The board offers a huge variety of options here. Students may select from the following but for practical purposes we tend to explore just one in depth. There is simply not time to cover all the options available.
The options are as follows:
(a) Aspects of a National Cinema
Topics for examination are:
Bollywood, 1990 – present
Iranian Cinema, 1990 – present
Japanese Cinema, 1950 – 1970
Mexican Cinema, 1990 – present.
This study does not require a comprehensive coverage of the period – and it is permissible to cover a shorter period, as long as there is some significance in the films chosen and their relationship to the national cinema to which they belong. It is expected that two principal films will be chosen, supplemented by one or two further films that may have been studied more briefly. Each of the two principal films must be by a different director as this is not an auteur study. The study should focus not only on the films themselves but on their contexts, exploring the viability of studying film by reference to the ‘national’.
(b) International Film Styles
Topics for examination are:
German and/or Soviet Cinema of the 1920s
This topic focuses on the characteristics of a film style which may have originated in a particular national cinema as a ‘movement’ and which subsequently has had trans-national significance. It is possible to focus on the initial moment, such as German Expressionism or Soviet Montage in the 1920s or Italian Neo-Realism in the 1940s or the French New Wave in the 1960s in two principal films, with the expectation that the candidate will have some awareness of the adaptation of the style elsewhere in at least one further film. A different approach would be to look at parallel developments – such as the emergence of different kinds of ‘expressive’ cinema in the 1920s in Germany and the USSR or different ‘new waves’ in different national contexts.
(c) Specialist Study 1: Urban Stories – Power, Poverty and Conflict
The expectation is that candidates will choose two principal films representing life in difficult urban environments, and that these will be supplemented by two further films studied more briefly. The challenge of this topic is to compare and contrast films which may come from very different social and cultural contexts. A list of suggested films is contained in the Notesfor Guidance. It is possible to consider historical examples such as Metropolis and Bicycle Thieves or largely contemporary examples such as Chungking Express, La Haine, Amores Perros, City of God and Tsotsi.
(d) Specialist Study 2: Empowering Women
The study of examples of films from World Cinema that engage with the empowering of women may be eclectic in its geographical range including, for example, Qui Ju, Real Women Have Curves, Five in the Afternoon, Moolaadé and Volver. Alternatively, the focus may be on a particular continental cinema, such as that of Africa or South America. The challenge of this topic is to compare and contrast films which may come from very different social and cultural contexts. A list of suggested films is contained in the Notes for Guidance.