Introduction to Film Studies I and II (Master in Film and Screen Studies)

Presentation Objectives Contents Evaluation Basic bibliography Back to the Master
Program details
Subject: Introduction to film studies
Course: First
Semester: 1 and 2
Modality: Compulsory
Professors: Carlos Losilla, Manu Yáñez


This course is conceived as a global journey through the field of Film Studies and takes as its guiding thread a series of questions that aim to outline different ways of approaching cinematographic images, while at the same time seeking to establish a relationship between the filmic legacy and contemporary cinema. Can we still talk about realism in the digital age? What has become of semiotics? How has feminist theory evolved from the 1970s to the present day? Is film analysis possible without theory? What critical paradigms remain valid in a period in which the very notion of “cinema” seems more disfigured than ever? The search for answers to these questions, from the framework of Film Studies, will open up a set of tentative, luminous, elusive and also paradoxical readings of the filmic image.


From a cross-disciplinary perspective, this course aims to familiarise students with analytical disciplines such as film theory, film criticism, historiography, gender studies and Star Studies. With a programme organised around themes and questions, the course aims to encourage all kinds of approaches to the film image, from the most orthodox and specific to the most open and interdisciplinary.


  • UNIT 1. Reality and representation: from André Bazin to Adrian Martin.
    • Can we still talk about realism in the digital age?
    • Theatre and painting, from Jean Renoir to Peter Greenaway via Jacques Rivette.
    • The emergence of Movie Mutations and the “energy” of cinema as the basis of a new realism.
  • UNIT 2. Footprint and sign: from Siegfried Kracauer to Christian Metz.
    • What became of semiotics and what has it become?
    • The “flow of life”, past and present.
    • Possible validity of the “Great Syntagmatics”.
  • UNIT 3. Staging and device: from Michel Mourlet to Jean-Louis Baudry.
    • How did one go from Macmahonism to Marxism and vice versa?
    • Auteur theory, auteur aporia in the post-Bazinian French scene.
    • Jean-Claude Biette and Louis Scorecki: the end of classical cinephilia.
  • UNIT 4. Form and substance: from Laura Mulvey to Molly Haskell.
    • What happened between the feminist theory of the 1970s and the latest waves?
    • The question of style: theoretical problems of the notion of “gender”.
    • Case study: the “abduction of the actress” according to Alain Bergala as an open limit for the recomposition of gender roles in contemporary cinema.
  • UNIT 5. Film theory and history: from Robin Wood to Serge Daney.
    • Is film analysis possible without theory?
    • The myth of the death of cinema at the end of the 20th century: fact or fiction?
    • From theory to the theoretical according to Roger Odin.
  • UNIT 6. Criticism and essay: from Manny Farber to José Luis Guarner.
    • Is it possible to know contemporary cinema without having reflected on its past?
    • Introduction: the critic as artist and creative criticism according to Oscar Wilde.
    • Rethinking Manny Farber’s “termite art” and “white elephant art”: what became of termite cinema? Is it possible to find it in “contemporary industrial cinema” or must it be sought in the territory of marginality? Where are the limits of white-elephant-art in a contemporary cinema that is bent on grandiloquence, maximalism and transcendentalism?
    • Raymond Durgnat and the commitment to the (realistic) evidence of film.
  • UNIT 7. Paradoxes of the virtual
    • From Erich Auerbach’s Mimesis to the omnitemporality of contemporary cinema.
    • From Kracauer to the demolition of representational limits in the digital era.
    • The limits of the acting gesture in the representation of reality.
    • Case study: Ari Folman’s The Congress and the digitisation of acting bodies in contemporary Hollywood.
    • Case study: what does Terrence Malick’s cinema mean for acting and what does acting mean for Terrence Malick’s cinema?


The final mark for the course will be the average result of the evaluation of the following parameters:

40% Written essay nº1 (to be handed in at the end of the first semester) in which the contents of the subject are related to some aspect of contemporary cinema, the history of cinema or the field of Film Studies itself.
40% Written essay nº2 (to be handed in at the end of the second semester), which may be an extension of Essay nº1 or the result of a new research process.
10% Continued assessment of Semester 1: Presentation of an outline of the research to be carried out during the first semester.
10% Continuous assessment of Semester 2: Presentation of an outline of the research to be carried out during the second semester.
Attendance is compulsory. Students who do not attend at least 80% of the classes (12 sessions) will be graded out of 8.5 instead of 10.

Basic bibliography

Andrew, Dudley J; Las principales teorías cinematográficas. Gustavo Gili, 1978.

Auerbach, Erich; Mimesis. México: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1996.

