Undergraduate Degree




DD9008 Research Perspectives in Cultural Cinema

[Studio Contact Hours: 39 hours; Pre-requisites: Nil; Academic Unit: 3.0]




Academic Unit


3 AU

Course Description

Learning Objective

During this class students acquire practical experience, skills and the opportunity for creative use of cinematic technique for factual research and narration through cultural cinema/film.


The course intends to build on audio-visual media as an influential form of content that has sustaining visual and emotional impact on the viewer. The emphasis of this course is on the link between theory and practice of cultural films produced from an anthropological, geographical and sociological perspective. It provides for an in-depth experiential component that addresses the potential of this broad category of cinematic technique.

Course Outline




• Introduction to course

2 - 6

• Content: 

- Genres, the field

- Analysis of documentaries and anthropolgy films

• Creation:

- The conceptual and authorial side of filmmaking

• Structure:

- The voice in cinema, the autobiographical voice

- In-depth look at story and structure as applied to films based on factual material

- Production

- Artistic aspects of directing a factual narrative

- Cinematic Technique


• Mid Semester review of film project

8 - 12

• Editing: 

- Artistic and aesthetic principles and practices of editing

• Final film development: 

- Group critique

- Analysis and discussion on assignments


• Final review of film project


Learning Outcome

To enhance fluency in the use of film language and in a collaborative effort realize a cinematic project that matches the professional demands and requirements of the creative industries in artistic, conceptual and technical terms. To develop skills to create an ethnographic essay-film on identity, society or other cultural issues.

Student Assessment

  1. Final Assessment: 30%

  2. Continuous Assessment: 70% (of which at least 15% is participation)

Continuous assessment components may include:

  • Studio-based exercises and projects (20%)

  • Individual, group and team-based assignments (35%)


  1. Hockings, P. E., & O\mori, Y. E. (1988),Cinematographic theory and new dimensions in ethnographic film : 10th International symposium : Papers. Osaka: National Museum of Ethnology

  2. Eaton, M. (1979), Anthropology, reality, cinema : the films of Jean Rouch.London: British Film Institute.

  3. MacDougall, D., & Castaing-Taylor, L. (1998).Transcultural cinema.Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

  4. Rabinger, M (2004).Directing the Documentary, Fifth Edition. Focal Press

  5. Sherman, Sharon R. (1998).Documenting Ourselves: Film, Video and Culture. Lexington, Ky. : Univ. Press of Kentucky.

  6. Schroeppel, T (1982).The Bare Bones Camera Course.Tampa: Schroeppel.

  7. Trinh T. Minh-ha (2004). The Digital Film Event. N.Y.: Routledge