Independent Study

Most IB Film teachers will testify that this is the most demanding task you are likely to complete as part of this course. You need to have a good understanding of film history and film theory whilst also making connections across cinematic cultures. This knowledge is ultimately tested in a script format, with YOU as the narrator of the script. In essence, this task tests your RESEARCH skills as well as your textual analysis whilst demanding excellent understanding of your 2 (SL) or 4 (HL) texts of study.

At South Island, we have adopted the seminal DVD compilation by Irish film critic, Mark Cousins, The Story of Film: An Odyssey as your audio visual textbook for the course. We recommend that you buy your own copy and will be using snippets from it in class from time to time.

The Story of Film by Mark Cousins

Cousins breaks cinematic history into 5 DVD sections using the following headings:

Disc 1: Birth of Cinema (1895-1920) & The Hollywood Dream (1920s) & Expressionism, Impressionism, Surrealism.(1920s) As these are all silent we can discount these as boring and pointless...oh alright then, I suppose we should look at them! Seriously though, the beauty of the approach taken by Cousins is that he compares what was happening in Japan, Germany, Russia etc with Hollywood in this period. Given that the Independent Study involves comparison across two cinematic cultures this is gold dust. The same approach is taken across all other eras.

Disc 2: The Arrival of Sound (1930s) & Post-War Cinema (1940s) & Sex/Melodrama (1950s)

Disc 3: European New Wave (1960s) & New Directors, New Form (1960s) & American Cinema of the 70s

Disc 4: Movies to Change the World (1970s) & The Arrival of the Multiplexes & Asian Mainstream (1970s) & Fight the Power: Protest in Film (1980s)

Disc 5: New Boundaries: World Cinema in Africa, Asia & Latin America (1990s) & New American Independents/The Digital Revolution (1990s) & Cinema Today and The Future (2000s)

In addition, check out this fantastic (video essay) resource from the BFI, entitled 'What is Neorealism?'

Independent Study Assessment Objectives


Watch some actual documentaries!

Raging Bulls, Easy Riders (Influence of French New Wave on New Hollywood of the late 60s, early 70s)

Stanley Kubrick Lesson- A Life in Pictures