Melodrama, Class and the Cinema

Subject SCRN40005 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2016.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 2 hour seminar and 2.5 hour screening per week
Total Time Commitment:

Total time commitment across the semester is 170 hours, including class time.


Admission to the postgraduate certificate, diploma or fourth year honours in cinema studies or gender studies, Master of Arts and Cultural Management (Moving Image).



Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Mark Nicholls

Subject Overview:

This subject involves a study of the role that melodrama has played in the representation of class and ideological conflict in the cinema. Students are asked to examine melodramas from periods such as the silent period, the 1930s, the 1950s and contemporary cinema, from Hollywood and art cinema traditions. They will encounter theoretical writings on class and ideology in the subject's interrogation of the melodrama's tendency to expose ideological contradictions at a domestic and political level. This subject enables students to understand issues of film form, gender, the family, sexuality and psychoanalysis in relation to the melodrama's complex representation of class in the cinema.

Learning Outcomes:

Studnets who complete this subject will:

  • understand the central critical considerations of the representation of class and ideological conflict in cinema melodramas from the early silent to contemporary cinema; and
  • understand the way in which issues of film form, gender, sexuality and psychoanalysis inform melodramas representation of class in the cinema.

A 5000 word research essay 100% (due in the examination period). Students are required to attend a minimum of 80% (or 10 out of 12) classes in order to qualify to have their written work assessed. Any student who fails to meet this hurdle without valid reason will not be eligible to pass the subject. All required written work must be submitted in order to pass the subject. Essays submitted after the due date without an extension will be penalised 2% per day. Essays submitted after two weeks of the assessment due date without a formally approved application for special consideration or an extension will only be marked on a pass/fail basis if accepted.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who complete this subject will:

  • be skilled in research;
  • possess advanced skills of critical thinking and analysis;
  • possess an ability to communicate knowledge intelligibly, economically and effectively; and
  • have an understanding of social, ethical and cultural context.
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 150 Point Master of Arts and Cultural Management - Moving Image Specialisation
200 Point Master of Arts and Cultural Management - Moving Image specialisation
Gender Studies
Graduate Certificate in Arts (Advanced) - Screen Studies
Graduate Diploma in Arts (Advanced) - Gender Studies
Graduate Diploma in Arts - Gender Studies
PC-ARTS Screen Studies
Screen and Cultural Studies

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