Course Syllabus

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                                                                  Shaping a Pattern (Maria Torp, 2024) 

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                                                   The Other Side of Hope (Aki Kaurismäki, 2017)


Semester & Location:

Spring 2024 - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Art & Visual Culture Core Course - 3 credits

Study Tour:

Prague and Vienna

Major Disciplines:

Art History, Film Studies, Media Studies 



Faculty Member:

Morten Egholm 

Time & Place:

Mondays & Thursdays 08:30-09:50 in V10-A33

Course Instructor

Morten Egholm

Ph. D., Film Studies, University of Copenhagen, 2009. Cand. mag., Scandinavian Studies, Film and Media Theory, University of Copenhagen, 1997. Associate professor in Danish Language, Literature and Culture, University of Groningen, The Netherlands, 2002-2006. Has written several articles in Danish, English and Dutch on film history, Scandinavian film, Danish literature, Danish theatre, and Danish and American TV series. Editor (2010-2015) of and peer reviewer (2015-) for the film journal Kosmorama. With DIS since 2008, since January 2012 as full time faculty.

Course Description

From the great auteurs in European filmmaking to some of the most significant names on the European art scene, this course examines artistic practices in European cinema and visual arts. What role do art house film and art movements play in 20th and 21st century Europe? How are aesthetics influenced by the changing political landscape? How are intellectuals and artists working during and after Socialism? When do visual arts go beyond consumerism? We will do a case study of art in Vienna and post-communist Prague and meet with Danish, Austrian, and Czech film and art people to discuss film and art in the late-capitalist era.

Course Topics

Rethink Relations – Visual Arts beyond the Frame of Tradition

Based on a selection of case studies, such as arthouse films and different kinds of art works, we will analyze how artists are expanding the traditional use of media and how they develop artistic expression beyond mainstream in Denmark and other Nordic countries.

Modern Frames – The Changing Contexts of Contemporary Artistic Practice

What happens to the realist tradition when European artists visualize the absurd and create works that deliberately explore the world beyond reason? How does consumerism shape contemporary visual culture? 

Central European Culture during and after Communism

How is artistic production affected by a strict regime of political ideology and repression, and which changes can be observed after the end of The Cold War when Central European countries were reshaped with new borders?

Course Objectives

  • Gain knowledge of the varied manifestations and historical development of modern and contemporary art and film
  • Critically evaluate visual culture in the context of current Nordic and larger European issues
  • Acquire the ability to formally analyze and discuss specific works and different media
  • Enable students in written and oral assignments to discuss and elaborate on the visual qualities and contexts of artistic practice

Core Course Week including Short Study Tour

The theme of the core course week is Nordic Visual Arts. We start out with a two-day seminar in Copenhagen, focusing on the role of art and cinema in the Nordic countries. The week continues with a three-day study tour to Western Denmark, where we visit AROS, Museum of Modern Art and Øst for Paradis, Art House Movie Theatre in Aarhus.

Long Study Tour Destinations


Prague and its Gothic cityscape is an established home for leading artists, film directors, and intellectuals, and the city has a lively artistic subculture. We will utilize post-communist Prague as a case study to identify artistic expression in European cinema and visual arts. Furthermore, we will examine the role of art house film and art movements in 20th and 21st century Europe through visits to relevant institutions and lectures and discussions with a film director, and contemporary local artists.


Vienna offers an opportunity to interpret the layers of history, from the Baroque city created during the Habsburg Empire to Viennese Actionism. How has radical art undermined and questioned the former imperial city and helped to manifest Vienna as a significant place for contemporary culture in Central Europe? We will explore the relations of Austria and the Czech Republic through the lens of selected artists and visit film museums.

Course Format

This section will meet 18 times during the semester and additional educational time will take place as students travel with faculty through Denmark and Europe.


Grade Components



Short paper


Research paper


Oral presentation


Participation grade 


The Short Paper

The short paper is an academic paper reflecting your encounter(s) with film and art works during the core course week.

It should be 3 pages (1000 words) long and include at least two academic sources (you are here welcome to choose class readings). 

Please upload the paper (WORD or PDF format only) directly in canvas.


During core class week you will experience a number of significant films and art work, covering a variety of media and concepts.

Please select one work from the week (or two, if you would like to write a comparative paper) and develop an in-depth analysis.

Please consider the formal qualities of the film and/or art work and aspects of the larger context of your chosen piece(s).

