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Talking Pictures

Course Times & Enrolment

Wednesdays from 27th September 2023 (Code FM071-104) Wednesdays from
27th September 2023 6:30pm - 8:20pm • (10 classes)
LG47 Paterson's Land, Holyrood Campus • Tutor: Anthony McKibbin BA
This course is now closed for enrolments

Course Summary

Each week we will focus on a particular contemporary film (post 2000s) and discuss it. The selection of films will usually be challenging works that demand ‘speculative probing’, are relatively little known, or well-known but where a new perspective can we hope be found. Join us as we discuss some of the most interesting films of the last twenty years.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

No experience required, though seeing the films in advance would be very useful.

Content of Course

What is it to talk about film? After all cinema has been, since the late twenties, mainly an audio visual medium, and we must turn those images into words if we are to talk about them. Superlatives are easy to offer, but analysis harder to define, since, as a French filmmaker once proposed, film is manual work with the unconscious. Together, as a class, we will try and find a 'talking cure'. 

Teaching method(s)

The course will be taught through a mixture of clip-based lectures and group discussions. Course tutor will prepare notes written specifically for the course, and on each of the discussed films. Feedback on students’ progress and understanding will be provided during in-class discussions.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Discuss ideas with confidence in a classroom environment;

  • Comprehend aspects of film theory and practice;

  • Demonstrate a better understanding of their aesthetic taste.


Core Readings

There is no essential reading. The recommended titles below may be of interest to students, but there is no expectation to purchase any of these books. 

  • Perez, G., 1998. The Material Ghost. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Farber. M., 1998. Negative Space. New York: Da Capo Press.
  • Bazin, A., 1967, 1971, What is Cinema? Vol. 1. London: California University Press.
  • Bazin, A., 1971, What is Cinema? Vol. 2. London: California University Press.
  • Deleuze, G., 1997. Cinema: Vol. 1. London: Athlone Press.
  • Deleuze, G. 1994. Cinema: Vol. 2. London: Athlone Press
  • Cavell. S. 1971. The World Viewed. New York: Viking Press.

Web Sources


Senses of Cinema


  • A Separation (Asghar Farhadi, 2011)
  • Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016)
  • Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015)
  • Stranger by the Lake (Alain Guiraudie, 2013)
  • Zodiac (David Fincher, 2007)
  • Eloge de l’amour (Jean-Luc Godard, 2001)
  • Russian Ark (Alexander Sokurov, 2003)
  • Dogville (Lars von Trier, 2004)
  • The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow, 2000)
  • Uzak (2002)

Class Handouts

Notes written by the tutor specifically for the course, and on each of the films.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.