to one feature length set film.

Other European film movements or stylistic
developments

In addition to the above, learners must also study at
least
one
other set film. This film should be drawn
from one of the other European film movements or
stylistic developments listed below:

German expressionism:

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
(1920). Directed by
Robert Wiene. Germany, U

Nosferatu
(1922). Directed by F. W. Murnau.
Germany, PG

Metropolis
(1927). Directed by Fritz Lang.
Germany, PG

French new wave:

The 400 Blows
(1959). Directed by François Truffaut.
France, PG

À Bout de Souffle
(1960). Directed by Jean-Luc
Godard. France, PG

Cleo from 5 to 7
(1962). Directed by Agnes Varda.
France, PG

The German expressionist and French new wave films
listed above, whilst displaying innovation in their
development of genre and use of the micro-elements
of film are not considered experimental for the
purposes of this specification. The films listed for
these two movements do not necessarily work
against the conventions of narrative used in
mainstream and independent production practice, for
example,
Metropolis

, whilst helping develop a genre
and using many innovative filmic ideas still consists of
an overarching, conventional narrative structure.
For clarity, it is reiterated that learners
must
study the
set experimental surrealist film pair and at least
one

other set film from a choice of German expressionism
and French new wave. The reference example below
shows a selection meeting these rules:

Un Chien Andalou
(1929). Directed by Luis
Buñuel. France, 15 (Experimental, surrealist
film)


L’Age D’or
(1930). Directed by Luis Buñuel.
France, 15 (Experimental, surrealist film)

and


Metropolis
(1927). Directed by Fritz Lang.
Germany, PG

(German expressionism)

In this section learners are required to gain
knowledge and understanding of:


the contextual background to the two film
movements or stylistic developments
studied, for example, how a movement or
stylistic development shares similar ideas
about style, aesthetics, or political or
social-cultural objectives; and agrees on
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methods of furthering these through
approaches to film narrative/style/genre

the experimental nature of film, with a
focus on narrative forms which reject the
three-act structure, including non-linear
narratives and the significance of narrative
structures which are alternative to and/or
in opposition to conventional narrative
structures.
Learners will also need to build upon the knowledge
and understanding gained from the study of historic
US Film in Section A and develop this in relation to
historic European film movements or stylistic
developments:


the micro-elements of film form; and


identifying how these elements construct
meanings and contribute to the aesthetics
of film.

In this section learners will also develop the skills to
critically debate:


film narrative, including the formalist and
structuralist conceptions of film narrative


the claims of naturalism and realism as
against the expressive.

There is no comparative requirement in this section.
The focus of these critical debates is to help learners
develop their knowledge and understanding of the
films they study. For example, learners would be
expected to study the structural approaches to
storytelling used within the set films, including
looking at how the micro-elements of film were used
to create those structures in both conventional and
experimental ways.

Further details of the assessment of this component
are given in Section

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