History on film / Film on History – Medieval and Renaissance Themes

Course Description: 

Film studies has been gaining an increasing share and popularity among the disciplines of the humanities. Films are in many ways connected with historical studies; historical films represent history, contribute to building national identity, and help to maintain cultural memory. At the same time they raise a number of theoretical issues about representation, interpretation, hermeneutics, cultural pragmatics. The course will 1/ touch upon these theoretical aspects; 2/ survey the technical basics of filmic representation; 3/ introduce the special disciplinary aspects of historical films with a special emphasis on how they serve cultural memory and construct the national heritage; 4/ analyse several historical films dealing with the "representations of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance".

            The course will be organized as follows: Each afternoon there will be a discussion  of teoretical and historiographical topics completed by the analysis of a film, always introduced by a student presentation. In the evening a film will be shown which will be discussed the following week in the afternoon class. Consequently, in the detailed schedule below, each film refers to the topic of the following week.

Learning Outcomes: 

The learning outcome should consist of 1/ an accumulation of historical knowledge about the connections of political and social history and aesthetical expression by means of the filmic medium; 2/ a clear insight into the cultural historical constructs of the Middle Ages throughout the twentieth century; 3/ a foundation of practicing "reading" films especially about characters and events of the remote, medieval past.



            The grade will be composed of three components: 1/ Participation in classes (20%); 2/ A formal in-class presentation, or a 6 pages' written film-review (40%); 3/ A written exam (40%).