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The coming-of-age experience is familiar to all social classes and cultures. Stories of youth after childhood are compellingly represented in films across the globe. In this course, we will examine the representation of adolescence within an international context, focusing primarily on the experience of youth beyond dominant Hollywood. We will closely analyse those films from across the globe that complicate our understanding of adolescent identity by acknowledging its intersection with other kinds of identification - in particular racial, class, national, and that of sexual orientation.
This course will explore the evolution of the coming-of-age subgenre, from the classic youth films of the past to the most recent and innovative releases, such as Barry Jenkin’s Oscar-winning Moonlight and Niki Caro’s The Whale Rider, which have both garnered awards and acclaim around the world. This course challenges students to look critically at the depiction of adolescent experience at home in New Zealand and abroad through the lens of film history and genre theory. We will begin by examining constructions of adolescence in three national cinemas, analysing the auteurist styles of American director Robert Mulligan, French filmmaker Claire Denis, and Vietnamese director Tran Anh Hung. Through close interrogation of the strategies at work in the directors’ films, we will discover the ways in which the adolescent’s coming-of-age story responds to tensions in cultural and national identity. Our next section will expand upon the theme of social and spiritual transformation, focusing on the experience of teenage boys and the shifting terrain between fathers and teenage sons in recent films from the US. In the final two sections, we will address topics related explicitly to gender formation. We will begin with three films that focus on different dimensions of female empowerment and disempowerment. We will conclude with films that further develop the theme of forbidden love and loss, looking at the fantasy landscapes that allow for role-playing and escape from adult dominion, while holding a dangerous potential for isolation and tragic loss.
Knowledge and Skills:Extended knowledge of critical and technical vocabulary of disciplineSpecific knowledge of a range of national cinemas, movements and formsKnowledge of the major theoretical debates and discourses in film studiesSpecific knowledge of the relationships between selected films and their social, cultural and historical contextAbility to use and understand a range of conceptual and theoretical terms of the disciplineAbility to connect visual analysis of a film with critical thinkingAbility to identify and explain relationships between films and their social, cultural and historical contextsDemonstrate competency in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:
Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award
Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.
Biculturally competent and confident
Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.
Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.
Any 15 points at 100 level from CINE orCULT, orany 60 points at 100 level from the Schedule V of the BA.
CINE101, CINE102, CINE104
Please check the course LEARN page for further details and updates.
Texts: Readings to be provided on LEARN(Image: "Spirited Away" by Exilium BB, licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0.)
Film List:Week One: To Kill a Mockingbird (Mulligan, 1962, USA)Week Two: Chocolat (Claire Denis, 1988, France)Week Three: The Scent of Green Papaya (Tran Anh Hung, 1993, France-Vietnam)Week Four: Y Tu Mamá También (Cuaron, 2001, USA)Week Five: Moonlight (Jenkins, 2016, USA)Week Six: Boyhood (Linklater, 2014, USA) Week Seven: The Dark Horse (Robertson, 2014, New Zealand) Week Eight: Lady Bird (Gerwig, 2018, USA) Week Nine: Girlhood (Sciamma, 2014, France) Week Ten: The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Heller, 2015, USA)Week Eleven: Spirited Away (Miyazaki, 2001, Japan)Week Twelve: The Whale Rider (Caro, 2002, New Zealand)
Domestic fee $777.00
International fee $3,375.00
* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.
This course will not be offered if fewer than 20 people apply to enrol.
For further information see
Humanities and Creative Arts.