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

Instructor:  György Szőnyi

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, at the same time 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; 4/ analyse several historical films with the special viewpoint of "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. The goal of the course is to make students aware of the relationship between history and filmic representations. Additionally, it is aimed at explaining filmic techniques as well as basics of film analysis/appreciation. In sum: the didactic goals of the course can be condensed to the following questions: "How to Look at an 'Historical' Film?" and "Looking at the Past in a Postliterate Age."