The Research Paper

The research paper is an academic paper that focuses on European visual culture, studied in this class.

It should be 6 pages long (1800-2000 words).

Please upload the paper (WORD or PDF format only) directly in canvas.

Please include a bibliography at the end of the paper, in addition to foot-or endnotes.


Your final assignment should have a clear analytical focus and may relate to lectures, readings, discussions and presentations during class and study tours.

Remember that your approach must be analytical and critical and grounded in research, including at least three academic sources

Merely descriptive papers or reflective surveys are not sufficient.


Oral Presentation 

You will be given an art or film topic that you are to research and talk about to the class. Some of you will present in class, some of you on study tour.

  • Do research on the topic.
  • If you are presenting in class: Make a power point presentation. Remember to include images on the topic you are talking about (e.g. examples of pieces of artworks, screendumps from film or videoclips from relevant scenes).
  • If you are presenting on study tour: Make a handout with key points, minimum 1 page (not densely written). Remember to include images on the topic you are talking about (e.g. artworks, screendumps from film or links to videoclips from relevant scenes).
  • Formulate a relevant analytical question (or concept) and discuss it during the presentation.
  • The length of your presentation should be 7-10 minutes.
  • Send your power point or hand out presentation to me on at least 15 minutes before you are presenting.


Classroom Etiquette

The use of distracting devices (smartphones, iPads, laptops, etc.) is strictly prohibited during class. Failure to comply will adversely affect participation grades. Use of laptops for the purpose of note-taking requires prior consultation with the professor. Students should refrain from all other computer activities, as they prove distracting to themselves and fellow students. Mobile phones and other electronic devices should of course be turned off and stored away.

Film Viewings

Please note that it is mandatory to watch each film before the relevant class. We will be watching 9 films in total length, 4 of them will be homework, while 5 of them will be shown during core course week or field studies. Almost all films can be found under Modules or Files here in Canvas - or directly in the Course Calendar. The films we are watching for class are: 

Film:  Access:
  Another Round Watching together
The Worst Person in the World link in Canvas calendar
The Square
Watching together in Husets Biograf 
Poor Things Watching in Øst For Paradis in Aarhus during short study tour
Daisies Watching together during Field Study
Watching together during Field Study
The Third Man
Canvas File in Modules
Little Joe Canvas File in Modules
The Other Side of Hope Canvas File in Modules

Reading list:

Azeem, Hina: The Art of Edvard Munch: A Window onto a A Mind in BJ Psych Advances, Vol. 21, 2015, p. 51-53

Bazin, André: The Evolution of the Language of Cinema, From What is Cinema, Film Theory and Criticism, Introductory Readings, 4th ed., Oxford University Press, 1992, p.155-167.

Bingham, Adam: Jiri Menzel in Directory of World Cinema: East Europe, 2011,Mast & Kawin (2011), p.436-440.

Bordwell, David: The Art Cinema as a Mode of Film Practice, Film Criticism, Vol.4 issue 1, Allegheny College, 1979, p. 716-724.

Bydzovska, Lenka: Against the Current. The story of the Surrealist Group of Czechoslovakia, 2005

Comini,Alessandra: Egon Schiele: Redefining Portraiture in the Age of Angst, in Egon Schiele Portraits, Prestel, 2014, pp.15-38.

Dassanowsky, Robert von and Oliver C. Speck: New Austrian Film: The Non-exceptional Exception (excerpts)

Deleuze, Gilles: Cinema I, Bloomsbury Academic, 2013, p. 1-12

Eliasson, Olafur: Your Engagement has Consequences, 2008

Export Valie: Expanded Cinema as Expanded Reality, 2003.

Hames, Peter: The Czechoslovak New Wave, Introduction, Wallflower Press,2005,p.1-9;p.151-166.

Hames, Peter: Czech and Slovak Cinema,Introduction, Chapter 10 Animation, Edinburgh University Press, 2010,p.1-13.

Lamac, Miroslav Czech Cubism: Points of Departure and Resolution, 1990, 54-63.

Mast, Gerald and Bruce F. Kawin, A Short History of the Movies, Pearson, 2010 (excerpts)

Natter, Tobias Gustav Klimt – No More Than A Goldsmith? In Gustav Klimt: Painting, Design, and Modern Life, Tate, London, 2008, 12-23, 236-237.

Academic Regulations  

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on: 


DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -


Course Summary:

Date Details Due