LSO478 - Movies and Meaning

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Last revision date Nov 17, 2020 11:40:03 AM
Last review date Nov 17, 2020 11:40:22 AM

Subject Title
Movies and Meaning

Subject Description
This course explains how the elements of film structure create meaning. Film is a complex collaborative art form with its own structural and syntactical patterns.  Audiences' subliminal and conscious absorption of meaning depends on elements of film structure. This subject will provide an introduction to how movies work. It will present examples to help students grasp each production element and get a sense of film's history. Students will follow a structured approach to understanding how meaning is relayed through light, sound, and motion and the language of visual media products. To "see" and "read" a film, television production, or music video with critical awareness requires learning how film technology creates and shapes meaning.

Credit Status
One upper level Liberal Studies Option credit in the Arts & Humanity category for Seneca Degree programs.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

  1. Describe basic film terminology and the major elements of film form and style, including cinematography, production design, actors’ performances, editing, sound design, and narrative structure.
  2. Explain how filmmakers use visual, aural, and narrative tools and techniques to express meaning.
  3. Investigate how audiences respond to, understand, and interpret audiovisual media.
  4. Examine historical film techniques.
  5. Differentiate various functions of film within broader social, economic, and cultural contexts.
  6. Develop critical analyses of films and filmmaking in class discussions, projects, and writing.

Essential Employability Skills
Communicate clearly, concisely and correctly in the written, spoken and visual form that fulfils the purpose and meets the needs of the audience.

Respond to written, spoken, or visual messages in a manner that ensures effective communication.

Locate, select, organize, and document information using appropriate technology and information systems.

Analyze, evaluate, and apply relevant information from a variety of sources.

Show respect for diverse opinions, values, belief systems, and contributions of others.

Interact with others in groups or teams in ways that contribute to effective working relationships and the achievement of goals.

Manage the use of time and other resources to complete projects.

Take responsibility for one's own actions, decisions, and consequences.

Academic Integrity
Seneca upholds a learning community that values academic integrity, honesty, fairness, trust, respect, responsibility and courage. These values enhance Seneca's commitment to deliver high-quality education and teaching excellence, while supporting a positive learning environment. Ensure that you are aware of Seneca's Academic Integrity Policy which can be found at: Review section 2 of the policy for details regarding approaches to supporting integrity. Section 2.3 and Appendix B of the policy describe various sanctions that can be applied, if there is suspected academic misconduct (e.g., contract cheating, cheating, falsification, impersonation or plagiarism).

Please visit the Academic Integrity website to understand and learn more about how to prepare and submit work so that it supports academic integrity, and to avoid academic misconduct.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Accessibility Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.