Trends in contemporary cinema (Master in Film and Screen Studies)

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Program details
Subject: Trends in contemporary cinema
Course: Second
Semester: 1
Modality: Compulsory
Professor: Sergi Sánchez


According to scholars Shane Denson and Julia Leyda, post-cinema would mark not a caesura but a transformation that alternately abjures, emulates, prolongs, mourns or pays homage to cinema. Thus, post-cinema asks us to think of new media not only in terms of novelty, but in terms of a continuous, uneven and indeterminate historical transition.

This subject immerses itself in this voluptuous, tremendous period of historical transformation in which contemporary cinema has to find its place in an ecosystem of images that transcends the usual categories of the film canon in order to respond to the challenges posed by a new paradigm. A paradigm in which cinema is predestined to dialogue and exchange ideas with other audiovisual disciplines in order to survive at a time when the channels of production, distribution and exhibition are no longer what they were twenty years ago. A paradigm that forces it to be attentive, to react, almost live, to socio-cultural changes that shake up structures of thought and behaviour that until now had remained unperturbed.


  • Stimulate students’ critical thinking.
  • To foster the ability to relate new manifestations of contemporary cinema with other audiovisual disciplines.
  • Promote discursive skills to construct one’s own discourse on the subject that can be shared and/or debated with classmates.
  • Be fluent in the reading of theoretical texts and their hermeneutic application in the context of contemporary images.
  • Acquire the necessary skills to write an academic paper -or produce a video essay- that is as rigorous as it is creative.


  • Unit 1. What do we talk about when we talk about post-cinema?
    • Post-cinema vs. New Media. Post-cinematic affects, or the cinema of experience according to Steven Shaviro. Cinema and neo-capitalism: dissolution, multiplicity, acceleration. The cinema of the future is nostalgic.
  • Unit 2. Digital cinema vs. cinema of the origins.
    • The Lumière brothers and Méliès are reincarnated in digital cinema: from the reproduction of reality to the dreamlike image. Autarkic planes, transparencies, disappearances: can we speak of a Mode of Digital Representation (MRD)?
  • Unit 3. Neuroimaging.
    • The theory of the academic Patricia Pisters relates the concepts of time and memory to the schizoanalysis of Deleuze and Guattari. In the light of her reflections, we will analyse the links between neurobiology and film analysis, which crystallise in the fractal and pluritemporal staging of such significant titles in contemporary cinema as “Interestellar” and “Estoy pensando en dejarlo”.
  • Unit 4. The post-schizophrenic subject.
    • Based on Fredric Jameson’s theory, we study the new subjectivities, as close to the figuration of madness as to the reinterpretation of a world beyond post-truth, that populate the cinema of the 21st century, from David Fincher to Paul Thomas Anderson, via Todd Phillips’ “Joker”.
  • Unit 5. Journey to the bottom of time.
    • Instant versus duration. In search of a poetics of slowness. Slow cinema as an anti-hegemonic counterculture. Case study: The New Romanian Cinema. The single shot-sequence, new forms of filmic time in contemporaneity.
  • Unit 6. The new cinema of attractions or intensified continuity: from Tom Gunning to David Bordwell.
    • Is Michael Bay’s work pure avant-garde cinema? Superhero cinema as a paradigm of ideological debates in contemporary society. The vertical image, or the fall of the hero.
  • Unit 7. Visions of the end of the world.
    • 9/11 opens the gates of Avernus. The Apocalypse within. Critical relationships between world, man and nature. Ecocinema’ travels to Hollywood. The seer cinema. What’s after Armageddon? Pandemic, protocols of contagion and visual healing.
  • Unit 8. Word and utopia.
    • From the famous voice-overs of ‘film noir’ and Scorsese’s cinema, to give just two significant examples, we will study the ways in which the (spoken, written) word collides with the contemporary image, both from the sphere of a misnamed literary (or poetic) cinema and a conceptual cinema.
  • Unit 9. The unaffordable vitality of Asian cinema.
    • The Eastern bloc, with its geopolitical particularities, has become one of the most creative quarries of contemporary cinema. The anti-capitalist analyses of Chinese cinema, the melancholic reveries of Thai cinema, the subversive energy of Korean cinema, the (re)birth of Filipino cinema…
  • Unit 10. Spain is shedding its skin.
    • Situationism ‘low cost’. Is there a Spanish cinema of the crisis? Literary classics illuminated by ‘povero’ cinema. Free radicals. Almodóvar vs. Almodóvar: Hable con ella, La piel que habito.
  • Unit 11. Mutations of political cinema.
    • Political cinema, chronicle or allegory? Can political cinema cease to be taken seriously? What does it mean to be a worker in the 21st century? Is it permissible to continue evoking Godard – we must not make political cinema but make cinema politically – in the age of mistrust of images? Political Cinema and the Politics of Genre. Postcolonial cinema in Latin America.
  • Unit 12. Cinema of confinement.
    • Austerity vs. excess. Looking inside to reproduce the outside. The articulation of filmic space as a metaphor for social confinement. Confinement and out-of-field. Confinement and virtual reality.
  • Unit 13. Culture of cancellation.
    • The #OscarsSoWhite, #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo hashtags have revolutionised our perception of racial inequality and gender-based violence, particularly from the perspective of its audiovisual representation. Is it time to re-evaluate the history of cinema? Through what prism? How are these tectonic movements affecting the foundations of the film industry and the images it produces?


