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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; the first looks at American teens in an affluent high school; the second looks at girl gangs in the contemporary urban landscape in France, and the third addresses issues that arise when a French teen living in a trailer park must confront difficult challenges at work and at home. 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.
Learning Outcomes: 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
Any 30 points at 200 level from CINE orCULT, orany 60 points at 200 level from the Schedule V of the BA.
Students must attend one activity from each section.
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: Dark Horse (James N. Robertson, 2014, NZ) Week Three: The Scent of Green Papaya (Tran Anh Hung, 1993, France-Vietnam) Week Four: The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2012, US) Week Five: Moonlight (Jenkins, 2016, USA) Week Six: Boyhood (Linklater, 2014, USA)Week Seven: Lady Bird (Gerwig, 2018, USA) Week Eight: Girlhood (Sciamma, 2014, France) Week Nine: The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Heller, 2015, USA) Week Ten: Spirited Away (Miyazaki, 2001, Japan) Week Eleven: Whale Rider (Caro, 2002, NZ) Week Twelve: Moonrise Kingdom (Anderson, 2012, US)
Domestic fee $1,553.00
International fee $6,750.00
* 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 10 people apply to enrol.
For further information see
Humanities and Creative Arts.