Course Description

Course Name

European Cinema

Session: VSVS1121

Hours & Credits

45 Contact Hours

Prerequisites & Language Level

Taught In English

  • There is no language prerequisite for courses at this language level.


Prerequisite: open to all language levels; taught in English.

Students: foreign students from the academic program ISA

Contact hours: 45 hours

Description: This course on European Cinema has a broad geographic scope. It offers students an understanding of European culture, society, politics and history through the medium of cinematographic expressions. The aim of this course is to understand European identity and the composition of Europe in the 21st century through its cinema. The course will make the students aware that the diversity of Europe is based on a cultural, social, political and historical heterogeneity.

This course encourages active student participation. Students will receive the theoretical corpus that will help to reinforce what has been learned through the practical component of the course.

Learning outcomes:

- Identify the relevant topics of different European cultures, history and society and contrast their different filmic representations

- Analyze various issues and trends in contemporary Europe

- Debate ideas and concepts of Europe and European integration

- Understand the historical development and diversity of European culture, society and politics through the medium of cinema

- Interpret film in its socio-political and historical context and identify the elements, which define cinema as an artistic expression

- Apply intercultural and interdisciplinary approaches to the topics related to Europe and its cinema.


- Unit 1: European Cinema

European Cinema: an Introduction

- Unit 2: Spanish Cinema:

Spanish Cinema an Introduction

Modes of representation in Spanish cinema


Ø Los lunes al sol (2001), Fernando León de Aranoa


Sexual abuse

Ø Volver (2006), Pedro Almodóvar

Social and Political Context (from the Republic to the Era of Democracy)

Ø La lengua de las mariposas, José Luís Cuerda.

- Unit 3: German Cinema

German Cinema: an Introduction

The avatars of the GDR´s regime

The Stasi

Ø The Lives of Others (2006), Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

- Unit 4: British Cinema

British Cinema: an Introduction

East vs. West culture and traditions

Racism and integration

Ø East is East (1999), Damien O´Donnell

- Unit 5: French Cinema

French Cinema: an Introduction

Ø This is England (2006), Shane Meadows

Ethnic minorities, integration

Crime, youth

Ø La Haine (1995), Matthieu Kassovitz

- Unit 6: Italian Cinema

Italian Cinema: an Introduction

Neapolitan mob

Political corruption

The South

Ø Gomorrah (2008), Matteo Garrone



Ø Il Divo (2008), Paolo Sorrentino

Ø Welcome to the South (2010), Luca Miniero

- Unit 7: Exploring European documentaries through time, format and authors

The border zone between documentary and fiction

Ø Representative fragments of European documentaries

- Unit 8: European identity in cinema.

North-South opposition in European cinema

Course material:

General bibliography: The following texts are suggested for students who wish to learn more however it is not necessary for students to purchase them.

- Ezra, Elizabeth (ed.), (2004), European Cinema, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

- Forbes, Jill (2000), European Cinema; An Introduction, London: Palgrave Macmillan.

- Nowell-Smith, Geoffrey (ed.), (1996), The Oxford History of World Cinema, Oxford:

Oxford University Press.

- Sorlin, Pierre (1991), European Cinema/European Societies, London: Routledge.

Online Reference & Research Tools: -

- VV.AA. 2009. 100 years of Spanish Cinema. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

Course Evaluation:

20% Tasks and attendance 40% Final exam 30% Projects 10% Subjective evaluation (students are expected to come prepared to class and profesor will value that students are showing a mark of improvement)

Spanish Grading Scale:

Matrícula de Honor 10 Sobresaliente 9 – 9,9 Notable 7 – 8,9 Aprobado 5 – 6,9 Suspenso 0 – 4,9 No Asistencia (Student has exceeded the allowed number of unexcused absences)

Please find as a reference the following grading scale conversion. However, it is ultimately the responsibility of the student’s home university or institution to determine the final grade equivalencies.

Matrícula de Honor = A+ Suspenso = F Sobresaliente = A No presentado = Incomplete (attended Notable = B classes but did not take final exam) Aprobado =C No Asistencia = Incomplete (enrolled in the course but did not attend class)

Students will be asked to participate in class discussions and to express opinions about the themes of the course. Each student will write a mid-term and a term paper based on her/his

own reflections about the course contents and using the filmography and bibliography of the


Participation will be valued. Contributions with important and original comments that encourage debate, using critical and analytical arguments clearly based on reading, investigation, daily work, and class work will be very valued

Appeal grades: The deadline for claiming notes is 30 days from the reception at the university certificate.

Attendance: class attendance is obligatory, it is checked every class day and it is reflected in the course attendance sheet that is sent to the home University.

An 85% of attendance is required for the successful completion of the course. Not missing any class will be considered positively.

If a student exceeds this limit, the grade in the transcript for this subject could appear as “not attended course”.

An 85% of attendance is required for the successful completion of the course.  Not missing any class will be considered positively.

If a student exceeds this limit, the grade in the transcript for this subject could appear as “not attended course”.

Justified absences: Medical Certificates that will be considered only if issued by a physician (not notes from the family explaining the student absence). The certificates must include the exact dates for which a student should be excused for having missed classes.

Auditors: Courses cannot be taken as auditors, so attendance is possible only for students enrolled in a specific class.

Punctuality: students are expected to arrive on time to class and to return directly to class after class breaks. Arriving 10 minutes late (or more) and/or early class departures are considered unexcused absences and will be taken into account as half an absence.

Conduct in class: students who actively participate in classroom activities and who maintain a positive and respectful attitude will be evaluated positively. Students must not eat or use laptops during the class (unless specifically authorized by the teacher). 

Special accommodations: students with special needs who require reasonable modifications, special assistance or accommodations in this course (either for properly following-up classes, to take exams, etc.) should direct their request to Academic Coordination during the first days of the course.


*Course content subject to change