The assessment will consist of two parts:

a/ The first will be individual or in pairs, and will consist of giving half an hour of class on a topic agreed with the teacher, and which, obviously, is related to the contents of the subject without overlapping with any topic.

b/ The second will be an individual work, written or in video-essay format (in this case, with a brief report to accompany it) on a topic previously agreed with the teacher.

The final mark will be the average of these two pieces of work. Class participation will be highly valued. Attendance is compulsory, at least 80% of the sessions.


Amaba, Roberto (2019). Narración y materia. Supervivencia de la imagen cinematográfica. Valencia: Shangrila.

Baümgartel, Tillman (eds.) (2012). Southeast Asian Independent Cinema. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.

Bordwell, David (2007). “Intensified Continuity Revisited.” Observations on Film Art”. En:

Cameron, Allan (2008). Modular Narratives in Contemporary Cinema. Nueva York: Palgrave MacMillan.

Connelly, Thomas J (2019). Cinema of Confinement. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.

Checa, Christian (2018). No trespassing. De los cuerpos del cine a la conspiración contemporánea. Valencia: Shangrila.

Cubitt, Sean (2004). The Cinema Effect. Cambridge: The MIT Press.

De Luca, Tiago y Nuno Barradas (eds.) (2016). Slow Cinema. Edinburgo: Edimburgh University Press.

Denson, Shane, and Julia Leyda (eds.) (2016). Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st-Century Film. Sussex: REFRAME Books. En:

Hatala, Eric (2022). Drawing the Line: What to do with the Work of Inmoral Artists from Museums to the Movies. Nueva York: Oxford University Press.

Hoberman, J. (2012). Film after Film: Or, What Became of 21st Century Film? Londres: Verso.

Mazierska, E. y Lars Christensen (2018). Contemporary Cinema and Neoliberal Ideology. Nueva York: Routledge.

McGowan, Todd (2011). Out of Time: Desire on Atemporal Cinema. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Muñoz Fernández, Horacio (2017). Posnarrativo. El cine más allá de la narración. Valencia: Shangrila.

O’Shaughnessy, M. (2007). The new face of political cinema: Commitment in French Film since 1995. Nueva York: Berghan Books.

Pisters, Patricia (2012). The Neuro-Image: A Deleuzian Filmphilosophy of Digital Screen Culture. Stanford: Stanford UP.

Pugsley, Peter C. (2013). Tradition, Culture and Aesthetics in Contemporary Asian Cinema. Surrey: Ashgate.

Rodowick, D. N. (2007). The Virtual Life of Film. Cambridge: Harvard UP.

Rombes, Nicholas (2009). Cinema in the Digital Age. New York: Wallflower P.

San Filipo, M. (2011). “A Cinema of Recession; Micro-Budgeting, Micro-Drama and the Mumblecore Movement”, Cineaction nº85.

Sánchez, Sergi (2013). Hacia una imagen no-tiempo. Deleuze y el cine contemporáneo. Oviedo: Ediciones Universitarias de Oviedo.

Shaviro, Steven (1993). The Cinematic Body. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Shaviro, Steven (2010). Post-Cinematic Affect. Winchester, UK: Zero Books.

Strauven, Wanda (ed). (2006). The Cinema of Attractions Reloaded. Amsterdam: Amsterdam UP.

Tziomaukis, Y. y Claire Molloy (eds.) (2016). The Routledge Companion of Cinema and Politics. Nueva York: Routledge.