Aumont, Jacques; Michel, Marie; Análisis del film. Ediciones Cátedra, 1990.

Aumont, Jacques; Estética del lenguaje: Espacio fílmico, montaje, narración, lenguaje. Ediciones Cátedra, 1985.

Bachelard, Gaston; La poética del espacio. Buenos Aires: Fondo de Cultura Económica de Argentina, 2000.

Bazin, André; ¿Qué es el cine?. Ediciones Rialp, 2004.

Bordwell, David; El arte cinematográfico. Ediciones Paidós, 1995.

Bordwell, David; La narración en el cine de ficción. Ediciones Paidós, 1996.

Brenez, Nicole; Abel Ferrara, Chicago, University of Illinois Press, 2007.

Burch, Noël; Praxis del cine. Editorial Fundamentos, 2003.

Casetti, Francesco; Teorías del cine. Madrid, Cátedra, 2010.

Cavell, Stanley; La búsqueda de la felicidad. Barcelona, Paidós, 1999.

Daney, Serge; Perseverancia. Buenos Aires, El Amante, 1998.

De Baecque, Antoine; Teoría y crítica del cine: avatares de una cinefilia. Barcelona, Paidós, 2005.

De Baecque, Antoine; La política de los autores: Manifiestos de una generación de cinéfilos. Ediciones Paidós Ibérica, 2003.

Deleuze, Gilles; La imagen-movimiento. Ediciones Paidós, 1983.

Deleuze, Gilles; La imagen-tiempo. Ediciones Paidós, 1987.

Durgnat, Raymond; A Long Hard Look at ‘Psycho’. Londres: British Film Institute, 2010.

Farber, Manny; Farber on Film: The Complete Writings of Manny Farber. Nueva York: Library of America. 2009.

Genette, Gérard; Figuras III. Barcelona: Lumen, 1989.

Haskell, Molly. From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2016.

Kracauer, Siegfried; Teoría del cine: La redención de la realidad física. Barcelona: Paidós, 1989.

Lipovetsky, Gilles; Serroy, Jean; La pantalla global, Barcelona, Anagrama, 2009.

Losilla, Carlos; Flujos de la melancolía, Valencia, Ediciones de la Filmoteca, 2011.

Lourcelles, Jacques; Dictionnaire du cinéma. Les Films. París: Robert Laffont, 1992.

Martin, Adrian; Mise en Scène and Film Style. Macmillan, 2014.

Martin, Adrian; Rosenbaum, Jonathan (Ed.); Mutaciones del cine contemporáneo. Errata Naturae, 2011.

Metz, Christian; Ensayos sobre la significación en el cine, Barcelona, Paidós, 2002.

Metz, Christian; Lenguaje y cine, Barcelona, Editorial Planeta, 1973.

Mourlet, Michel; Sur un art ignoré. La mise en scène comme langage. París: Ramsay, 2008.

Mulvey, Laura; Placer visual y cine narrativo, Barcelona, Episteme, 1994.

Naremore, James; Acting in the cinema. Berkeley: Univ.of California Press, 1990.

Rancière, Jacques; El malestar en la estética. Madrid: Clave Intelectual, 2012.

Rosenbaum, Jonathan; Essential Cinema – On the Necessity of Film Canons. The John Hopkins University Press, 2008.

Rosenbaum, Jonathan, y Martin, Adrian; Movie Mutations. The Changing Face of World Cinephilia. Londres, British Film Institute, 2003.

Sánchez, Sergi; Hacia una imagen no-tiempo: Deleuze y el cine contemporáneo. Oviedo: Ediciones de la Universidad de Oviedo, 2013.

Sarris, Andrew; The American Cinema, Directors and Directions, 1929-1968. Da Capo Press, 1996.

Schrader, Paul; El estilo trascendental: Ozzu, Bresson, Dreyer. Madrid: Ediciones JC Clementine, 2019.

Shingler, Martin; Star Studies. A critical Guide. London: Palgrave Macmillan BFI, 2012.

Stam, Robert; Teorías del Cine: una introducción. Barcelona, Paidós, 2001.

Wilde, Oscar; El crítico como artista. Libros C. de Langre (Edición bilingüe), 2001.

Wood, Robin; Howard Hawks. Ediciones JC, 2005.

Yáñez Murillo, Manu; La mirada americana: 50 años de Film Comment. T&B – Festival Internacional de Cine de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 2012.

Zunzunegui, Santos; La mirada cercana – microanálisis fílmico. Ed. Paidós Papeles de Comunicación 15, 1996 (nueva edición ampliada en Shangrila).