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

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".

György Szőnyi's course will be organized as follows: Each afternoon there will be a discussion of theoretical 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.

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.