Skip to main content

Envisioning the World in Screen Media

 we put the world before you a la conquête du monde 

This module looks at the ways in which the whole world has been imaged and imagined in cinema and related media. It is divided into two parts, each of which will focus on a specific historical juncture: the turns of the 20th and 21th centuries respectively. Part I of the module looks at the various ways through which early cinema grappled with the conception of a world totality and advertised itself as a visual repository of the planet. Part II explores the prevalence of the planet as a ubiquitous trope and theme in our audiovisual landscape in the context of globalisation and the present global environmental crisis. Adopting a comparative media history approach, the module focuses on a wide variety of visual and audiovisual forms, including: early non-fiction films and related materials, documentaries, popular and art narrative cinema, and TV and digital programmes. Texts studied include: Archives of the Planet (Albert Kahn, 1912-1931), Intolerance (D.W. Griffith, 1916), Babel (Alejándro González Iñárritu, 2006), Human (Yann Arthus-Bertrand, 2016), Planet Earth (BBC, various, TV programme, 2006; 2016) and Homo Sapiens (Nikolaus Geyrhalter, 2016).