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FS40ML: COMIC CINEMAS B (2014-2015)

Last modified: 28 Jun 2018 10:27

Course Overview

The course aims to provide in-depth knowledge of essential genres, styles and forms in film history through the particular lens of comedy. Students will be introduced to general theories of comedy, which will be linked to close analysis of individual films from several national cinemas and numerous auteurs and actors. Each week will be organised around a comic theme with a theoretical reading and pertinent examples discussed in the first session and a major film work, with additional reading, analysed in the second. Students will be marked according to two essays, participation and attendance, and weekly Blackboard posts.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Paul Flaig

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Course Description

Course Aims: The course aims to provide in-depth knowledge and understanding of essential genres, styles and forms in film history through the particular lens of comedy. Students will be introduced to general theories of comedy, which will be linked to close analysis of individual films and scenes from several national cinemas and numerous innovative auteurs and actors. Students will develop knowledge and understanding of: 1. theories and key issues relating to the study of film and visual culture 2. film's relationship to other forms of visual media 3. significant works and movements in film and visual culture from around the world and across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and key critical frameworks and a precise rigorous language for discussing questions of film and visual culture. B: Intellectual and Practical Skills. Students will develop the ability to: 1. engage in critical thinking, through the evaluation and challenging of abstract ideas, using appropriate research methodologies and synthesising ideas drawn from a variety of sources to enable reflection upon key questions relating to film and visual culture; 2. read film closely, identifying patterns (repetitions, developments, sites of difference and disunity) 3. engage with the process of learning in a constructive and self-motivated fashion, by following research interests beyond seminar discussion and developing arguments independently 4. in seminar situations articulate views and engage in reflective discussion, responding with evidence to other points of view 5. write clearly and construct coherent arguments. Content: This course will trace comic forms, genres and theories developed over the course of film history. Screenings and readings will follow comic cinemas as they mutate from gags, tricks and jokes into complex narratives and genres including slapstick, screwball, farce and satire. Essential theories of comedy will be in dialogue with each week's film, analysing concepts ranging from the grotesque to laughter, the absurd to humour noir. Throughout the semester, we will keep a handful of broad questions in mind: How does comedy subvert, confirm or ignore social norms, whether they are political, ethnic or gendered? What is the relationship between the comic body and the corporeal response of laughter? What are the outer limits and most extreme forms of comic experience? Films by Sennett, Keaton, Renoir, McCarey, Foreman, Kusturica, Sturges, Andersson, the Marx Brothers and others.

Further Information & Notes

Only one of these courses (either FS 40ML or FS 45ML) may be taken as part of a graduating curriculum. This course may NOT be taken as part of a graduating curriculum with FS 30ML / FS 35ML Comic Cinemas A.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

In light of Covid-19 and the move to blended learning delivery the assessment information advertised for courses may be subject to change. All updates for first-half session courses will be actioned no later than 1700 (GMT) on 18 September 2020. All updates for second half-session courses will be actioned in advance of second half-session teaching starting. Please check back regularly for updates.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: 100% Continuous assessment: 1 short essay, 1500-2000 words (30%); 1 research essay 3000-4000 words (40%); 1 Project (20%); Seminar Assessment (10%). Resit: For honours students only: candidates achieving CAS mark of 6 - 8 may be awarded compensatory level 1 credit. Candidates achieving a CAS mark of less than 6 will be required to submit a new essay.

Formative Assessment

Students are expected to complete Blackboard submissions each week, on which feedback is provided. The first essay is completed during the course. Feedback on this work will be provided to the students, thus helping them to prepare for the research essay.


Formal feedback will be provided on both essays in the form of written comments provided through Turn-it-In on MyAberdeen. Students will also be encouraged to discuss their performance on a one-to-one basis with the course co-ordinator. Written feedback will be offered on short written responses. Informal feedback on contributions to seminars will be offered on an on-going basis and students will also receive feedback in the form of a seminar assessment mark and written comments.

Course Learning Outcomes


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