Tutor: Professor Mandy Merck
Teaching: 20 hours Lectures 20 hours Seminars
Value: 1 unit
Availability: Autumn and Spring
Traditionally derided as the ‘woman’s picture’ or even the ‘woman’s weepie,’ the melodrama is one of the oldest screen genres, dating back to the theatre at the end of the eighteenth century. Sympathetic sorrow may seem old-fashioned, yet the melodrama continues to be successful in contemporary cinema, reappearing in notable films such as Brokeback Mountain and Precious. Emphasizing personal life rather than public affairs, the melodrama often represents what can’t be said aloud by using costume, architecture, décor, colour, cinematography and music. (‘Melodrama’ originally meant music drama.) This is a course for students interested in discovering through detailed textual analysis how the emotional conflicts of gender, sexuality and race have been – and continue to be – represented in the cinema.
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